Sunday 11 December 2016

George Hook turns 75 – his 6 most memorable moments

Published 20/05/2016 | 14:53

The Late Review with Colette Fitzpatrick on TV3 (Photo: TV3)
The Late Review with Colette Fitzpatrick on TV3 (Photo: TV3)
George Hook with his son George and grandchildren . PIC: George Hook Twitter

Broadcaster George Hook turned 75 on Thursday and to mark the occasion we're taking a look back at some of the most memorable moments of his career in recent years.

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Whether dominating rugby punditry or presenting his The Right Hook show on Newstalk, George has never been one to shy away from voicing his opinions, some of which have, on occasion, been judged to sit somewhere on the controversial scale.

The Corkman has described himself as an "old Blueshirt", is a staunch Catholic, and speaks frequently of his family, including George 3 (his son), and 4 (grandson) and of course "the lovely Ingrid", his wife of more than four decades.

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Here are some of his most interesting moments...

'You're calling me a liar, you're calling me a fake!' - that time he lost it with Colette Fitzpatrick

In May last year George appeared on Late Review on TV3 and took umbrage with host Colette Fitzpatrick (37) when she said he enjoyed courting controversy with his opinions.

The fracas breaks out at around the 6.05 mark in the video below and really starts to heat up at 11.10.

"There's a difference now between speaking your mind and being controversial and saying things for the sake of winding people up, and you like it," said Colette.

George responded by saying it was an "outrageous accusation" and added, "All you are doing is feeding in to the kind of stereotype for which I have to battle every single day.  And that stereotype is that this guy says that, not because he believes it, he says that in order to create controversy. 

"You're calling me a fake!"

Colette denied calling him a fake but he continued, "Of course you're calling me a fake!  You're saying this guy doesn't believe a word he says, he just says it to stir controversy, and if you think you can call me a fake and a liar I'll do what the president of SIPTU did on Vincent Browne which is to whip off the microphone and walk out of this studio.

"That's outrageous and don't tell me about implied consent and then just because you're a woman feel you can call me fake."

George later claimed he was "set up" by TV3 and branded the show one of the most "unprofessional programmes" he had ever appeared on.

"I was asked to come on the show to talk about the Rugby World Cup and to talk about the abusive letter I got last March.

"I wasn't asked to come on the show [to talk] about my attitude to women or my attitude to rape or anything else, so I was set up," he said.

 

That time he threatened to sue Jonathan Sexton

George threatened to sue Jonathan Sexton over comments the rugby player made about him in an interview.

Hook claimed the comments made by Sexton suggested he does not believe what he writes and broadcasts and he has generated controversy over player welfare, including that of Sexton, to further his career.

However, George apologised in a column for the Irish Independent.

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"It seemed to me that it struck at the very heart of what I do and my integrity. After all, a commentator has nothing left if he loses that. I fired off a solicitor's letter demanding an apology. I have before and probably will again defend my pursuit of the truth against any attack." But Hook now says he is "truly sorry"," he wrote.

"However, I was wrong. Not wrong to be upset, but wrong not to understand the pressure that an international professional sportsman faces when outside influences impact on his life while preparing for the biggest events of his career. I am sure that his focus for the Italy game was not helped by me and for that I am truly sorry."

He then appeared on the Late Late Show to again apologise but added that he had to defend his integrity and would not be silenced on brain damage in rugby.

 

When he claimed a lot of sex goes on behind the scenes in the media industry

Appearing on The Seven O'Clock Show on TV3 earlier this week George made the comments when asked by host Lucy Kennedy about his 'naughty books' (more on those later).

“There was a slight misunderstanding of naughty books, primarily propagated by The Seven O’ Clock Show on TV3," he said.

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"It is a book about a radio station, owned by an eccentric billionaire. However, as we in media all know, the amount of sex that goes on in the industry is unbelievable, so I couldn’t really write about a radio station or a television station talking about what goes on all the time off air.”

“Wow! Where have you worked?” said Lucy as George turned to comedian Alison Spittle and joked, “Back me up here Alison about what goes on in Newstalk.”

“No, because I don’t have a job there permanently. I am only there on a Friday. You won’t find me there on Friday if I say anything bad about Newstalk!” said Alison.

