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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 12:38 GMT
Michael Jackson documentary: UK views
Michael Jackson
The public are fascinated by the singer's personal life
Reporter Martin Bashir spent eight months filming reclusive pop star Michael Jackson, resulting in ITV1 Tonight's documentary, Living with Michael Jackson.

Unusually for the media-shy star, no areas of the singer's career or personal life were off limits.

Filming took place during a difficult period in Jackson's life, including the episode when he dangled his baby over a hotel balcony.

So what did you think?

This talking point is now closed. Here is a selection of BBC News Online users' comments.


I was distressed to see how he is bringing up his children. To cover their faces, especially the baby when he was being fed, is something I am sure will damage them in later life. I would like to see them taken away from him. If we normal mortals treated our children in this way they would be taken into care. Surely the lifestyle they are reared in is not how most stars treat their children.
Mrs Barbara Tilbury, England

The documentary revealed what we already know; the guy has a problem with reality and telling the truth.
BB, UK

I think the most disturbing outcome of the documentary was Martin Bashir's conduct. He had a massive opportunity to show the world what MJ is really about, his day to day living, his world, his life, his worries, his tribulations, etc. 8 months of access and what did Martin show us? Tabloid sensationalism!! Martin really needs to look in the mirror as much as MJ and ask himself, did he produce a programme worthy of the 8 months spent with MJ? I was cringing at the tone, manner, demeanour that Martin undertook. Poor by any standards. Please send in Ruby or Louis next time!!

In the end MJ came across a man that had a lot of love for kids and he trying to make for a lost childhood, given that MJ has alot of money it is only logical that many of us would do exactly the same? Really the world should question itself - is what MJ is doing really that wrong?

I suppose the only thing that I disliked about MJ was that he couldnt bring himself to be honest about the plastic surgery.
Nasser, England

The interview changed my whole perspective of Michael Jackson. The tabloids mould him into what can sell a paper, not the gifted man that made one of the biggest impacts on music today. He is brave to have let himself open to the public like he has. I was astonished to see the tabloids this morning still twisting and spinning his words and way of life. I turned off the television off last night feeling relieved that there are people out there that use their status to help others. Why not compliment him on his music and campaigns, why always condem him about things that have nothing to do with anyone but himself and his family?
Claire, England

I thought it was an appallingly conducted series of interviews. From the outset, Bashir's patronising, overtly disapproving tone had me squirming with embarrassment. His demeanour, the constant frowning expressions, the sly "get that!" camera switches - it was all very leading, and felt designed to force-confess some salacious titbit from the interviewee. Even the way that the questions were structured, such that the most probing questions were left until last (as if - were they to push to hard - it would be ok because they'd covered the bulk of material earlier on, and it wouldn't matter if they lost access to Jackson); things had obviously been scripted very carefully to order events so that they could build up to some sort of ratings grabbing climax, but ultimately it came across as a betrayal of trust. Rather I have much more sympathy for the man having now heard the stories of his upbringing and difficult early adult life.
George, UK

I believe that Michael Jackson is basically a nice but very naive guy

Andrew Rawlinson, UK
I am informed by younger folk in my family that he is a role model for thousands of youngsters. What a sad thought.
Thomas, Essex, UK

The programme offered a fascinating insight into Michael Jackson's relationships with children, but I do wonder whether Mr Bashir really needed to lace his report with such prejudiced opinions. Was he, unlike many other reporters, frightened that we might not reach the same conclusion as himself without his repeated statements of concern? People who are "disturbed" by such caring relationships are people who don't understand their nature. Those viewers able to disregard the commentary may have been able to appreciate just how important and beneficial the friendship was to the children concerned.
Michael, UK, UK

I thought that this was an extraordinary piece of TV and did create a lot of sympathy and insight into Michael's life. A lot of people are saying the kids in the bedroom incidents are shocking, the problem is that now my family and I understand he is genuinely just very kind and generous with children and trying to recreate his childhood that was lost. It was truly impressive and compelling TV.
Joseph Dougal, Scotland

