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I recall in my broadcasting life when I committed the ultimate sin. This was for a program done by the ABC. I had returned from Britain from working on Man Alive. And while I was away another program I helped set up called Checkerboard – a social documentary series – was set up, and I did some work as an interviewer on that.

We did a program on boxers. Many famous boxers, who had an annual event at a bowling club. And I remember that for some reason the executive producer had asked a young ABC employee who was interested in boxing and was in the cine-camera department as an assistant, to do one of the particular interviews. And I remember that I got impatient with it and politely but quietly asked him to stand down and I continued the interview.

And when I went to the rushes I was mortified. Because my questions were insensitive. My questions revealed that I’d done some research but not enough about this particular boxer. And it revealed that the camera assistant involved had been asking quiet questions in the idiom of the boxer himself and doing the very thing that I prized most:which was allowing long silences before he got the answer.

What he was doing was absolutely right and what I was doing was absolutely wrong, and it mucked up that that particular interview. So that was 15 minutes that ought to have been in the program that was chucked.

But I learned from that. I mean what’s interesting to me, was that I knew that. And I didn’t pay heed to it.