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Gyles Brandreth’s Diary. Sorry, Emu – I killed Rod Hull

Regulars | By Gyles Brandreth

Deceased emu during Emu War by Wikimedia Commons

I told the entertainer to go up on the roof and fix his TV aerial – with fatal consequences

‘I killed Rod Hull – the emu man.’ Well, of course I didn’t, but I have an awful feeling those seven words will be my epitaph. I spoke the words in passing, almost as an aside, but I am fearful they will come to define me. The other day, on my Rosebud podcast, the great John Cleese, 84, told me how, years ago, a man died of convulsive laughter while watching his film A Fish Called Wanda. Prompted by this anecdote from Cleese (who, incidentally, might have been called Jack Cheese, had his father not decided to change surname), I offered my story of being with the entertainer Rod Hull on the night he died. In March 1999, Rod and I both happened to be in the audience for the West End opening of Animal Crackers, a musical about the Marx Brothers. Rod had come with his (and my) friends...

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