I changed my opinion of him after viewing this interview, prior to this I thought he was seriously disturbed in a sick way now I see a man desperately chasing his childhood - and although I find his fascination with children strange I believed him when he said it was innocent.
G Lamb, UK

I believe that Michael Jackson is basically a nice but very naive guy. And I truly think that most of the reasons behind his eccentricities stem from the way he was treated by his father. He is now trying to create the childhood that he never had when he was younger. That said his advisors really should not let him have children sleeping in his room as he is leaving himself open to further repercussions. A strange man but then has he ever known normality?
Andrew Rawlinson, United Kingdom

He is doomed to live the life sentence of his fairytale existence. Good PR job though

O'Shea, Ireland
I got a bit fed up with his repetitive defence of any allegation put to him, which was simply that the media are 'ignorant'.

Surely it is equally ignorant of him to imagine that the General Public would quite happily swallow his claim that he has not had major plastic surgery on his face, it simply 'changed'. As it does.....
Danny Salter, UK

I'm disappointed in the way M.J was portrayed by Martin Bashir. The whole world has grown up with ideas and pre-conceptions about MJ and his life/lifestyle. This was a fantastic chance to gain an insight from the man himself. However, Bashir merely played and preyed upon many of the falsities which M.J himself complained that the tabloids create.
Rachel Batty, England

I thought the show started well but the second half just wanted scandal. However I think Michael Jackson needs to wake up a bit and realise just how much he sets himself up for the tabloid media. At the end of the day, he came across wacky but with a good heart.
Dave Burke, UK

Bonkers!
Jon, Wales

He is clearly a victim of his past but also totally lacking in challenging guidance or friends as an adult. He needs friendly advice from trusted people who understand the way the world works and the importance the media will place on what he seems to consider throw away and/or innocent comments. He came across as an abused and simple person that is totally lost in a sexually mature and cynical adult world. It didn't help that he undermined his own credibility by denying obvious plastic surgery and didn't seem to understand why people might be concerned about his attitudes to children. As a result of this interview I think he will be seen more as a tragic figure than as a threat to others.
Matt, UK

If proof were needed that fame produces damaged individuals, Michael Jackson is it. I feel terribly sorry for him, but even more sorry for his children.
Cat, UK

None the less I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather go shopping with ...
Baz Rush, UK

There is only one thing to say and that he is more strange than we could have possibly imagined

Peter Bull, England
The overriding impression I got from the documentary was that he is merely extremely naive. His obsession with children at no time ever indicated anything of a sexual nature towards them and his motivations seemed overridingly to be those of a man who only feels comfortable interacting with people of a young age. To me this man did not seem like a paedophile but simply a man who cares overzealously for children. He may be 'obsessed' with kids but he was not 'sexually obsessed' with them.
Jake Manders, England

I watched with initial great interest at what I did think would be an insightful look into this persons life, after the Urn fixation episode in the Vegas store and the ensuing blatantly obvious denials from Jackson, the core questions of what makes this man remain unanswered. He is doomed to live the life sentence of his fairytale existence. Good PR job though.
O Shea, Ireland

I thought the documentary was excellent - a real insight into a man who is so devoted to making others lives happier! When the truth of the matter is he is so lonely! I can see why he does so much for the children at his Neverland ranch (plus the hundreds of other children he supports through charities) but I don't think other people will see it that way. I pray for his happiness and health! There will always be only one Michael Jackson!
Serd, UK

What a rollercoaster ride, more like one of the Neverland rides than an interview - it took you down when you felt sorry for him at the beginning, up when you saw how easily he spends, then right back down with the rather disturbing relationship with children. The worst part is that he rides this without thought for anyone but himself, especially when he thinks nothing of sleeping in the same room with children. There is only one thing to say and that he is more strange than we could have possibly imagined.
Peter Bull, Newcastle, England

If you looked at it on one level, he is truly unique. Only someone who has that amount of money can really enjoy life and appreciate it at such a simple level. To that end there is nothing wrong with him. But the plastic surgery was a bit fake.
John, UK

I think the interview with Michael Jackson create more questions than answers. Sure some of the victimisation from his father and the far too early stardom can excuse some of his behaviour. But the non admittance of the blatantly obvious plastic surgery/skin lightening, the totally odd behaviour with his own children and most disturbing his behaviour with other peoples' children all remained unanswered. I don't think there will ever be a day when Michael Jackson will give answers and Martin Bashir is probably not the person to bring this out. Jackson will remain under a cloud with his behaviour as he has been since the child molestation accusations in 1993. No coincidence that since then he has not sold records at anything like the rate that he did before.
Glen, UK

The only person who came off nasty in this interview was Martin Bashir himself!

