Tuesday 24 October 2017

Revealed: The colossal fee Tony Blair's spin doctor Alastair Campbell was paid to appear on Eamon Dunphy's chat show

Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

TV3 paid Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell a huge sum to appear on Eamon Dunphy's much-hyped, short-lived chat show which tried and failed to take on The Late Late Show.

In the latest volume of his diaries, Campbell reveals that he was paid "20 grand" to appear on the fledgling Dunphy Show in 2003, along with Roy Keane and Bob Geldof.

"The show was being recorded at a university, and the fees they were paying, 20 grand for me and I guess similar for Roy Keane and Geldof, plus the pretty high production values, suggested they were really investing in it and hoping to take on The Late Late Show," he writes in the fifth volume of his diaries, Outside, Inside. "Dunphy was a real livewire, endless effing and blinding, terrible name-dropping, chain-smoking and always telling the staff how brilliant they were."

The fee, huge even by British television standards, secured an international scoop for Dunphy; it was Campbell's first interview since leaving Downing Street - but it didn't save the show, which TV3 dropped after one series, four months after it was launched.

"That is a lot for a TV show, that is a lot. But I think it was their first one, and they were really trying to make it. It was me, Bob Geldof and Roy Keane. I don't know what they got paid but it was a lot of money. Most chat shows you don't get paid a penny," Campbell said this weekend.

Campbell's fifth volume of diaries covers three years after he left Downing Street.

The diaries stop before Campbell joined the Lions tour as communications adviser in 2005, when he gave the now infamous pep talk that made Paul O'Connell want to "knock him out". In his autobiography published last week, the Irish rugby legend said he was insulted and afterwards wanted to find Campbell and knock him out.

Campbell said he and O'Connell are now good friends. He said O'Connell phoned him "to apologise" before the "knock him out" story was to appear in a newspaper.

Sunday Independent

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