herald

Thursday 20 November 2014

Royal hoax call radio show scrapped

THE Australian radio show behind a hoax phone call to the London hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was being treated has been officially cancelled.

The show and the two DJs behind the prank in December were widely condemned after the death of a nurse who answered the phone and helped the DJs get confidential information about Kate Middleton's health.

The Hot 30 programme was taken off air following the death of the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, and yesterday it was announced that Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of radio station 2DayFM, had cancelled the programme.

Condition

Southern Cross Austereo chief executive Rhys Holleran was quoted as saying DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig will go back on the air.

"We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents," Holleran said.

The DJs impersonated the queen and her son, Charles, as they phoned London's King Edward VII hospital in the early hours of December 4 to ask about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge, who had been hospitalised there after suffering from severe morning sickness.

The DJs' shaky upper-crust accents were apparently enough to fool Saldanha, who put them through to a colleague, who in turn described the details of Kate's condition.

The call went viral and was broadcast the world over.

But the incident took a darker turn after Saldanha's body was found hanging in her room three days after the prank. It was an apparent suicide that many have assumed was related to the stress from the call.

Greig and Christian apologised in emotional interviews on Australian television, saying they never expected their call would be put through.

hnews@herald.ie

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