Stuart, UK
I was really hoping that the documentary would reveal to us all that Michael Jackson really is a nice, normal person. It's such a shame that he isn't, because his music is so brilliant, and it's a crime that it's being overshadowed by his macabre life.
Anon, UK

Well as most people, I was interested in watching the documentary. The most disturbing aspect for me was the way Martin Bashir interviewed Michael Jackson. It portrayed him in a totally negative light, and as an interviewer he was far too judgemental and patronising.

To put your own values on anyone is bad enough, but to do it to such a complex person as Michael Jackson is just damn right ignorant.

The impression given by the programme is of an immature, screwed up paedophile. This I would surmise is a long way from the truth.

Deep down most of the viewers would wish for a world where all children are loved and protected. At no time was there even a hint of sexuality in his demeanour around children, his overriding feelings seemed to be of genuine concern for their welfare when in his care.

There where episodes contained within the programme that clearly demonstrated that he can become totally immersed in the gratification of the people that follow him and I would concede that this has a detrimental effect on the people close to him.

There where contradictions within the subject of plastic surgery, but if this is his only falsehood so be it.

In summary I would guess he has done more for children's charities than most of us and his detractors could only dream of.
Andrew Ratcliffe, UK

In this documentary, MJ came across as a man constantly trying to chase the childhood he never had. It's obvious that he loves children and feels comfortable in there presence but at no time was there anything sexual about it. Martin Bashir tried to use the camera to show something that wasn't there. One incident was where MJ was holding hands with a 12-year-old boy. This is a boy who believes MJ helped him get over his cancer, of course this boy is going to feel close to him. He was only holding MJ's hand out of support! The only person who came off nasty in this interview was Martin Bashir himself!
Stuart, UK

The interview started well, giving us a fantastic insight into the life of a very sad and lonely figure. The second half became an insult to intelligent journalism however, with its blatant attempt to get MJ to admit to child abuse. Bashir's constant "disturbs me" comments merely show what a cynical and accusing world we have created for ourselves. Do we not trust anyone?
Steve, UK

I think it is a sad reflection on today's society that the kindness he has shown to children is automatically linked to abusing them

Jessica, Ireland
I thought the show was amazing. It was really great to be able to get some insight into this brilliant man's life. So what if some people find him strange, I just think that it is great that he has done so much for disadvantaged children.
Jonny, UK

Didn't anyone spot the massive lies he was telling - even on film - he for example first told the interviewer that he knew the mother of his baby...that he had a relationship in fact with her - only then to say she was a surrogate he had never known later in the programme and no plastic surgery...then a nose job...then a couple?...woah...I was eating a fruitcake at the time...and he's certainly one of those.
Colin, UK

Much has been made by posters above of the charity work the MJ funds for kids and his childlike love for them. One wonders that if he truly cares for children, why he has not spent a significantly larger part of his vast wealth on charity work rather than giant chess sets and roller coasters. What it comes down to is a deeply disturbed adult that spends hundreds of millions of dollars on essentially amusing himself. Lastly, to those who defend the sleeping with children part, I would imagine they have no kids of their own yet.
Dan M, UK

I found it compulsive and disturbing viewing and it left me profoundly sorry for him. He seems to have a mental and emotional age of eight. What was even more disturbing was that if you looked at the cartoon images of Peter Pan in his home, you realised that that is what he now looks like, and that far from trying to make himself more attractive with operations, he has probably asked the surgeons to turn him into Peter Pan, the character he most wants to be. His utter surprise when confronted with questions of his own death ("But I want to live forever!") shows this.

