Leigh Sales' favourite interviews of 2017



December 14, 2017 14:42:59

At the end of each year it’s wonderful to sit back and think about all the amazing people I’ve been lucky enough to interview as part of my job.

2017 was no different.

If you’re a regular viewer of the program, the top pick won’t be much of a shock (the picture above is a bit of a hint), but some of the others may surprise you.

So, here are my favourite interviews for this year, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

10. Andrew MacKenzie, BHP

I’m very used to politicians and business leaders attempting to obfuscate and duck questions when they appear on 7.30, so Andrew McKenzie’s interview was extremely refreshing.

He answered everything directly, which made it engaging and meant he got his points across clearly and effectively.

9. Richard Di Natale

For the same reason that I respected Andrew McKenzie, I respected the way Richard di Natale fronted up on a very difficult night for the Greens and freely admitted they’d stuffed up on citizenship eligibility and that he had no way to sugar-coat it.

Refreshing honesty!

8. Elton John

I love Elton John and it was such a pleasure to get to meet him.

I loved the job my producer, Callum Denness, did editing the story because the archive material and the Elton songs were just so great.

A total thrill to meet such a pop legend.

7. Bill Nighy

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly a fan of Bill Nighy’s films (although he’s always good) but he was particularly charming as an interviewee.

He had a lovely intelligence and warmth in person and I felt that we could have retired to a bar and carried on the conversation.

6. Patti Smith

As with Bill Nighy, I’m not particularly familiar with her work but she has a certain authenticity as a person that rings out.

Her vulnerability and honesty in speaking about her mess-up at the Nobel Prize ceremony and her discussion about the death of her mother were so endearing.

5. Ben Mendelsohn

I have wanted to interview Ben Mendelsohn since he did a beautiful deed tied to our program.

We ran a story about a disco for kids with disabilities who find it hard to meet potential romantic partners.

Ben saw the story and got in touch to say he’d pay for the kids to have another event. It was so kind-hearted.

I loved talking to him, I thought we had nice chemistry. I also loved seeing him on Triple J next door doing his best menacing “Mendo” take on some lyrics from The Lion King.

4. Young men and women

I always enjoy speaking to people who aren’t media-trained.

We decided we wanted an insight into the issues that preoccupy young men and women under the age of 25 so across two nights, we did two separate panels of young people from around Australia.

I loved them all, they were so interesting and engaging and vulnerable.

3. Hannah Gadsby

Hannah Gadsby’s show Nanette won every award going and it was not only a masterful piece of theatre, it was incredibly moving.

She was almost hypnotically compelling as an interviewee.

2. John McCain

When I was the US correspondent for the ABC from 2001 onwards, John McCain was a leading Republican who tried to hold the Bush administration accountable for its War on Terror policies.

He’s doing the same now during the Trump presidency.

His book, Faith of My Fathers, about his time as a prisoner of war during Vietnam and his public service as a politician is one of my favourite memoirs.

He stands for the best of the United States and is a genuine American hero in my view.

He didn’t disappoint. He was warm, funny, friendly and decent.

1. Paul McCartney

I’ve never interviewed anybody of whom I’m a bigger fan than Paul McCartney.

It was a miracle I didn’t start sobbing.

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.






First posted

December 14, 2017 14:36:16

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