“Alison, you are my number one and you’ll be on a Friday at half 6 as long as there is breath in my body!” replied Hook.

 

"I made a stab at writing an erotic novel but the publishers rejected it" - that time he revealed his erotic fiction goals

Last summer George shocked his listeners with the revelation that he harboured desires to be a successful erotic fiction writer.

George was discussing Fifty Shades of Grey and the popularity of fan fiction with guest James Dempsey when he announced, "I have always wanted to write an erotic novel".

He added, "I have to say it is one of my great undone challenges... I don't want to parachute jump at age 90... or climb Mount Everest or any of that kind of stuff... I want to publish an erotic novel."

During an interview two years ago, Jilly Cooper, author of racy novels, encouraged George to write a "sexy novel about rugby" and at the time he said he had "all the sex planned".

On The Right Hook he went on to say that he had, in fact, already written an erotic novel.

"I made a stab at it but it as rejected by the publisher," he said.  "It was great.  It started in Warsaw, this young Polish girl and four members of the German Army...."

Joking with James he said that they should collaborate on an erotic novel in the fanfiction genre by charting the adventures of the character of Kalinda (played by Archie Panjabi) from The Good Girl.

"The Futher Adventures of Kalinda," said Hook.  "I can describe her, the thigh high boots, the six inch heels, the fact that she's of a rather voracious sexual nature. 

"But now Kalinda, instead of being an Indian girl, we'll move her to Warsaw, she'll be the daughter of the one who was despoiled in 1945 in Warsaw and she will be carrying out a campaign against the sons and daughters of the four guys who despoiled her mother in Kalinsky Street in Warsaw."

The following week he read extracts from that very novel "set in a radio station owned by an eccentric billionaire" to listeners of Brendan O'Connor's show on RTE Radio One.

Hook stressed that the literature was not autobiographical, despite the fact that the story’s main character is an aging radio presenter named Jeff who is “fat, old and balding” and a complete “ladies’ man”.

He also shared an extract of the book in which his main character is in hospital suffering from cancer and is approached by a young nurse.

“Joanie the new night nurse was his kind of girl,” Hook wrote.

“She was size 16 and the white starched uniform struggled to hold her double D breasts. Last night when she bent over him to fluff his pillows he had a glimpse of her little girls.

“The objects of his dreams. Something was different though. She was in five inch heels and there was a slash of red on the lovely mouth that opened to utter the words:“Time for your injections, Jeff.”

 

The time he sparked outrage with his comments about 'implied consent'

In July last year George interviewed Senator Ivana Bacik in the wake of a case in which a man, Magnus Meyer Hustveit, was convicted of raping his ex-girlfriend Niamh Nic Dhomhnaill repeatedly in her sleep.

On the show Hook raised a hypothetical case and said he did not want to refer specifically to the case of Ms Nic Domhnall.

"So now you are sharing a bed with someone, yes, and obviously a sexual congress takes place on a regular basis, because you're living with somebody," he said.

"Now, is there not an implied consent therefore that you consent to sexual congress?"

Ms Nic Dhomhnaill complained about the show and branded his questions, "crass, outdated and insulting".

Speaking about the complaint, George later told his listeners, "It has come to my attention that Ms Nic Dhomhnaill was hurt by what I said and felt that I was insensitive to her plight and to other cases. That was never my intention," he said.

"I never said, and would never say, that a man has implied consent from the woman with whom he shares a bed."

He said that he was "shocked and saddened" by the case that prompted the discussion in the first place.

 

When he got emotional speaking about his late mother on Cutting Edge

George showed his softer side on Brendan O'Connor's new show Cutting Edge this week.

He gave a monologue about the reasons why he believes in heaven and choked up when he referred to his late mother.

"You know heaven's got to be right when people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens don't believe in it," he said.

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"Richard Dawkins says, interestingly, physicists use God as a metaphor for the general awe-inspiring mysteries of the universe. He's right, it is God.  When we look the awe-inspiring mysteries of the universe we know there could only be a God that could produce this."

He became emotional when he added, "There's another reason of course and that's that I'm going to see my mother when I make heaven and I'm going to say to her, 'Mam I made it.  I know you thought I wouldn't but I did."

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