Far from abusing children, I doubt if he'd be capable of any kind of sexual activity at all, since he obviously found the whole idea distasteful in the extreme, and has a well-documented fear of contamination and illness. He is an absolute genius musically, but an abused, sad, and mentally disturbed individual who has chosen to live his life as a child in Neverland.
Kate, UK

I had some preconceptions of MJ before this programme, namely that he was robbed of his childhood by a pushy father, has been in the public eye since ever since he can remember, and that he is an extremely talented musician and dancer. Whilst I found the programme fascinating, I found myself embarrassed at the way in which Bashir probed Jackson for answers. What an opportunity to find out more about the man behind some of the best selling music in the world. Yet Bashir took the opportunity to ask tabloid style questions to which he already knew the answers (yes he has had plastic surgery....doofus), surely his time would have been better spent trying to find out more about the man himself?

Louis Theroux's would have been far better than Bashir's condescending probing. The progamme may then have gone some way to explain his strangely asexual outlook on life, (children are gifts, and it's alright for a 44-year-old man to spend time with young children), and his obsession with celebrity. I think MJ has been very lonely, has lacked moral guidance, and never really known normal life (think about how his children must feel), and he has clearly had a traumatic childhood.

Given then that he's worth $1bn, it's not surprising that he does what he feels like doing, with little regard for what others think. Given his early experiences of adults, is it any surprise that he wants to spend time with children. All in all - A psychiatrist's field day. Bashir, you should feel ashamed, what a waste.
Andrew Goodman, England

I thought Michael Jackson came across as a very nice person. I think it is a sad reflection on today's society that the kindness he has shown to children is automatically linked to abusing them. I think what came across most was Michael Jackson's innocence and Martin Bashir's one track mind. Martin Bashir was a disgrace. I think no matter what Michael Jackson does he cannot win and think he is great to go on trying to help children after what he has been through.
Jessica, Ireland

Whilst I accept that he doesn't want to grow up, I felt that his trip to the zoo was despicable

Becky, UK
Like all brilliantly creative people, he is somewhat eccentric and bizarre. He is incredibly naive but he shows the damage of a lost childhood. And he must have very weak advisers. But he is a typical casualty of child stardom, nothing more than a commodity, driven by the needs of others without the care and sensitivity that we like to preach about today. Everyone loved the product but did anyone love the person, and now the novelty has worn, the critics take their turn.
Gill, UK

He has clearly been deeply affected by his childhood and taunts about his looks. Whilst it may seem that his enjoyment of the company of children, even in sleep-over parties is purely innocent and the children enjoy rather than fear his company, as adulthood approaches those children, the realisation of the oddity of the situation will dawn on them causing real mental pain.

His idea of parenthood and love is damaging to his own children and they will certainly grow up with their own mental problems. How on earth will he react when his own children progress from childhood to an adulthood that he has never found or understood. We can feel sad for him and treat him as a bizarre eccentric but what we saw last night was a man in need of help and laying the groundwork for so much pain and mental torture to come for his own and possibly other children.

Someone should do something. If he wore a mac and lived in an ordinary house down your street and got up to these things, social services would be round like a shot. Michael needs that kind of intervention, even if only to ensure that he receives the psyciatric help that he so obviously needs.
Phillip Holley, UK, London

Watching the first half of the programme I began to feel sorry for Michael. His childhood must have been horrendous. However as the programme went on I found it highly disturbing. This man has absolutely no grip on reality!! He claims that his children don't need their mother, that may be true but is it right for him to tell them that they don't have a mother? Overall I think that Michael is a sad lonely man who lives in a fantasy world because he is not equipped to deal with the real world but should a man like that then be allowed to father children and bring them up in his world?
Michelle, Scotland

I can relate to Michael not feeling loved and wanting to help children but I can not understand why he feels the need to let them sleep in his bed. You can be caring and loving and help children without resorting to the bedroom. I as a parent I would certainly not allow my children to sleep in a bed with 44 year old man. It's not normal!!!
Michaela Pinchin, England

