When I saw the promos for last night’s A Current Affair story about Jeanne Little I assumed it would be putting clarity to rumours about her health. Was somebody from the family finally going on the record?
But A Current Affair didn’t clarify anything last night. The only interviews it had were with Ray Martin, P.J. Lane and Peter Timbs.
“It’s believed she’s battling a serious illness,” said Leila McKinnon.
Then Ray Martin shared his memories.
“Jeanne was just unique,” he said. Past tense.
“She hasn’t been seen for, probably quite a while out in public,” said former TV Week writer Peter Timbs.
“It’s really sad to see someone who was so vibrant, just losing basic abilities,” offered P.J. Lane, son of Don Lane. “It’s horrible.”
What followed were more memories of Little, clips from The Mike Walsh Show, Midday, an old interview with Little and an interview with her daughter from a Foxtel documentary. The words “ACA: Exclusive” were carried throughout.
“Hard to believe the darling of Australian television is understood to be battling for life,” said reporter Ben McCormack.
That’s journo talk for ‘we didn’t get it confirmed / we know but can’t go on the record / somebody else got the interview.’ I’ve even succumbed to it myself on occasions -but hopefully never in relation to something so deeply private.
“There’s talk out there that she may have Alzheimers, she hasn’t been seen in a long time and those who have seen her say she’s not looking very well,” said Timbs, “and the word on the street is that she may have Alzheimers disease, which is quite sad.”
No respect for a woman who gave years of service to the Nine Network.
I won’t go on with the rest of the details, but the whole thing felt like an obituary.
It even ended with McKinnon’s footnote, “We do wish Jeanne and her family all the very best at this difficult time.”
A time now made even more difficult by an invasive report?
Seriously, what was the motivation behind this story?
Does another media outlet actually have a member of the family on the record?
Watch this space.