Gyles Brandreth didn’t kill Rod Hull – I did, claims ex-Countess

Rodd Hull and Emu - Gyles Brandreth didn't kill Rod Hull – I did, claims ex-Countess
Rod Hull, the entertainer best known for his partnership with the puppet Emu, fell to his death in 1999 - Channel 4

The former Countess of Bradford has said she is responsible for the death of Rod Hull following claims last week from Gyles Brandreth that he blamed himself.

Speaking to John Cleese in an episode of his Rosebud podcast, former Conservative MP Mr Brandreth, 76, said: “I killed a man – it was Rod Hull, the emu man.”

Mr Hull fell from the roof of his home while adjusting his television aerial in 1999, aged 63.

Mr Brandreth said he had been at the theatre with Hull on the day of his death and claimed he suggested he fixed his defective television himself by using a ladder and climbing onto the roof to carry out DIY repairs. Hull subsequently fell to his death while doing so.

However, Joanne Miller, the former Countess of Bradford, said it is she who was liable for his death.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: “Gyles seems to have pinched my story.”

‘We felt ghastly for suggesting he fiddle with the aerial’

Ms Miller, who ended her marriage with Richard Bridgeman, Earl of Bradford, in 2006, said the Bradfords and Hull had spent the evening together at the first night of the musical Animal Crackers, at the West End’s Lyric Theatre in March 1999.

She told the newspaper: ‘We picked Rod up at the Chelsea Arts Club, where he was staying, travelled by taxi to and from the theatre and sat beside him throughout the show, which we enjoyed.

“On the way there, he told us that he was having intermittent problems with TV reception at his bungalow which meant that he might not be able to watch a big Manchester United football match the following evening. So we told him that, if necessary, it should be easy enough to put a ladder up the side of his bungalow and fiddle with the aerial to fix the reception.”

She added: “But the following day came the terrible news that Rod had fallen from his roof in the windy night while fiddling with the TV aerial during the football match. We felt ghastly for having suggested that he could fix the reception by himself.”

Joanne Miller
Joanne Miller says she feels responsible for Rod Hull's fall from the roof of his balcony - Alamy

Brandreth ‘relieved’ the former Countess is happy to take the blame

Ms Miller said she was confused by Mr Brandreth’s claim that it was he who had been sitting with Hull in the theatre and that the comedian had complained about his TV during the performance.

She said: “I don’t recall Gyles being with us at all that night – I think I would have done. I can only think that my former husband must have told him some time later how we had urged Rod to fix his TV problem, which led to his really tragic death and, 25 years later, Gyles’s memory has appropriated our instructions to Rod to himself.”

Mr Brandreth said he was “relieved” the former Countess was happy to take the blame. Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “I was just one of us saying to Rod that he should simply climb onto the roof and sort it out.

Gyles Brandreth
In the clear: Gyles Brandreth says he's 'relieved' Ms Miller is happy to take the blame - Shutterstock /Ken McKay

“I’m sorry Jo doesn’t remember me being there.”

Mr Brandreth is the godfather to Ms Miller’s third son, Ben.