This programme really held no surprises. I never felt he was "normal" beforehand and that being denied his childhood, and driven ruthlessly by his father because he was so gifted so early, has manifested itself in his childlike personality and naivety. It was interesting to see him do all the wrong things for all the right reasons due to lack of guidance from those closest to him. Unfortunately all genius is flawed.
Richard, England

Whilst I accept that he doesn't want to grow up, I felt that his trip to the zoo was despicable. His two children were trampled and crushed, they must have been frightened, yet he didn't seem to care. That was when I realised that his so called adoration of children was a sham.
Becky, UK

I thought he was going to be open and honest with Martin but he was anything but that and often contradicted himself

Jeanette Douglas, UK
At first I felt sorry for him, I mean if your dad beats you then that will leave a scar on your mind, but the more I watched the more I cringed, this guy should be locked up, the way he sat with that poor lad holding his hand, I mean we lock child molesters up for less. But I suppose it comes down to the more money you have the further from the law you are!!!!!
Chris, UK

Peter Pan he is - and all those who find him sick and repulsive are only jealous that they to do not have the money or facilities to live out their childhood dreams.
Brooke, England

Why is it not commented upon that Michael Jackson's children have blonde hair and blue eyes, but their "father" is a black man, albeit one who now has pale skin?

Is his magical skin complaint a hereditary thing? Or are we not allowed to notice and mention this for fear of being called racist?

This isn't a racist comment...it is purely observational and makes me wonder on the DNA of these poor children.
Carol, UK

I think Michael Jackson needs to grow up really, he shouldn't be sharing a bed with children as people are going to get the wrong idea.
Emma, England

Michael Jackson is the only member of his family that claims he had a bad childhood. He is always happy to pipe up about how awful his father was to him. His brothers all say that he had a good childhood and wanted the fame as much as anybody and he could've stopped at anytime.
Owen Manby, UK

Bashir went for low shots and hit some targets - but a tedious interview. The zoo scene showed the scale of media circus he faces. I wouldn't let my children near him sadly, as he lacks advisors to protect him from himself. Was that child's hair peroxide blonde?
Paul Cook, UK

A huge scoop for Martin Bashir, pity he went straight for the kill before putting his subject in context. Strange doesn't necessarily mean dangerous.
Tommy, Ireland

I did watch this from start to end but simply because I could not believe what I was hearing. I don't think the word "sad" really says enough to describe the man. His passion for young people is very disturbing and should he really have custody of his own kids. If the young people of today look to him as a role model then God help us all. I thought he was going to be open and honest with Martin but he was anything but that and often contradicted himself. Lots of us have had difficult childhoods but the majority of us still have our feet firmly on the ground. Great artist, very sad man!!
Jeanette Lucas, England

If he acted in this way and he wasn't the rich and powerful man that he is, he would not be seen as a fit parent and he certainly wouldn't be able to adopt children

Chris, UK
Am I getting this wrong or does "My dream is to adopt two children from every continent" sound just a little bit twisted. Who will benefit from this kind of arrangement? The kids who get to live without a mother, or Jackson who gets ten new playthings to supplement his lonely life. My advice is to get out, find some friends of your own age and some semblance of a normal life.
Andy, UK

Many people will say Michael has lost touch with reality and can't tell the difference between it and fantasy. However what is reality? If you have millions in the bank, reality is going to be extremely diffrerent from somone living close to starvation in Africa. Michael's parameters for living life are totally differnt from ours, not only because of his wealth - but his fame and the duration of it.
Razza Saleem, UK

A black man with three white blonde children, yeah right and I am the tooth fairy. He is a disturbed soul who needs to be surrounded by sycophants. I felt sorry for him as I grew up listening to The Jacksons. No one can sing or dance like him, but come on, the plot has been lost many years since. Let him just go into obscurity and play up his giving tree.
Kevin Pritchard, England

I find it very disturbing that someone that damaged is allowed to bring up children. How can he give them a normal, stable life?
Ashley, UK

