Richard Madeley has expressed his surprise after learning that he will feature in a Channel 4 Dispatches series exposing alarming claims made against Russell Brand.
The station aired Russell Brand: In Plain Sight: Dispatches on Saturday night, the same day as an article based on a collaborative investigation by The Times, Sunday Times, and station 4’s Dispatches.
Four women presented allegations against Brand in the web piece, including rape and sexual assault, which they claim occurred between 2006 and 2013. The 48-year-old comedian has categorically refuted all of the charges.
On Monday’s Good Morning Britain, co-hosts Madeley and Susanna Reid addressed the latest Brand news with guests Andrew Pierce and Kevin Maguire on ITV.
Reid, 52, brought up the fact that Madeley, 67, is featured in the Channel 4 programme with his wife Judy Finnigan, 75, interviewing Brand some years ago, which surprised him noticeably.
‘There’s a clip where you and Judy are interviewing Russell Brand,’ Reid said, as Madeley responded: ‘Is there? In the documentary?’
As Reid described how the meeting evolved, Madeley believed that the interview took place around 2008 or 2009.
‘There’s a sort of you know… he’s written a book and he’s doing publicity for it, and Judy sort of raises an eyebrow and says, “Ooh yeah, you’re all innocent Russell Brand, the way you behave,” and you say, “Mm, butter wouldn’t melt,’ Reid said.
As Madeley looked at his co-presenter, she continued: ‘It was almost as you were watching, I was thinking, did you say that in a way that you kind of knew his reputation, or was there anything more to that do you think?’
Madeley looked back on the time in question, which was ‘a long time ago’, stressing that he ‘certainly never heard allegations that he was a rapist or that he’d done anything criminal’.
‘Never heard that,’ he stated. ‘If I had, we would have had to deal with that in an interview. However, as he himself has said in his statement, which he issued prior to the documentary going out, he had a terrible reputation as a womaniser, to use an old-fashioned word.
‘His reputation was – and I won’t use the four letter word beginning with S and ending with with R – but that’s what he was known as. But I never heard allegations that he was anything other than a consensual operator in that field.
‘But yes – he was an operator. And where there was an opportunity sexually, he would chase it up. And he says that himself, he was hugely promiscuous. But I have to say, I worked at Channel 4 at the time, I actually never heard specific allegations that he was breaking the law.’
Brand released a video on social media on Friday, before of the Channel 4 programme and The Times story, disputing claims that he alleged were due to be made against him.
In the video, he said that he ‘absolutely’ denied accusations, which he didn’t go into further detail about, explaining that he had received letters from a ‘mainstream media TV company’ and a newspaper, which he said included a ‘litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks’.
The comedian said that there were ‘some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute’, saying: ‘These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies and as I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.”
‘Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.
‘To see that transparency metastasised into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question is there another agenda at play.’
The comic added that he believed that he was being subjected to a ‘coordinated attack’ and that he would be looking into the allegations, because it is ‘very, very serious’.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.