The interview by Sir Michael Parkinson on “the private and sometimes troubled world of Ian Thorpe OAM” was conducted this week, after Thorpe has signed to Network TEN. So it begs the question whether a network running an interview with its own talent can really be as independent as one who is not.
While TEN claims “no question off limits” (did Parky ask how much is contract is worth?), it would have been a better get before Thorpe had signed on the network line.
It will also run for a whopping 90 minutes, pushing Masterchef back to 8pm.
Ian has made the brave decision to be himself. With no question off limits, the master interviewer will examine the good times and the bad, the triumphs and the trauma that Ian has faced throughout his life.
Sir Michael said: “Ian Thorpe has always been near the top of my list to interview. The reasons are obvious. Not many athletes can claim to be the best of all time. Ian can.
“The story of a boy who was a teenage World Champion, conquered the world and then seemed to give it all away is a fascinating and intriguing one.
“His fight against depression offers a unique insight into the darker side of celebrity and success. What fascinates me most about Ian is that apart from the very beginning of his career, he never seemed to enjoy and celebrate his success. It will be interesting to find out the reasons why,” he said.
Network Ten Executive Director of News and Current Affairs, Peter Meakin, said: “This promises to be an absorbing encounter – a sporting hero with a fascinating story, paired with an interviewer whose reputation is deservedly legendary.”
Affectionately known to many as Thorpedo, Ian broke 22 world records and won five gold, three silver and one bronze Olympic medals. He has also collected 11 World Championship titles, 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine Pan Pacific titles.
Outside the pool, Ian has pursued a number of ventures showcasing his passion for charity work media, art, fashion, food and travel. Ian’s recent projects include the publication of his autobiography, This Is Me, as well as a feature documentary entitled The Swimmer.
Updated: Sunday, July 13, at 6pm.