Gyles Brandreth says he blames himself for Rod Hull’s death

Gyles Brandreth has said he blames himself for the death of Rod Hull, the entertainer who fell to his death as he was trying to adjust the TV aerial on the roof of his home.

Hull, 63, famous for his antics with his puppet Emu, fell from a ladder outside his bungalow in Winchelsea, East Sussex, in 1999.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. A coroner later recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Speaking to John Cleese on the latest episode of his Rosebud podcast, Brandreth said: “I killed a man. It was Rod Hull, the emu man.”

Brandreth, 76, who is a This Morning presenter and former GMB presenter, revealed that Hull had been complaining to him about his awful TV connection and he “encouraged” him to “get a ladder” and climb on the roof.

Brandreth said he felt responsible for his friend’s death after he took his advice while watching a Champions League match between Manchester United and Inter Milan, at half-time.

He explained how he had been at the theatre with Hull on the day of his death, a day he said was struck by “terrible, terrible weather”.

Brandreth added: “He was sitting next to me, and he was complaining all through the show – he 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.’

“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 Hull was born on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent and moved to Australia before returning to Britain to work in television.

He became a national institution in partnership with Emu, the wayward puppet he discovered in a props room in Australia in 1969.

When Emu met the Queen Mother at the Royal Variety Show in 1972, he ate her bouquet and, on another occasion, Emu wrestled the chatshow host Michael Parkinson to the ground.

The Guardian