The interview that never was: Douglas Aiton reflects on interviews with Germaine Greer and Ted Whitten

“Such an interview would have attracted world attention. I can imagine the front page of The Morocco Times, or even The Libyan Review giving it a suitable headline…”

It was quite nerve-wracking for me to be told that not only was Germaine Greer in town, but also, she was coming on my program that day.

The famous feminist, known worldwide for her book The Female Eunuch, was doing a tour and thought it should include 3LO (now ABC Radio Melbourne). I had not met her but was suitably transfixed by her reputation.

She was “a feminist” and anyone with that reputation was someone to be scared of.

She came in to the studio, she smiled, and she shook my hand, all of which I had not expected. Then she turned straight to me and said “is Ted Whitten on your program today?”

I admit that I had not expected such a question from such a woman. But I said “yes he is”. Whereupon she said: “well he’s in the waiting room and he appears quite drunk.”

I replied “oh no” and then we both set about how he should be dealt with. In true Germaine style, she applied her brain to finding a solution.

Then we proceeded with the interview, which was so different to what I had expected. I don’t think the word “feminist” appeared once.

By the end of the interview, Germaine and I had come to terms completely despite the fact that we had never met before.

Then at the end, I made my big mistake. I said “goodbye Germaine” and stood up as she exited the studio.

She was followed immediately by Ted Whitten whom I also had not met before.

Yes, he was inebriated and he showed this by shouting every word and shaking my hand with his characteristic nightmare grip. It was a great interview, and he proceeded to entertain all of us by stating something that the AFL did, and following it by saying, “is that right, Douglas. IS THAT RIGHT?”

He must have liked the sound of that because he kept repeating it.

Then that interview finished and Ted left the studio with a last comment to me, “is that right Douglas.”

He and I laughed and he went on his merry way.

Only then did I realise what an awful mistake I had made. I had Germaine Greer in the studio and did NOT invite her to join in the interview with Ted Whitton. Such a transgression was a deep-down faux pas.

It would have been a sensational interview to have Germaine Greer, feminist, interviewing Ted Whitton, league footballer. Furthermore, now that I knew Germaine Greer, I could tell that she would have done an incredible job.

And such an interview would have attracted world attention. I can imagine the front page of The Morocco Times, or even The Libyan Review giving it a suitable headline.

About the Author

Doug Aiton was the Drive time Presenter at Melbourne’s 3LO from 1987 – 1997.

He has a combined past of newspapers and radio including a weekly column for the Sunday Age for about ten years. He is married to Judy and has three children.

Now in his 70s, Doug still presents a regular program on The Pulse Geelong.





Edited by Jessie Aiton