BBC's Parkinson runs gauntlet for Bee Gees exclusive

By Martin McNamara

BBC Miami correspondent Fergal Parkinson had to face the full barrage of the media pack to get his world exclusive interview with the surviving Bee Gees after the death of Maurice Gibb.

Parkinson said he got the exclusive by holding back on his coverage of Maurice’s last illness “I struck up a bit of a rapport with one of their fixers and he kept me up to date with Maurice’s condition,” said Parkinson. “A couple of times he asked me not to report things and I didn’t, so I was able to build up a bit of trust.”

After Gibb’s death, Parkinson put in a request to speak to the other brothers. “They came back and said they wanted to give the interview to the BBC and wanted me to do it.”

But when Parkinson turned up with his crew at the Bee Gees’ mansion, he was met by an irate crowd of his fellow reporters at the gate. “There were about 20 or 30 journalists,” he said. “They were all angry and there was one British woman freelance from the tabloids who tried to block the gate.”

Parkinson needed the help of the group’s security men to get inside. His interview was the first time the brothers had spoken publicly about their loss and they also revealed their anger and belief that the hospital was negligent – a story that has been picked up across the globe.

On his way out, Parkinson had to fight through an even bigger and angrier crowd of journalists at the gate and fellow journalists even tried to grab the tape out of his hand.

“It’s at times like that, you’re grateful that you have a 6ft 6in Peruvian cameraman,” he said.

Martin McNamara

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