Christian O’Connell says unheard interview is ‘last gift’ from late Sean Hughes

Radio presenter Christian O’Connell has shared “his last gift” from late actor Sean Hughes in the form of an interview he recorded with the star more than five years ago.

The Absolute Radio host found the previously unreleased recording after hearing the news of his friend’s death this week and has now shared it in the form of a podcast entitled Sean Hughes Unheard.

The 40-minute interview sees former Never Mind The Buzzcocks captain B Hughes, who died at the age of 51, detail his childhood love for the Bay City Rollers and comedian Richard Pryor, as well as his experience attending an Irish public school as a boy with a cockney accent.

Sean Hughes (Ian West/PA)

O’Connell said he was left “heartbroken” by the death of his friend, who he had known for more than 17 years.

Speaking hours after claiming two gold prizes at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards, he told the Press Association: “I couldn’t quite understand that he was dead.

“This has given me a last gift from him, a nudge to pull my finger out. He was always very supportive of me.

“Listening back to it was hard. I was in tears. Hearing his voice and his laughter, but knowing he wasn’t around anymore.”

O’Connell said that the news of Hughes’ death came as a complete shock, barely weeks after the pair had been arranging to meet up for a day out dog-walking.

“I saw him about six weeks ago and then we spoke on the phone,” O’Connell said.

“He gave me tips for where to go in Melbourne as I stopped there while on a trip to Australia.

“I have a voicemail on my phone from a couple of weeks ago where he said we should meet up to go dog-walking. I can’t bring myself to delete the message and his number is still saved in my phone.

“It’s a tragedy what happened and it’s just nice to be able to share his voice with people one last time.”

His interview with Hughes was part of a short series of interviews that he recorded with the likes of David Tennant and Ricky Gervais, where he would ask his guests to tell stories based on five key words that defined their lives.

He admitted: “I never released any of them, I sort of just forgot about them.

“At the time I just wanted to interview people who I found interesting and I wanted to see if it worked. It was a simple format, a bit like Desert Island Discs, which is still hugely popular.

“I didn’t want it to be like an interview, and it allowed people to open up and tell stories that they don’t normally get a chance to tell.”

Sean Hughes Unheard is now available to download.

As well as being an accomplished stand-up comedian, Hughes was known for his TV appearances on shows such as Coronation Street and The Last Detective, and his own sitcom Sean’s Show in the early 1990s.


 

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