'I blame myself for Rod Hull's death': Gyles Brandreth reveals heartbreaking story behind fatal accident

3 May 2024, 10:42 | Updated: 3 May 2024, 10:43

Rod Hull with Emu (l) and Gyles Brandreth (r)
Rod Hull with Emu (l) and Gyles Brandreth (r). Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

Gyles Brandreth has revealed that he blames himself for the death of legendary entertainer Rod Hull.

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Rod, famed for his emu and its TV attacks on Michael Parkinson, died in 1999 after falling from the roof of his bungalow and falling, suffering a severe skull fracture and chest injuries. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

TV presenter and former MP Gyles has revealed that days earlier Rod had been complaining to him about his TV connection and he "encouraged" him to "get a ladder' and climb on the roof.

Gyles admitted he feels responsible for his friend's death after he took his advice while watching a Champions League match between Manchester United and Inter Milan.

Gyles said: "I killed a man - it was Rod Hull, the emu man.

"We were at the theatre, we were at the first night of Animal Crackers - it was a show about the Marx brothers.

"Terrible, terrible weather that night. And he was sitting next to me, and he was complaining all through the show - was interrupting the show almost - going on about how he wanted to get home because he wanted to watch the football, but his Sky aerial wasn't transmitting properly."

"And I said, 'Don't moan about it, if you want to watch the television get a ladder out, climb on to the roof, and fix it Rod'."

Rod Hull's funeral in 1999
Rod Hull's funeral in 1999. Picture: alamy

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He added "And after the show, in this stormy weather, he went home, he got out a ladder, he climbed the ladder, and he tried to fix the aerial.

"Unfortunately the wind was very great and he fell backwards off the ladder and killed himself.'So I wasn't actually there, but I'd encouraged him."

Rod was 63 when he died in the incident declared by an inquest to be accidental.

Speaking on his Rosebud podcast he said that Rod had previously declared his wishes for his funeral to recognise the emu for being the other half of his successful career - by having a knocking sound accompanying the entry of his coffin.

He added: "It was a great funeral though because at his funeral the coffin came in, and as the coffin was being carried in, it was a sort of [constant tapping sound].

"He'd arranged a beak sound to be inside the coffin as though the emu was also in the coffin."

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