I found the programme to be a great eye opener for me personally. I had my own pre-conceptions about Michael, mainly that his relationship with children is too much. After watching the show last night I realised that Michael is living up his lost childhood. I think it's time for him to concentrate on building more adult relationships as Michael is exposing him self to the media in a very negative way which just results in bad press like last night's show.
Karl, UK

A historical piece of television?? I think not. This was an appalling interview created to sensationalise an over-sensationalised figure. Martin Bashir should hang his head in shame in the way he lead this interview obviously to make it more marketable to sell on. Appalling.
Ade, UK

Martin Bashir's own concerns got in the way of what could have been one of the biggest news reports ever. At the beginning a great deal was revealed to us, the confession of the way his father treated him gave us an understanding of the man trying to recapture his childhood. But towards the end Martin's questions became too aggressive, and although I am concerned about those cildren sleeping over, a more tactful approach may have revealed more about the cosmetic surgery he has obviously had. An opportunity wasted!
G Evans, S Wales

So he's never had any improper relationships with children? And of course he's never had plastic surgery except on his nose?! This is one disturbed guy. If he acted in this way and he wasn't the rich and powerful man that he is, he would not be seen as a fit parent and he certainly wouldn't be able to adopt children. Money certainly is power.
Chris, UK

If you were messing with young children would you hold hands with a 12-year-old boy on global television?

Ben Wilson, UK
I thought MJ told a pack of lies. That his kid enjoyed being dangled off a balcony, that his nose is the only part of himself that he's had mutiliated, that his blonde kid has got a black mother, and on and on. He might think the media are ignorant, but he appears to think the rest of us are completely stupid. A deeply disturbing man.
David White, UK

What a shame Michael, an amazingly talented ma,n has ended up like this. If this were Joe Public sleeping in the same room as a 12-year-old boy that wasn't his son, there would be a public outcry. How much is he deluding himself and trying to delude us... after all he says he hasn't had plastic surgery - and who believes that?! I can understand why he is trying to re-capture his lost childhood, but at what & who else's expense I ask myself?!
Vicky, UK

Mike needs a best mate. One who has his/her feet on the ground and in touch with modern day reality. Someone who tells him honestly what's what.
Boots, UK

He is where he is because of the music he created, and show he performed. The "on the spot" dance/moonwalk section and early footage clearly shows that he is a brilliant perfomer and many of us have literally bought into this and put him in the position he is in. Without the wealth, none of the world he has created for himself would be possible.
Tom, UK

If you were messing with young children would you hold hands with a 12-year-old boy on global television? When they find Michael's credit card details on an internet site then I'll believe that there is anything sinister about the man.
Ben Wilson, UK

I thought the programme only served to show what an appalling journalist Martin Bashir is. Desperately trying to get sensational sound-bites out of his victim. Just like the rest of the scavengers who mis-quoted him this morning. Wake up media land, we aren't as daft as you would hope! I think Michael is just a bloke recapturing his lost youth, it is only us in our cynical "maturity" that are quick to condemn.
Giles, UK

When he so blatantly lied about his plastic surgery can we believe anything he said?
Tricia, UK

I started watching last night's documentary expecting to be disgusted by Michael Jackson: by the end of the programme I was more disgusted by Martin Bashir and ITV. Much to my own surprise, I found myself quite liking the Michael Jackson I saw last night: yes, he is very odd, yes, his life is unlike anything most of us could ever know. But then how normal can we expect his life to be? He seemed to be quite reasonable and fair about a number of aspects of his life which Martin Bashir persistently tried to taint with sleaze or a whiff of scandal.

I was left with the feeling that poor old Michael had been betrayed by yet another media vulture. Why should he have to tell the truth about his face if he doesn't want to? Leave him alone, I found myself shouting at the TV...
Caroline Boddy, UK

If Micheal Jackson was so concerned about security during the birth of this child, why on earth, with all the money he has, didn't he pay doctors/midwives etc and have the child born at home

Tracey Girdler, UK
Michael Jackson is obviously a deeply damaged individual, but on last night's evidence he shouldn't be allowed to look after next door's goldfish, let alone three little children. Get them away from him now, before all hope of normality is lost for them!
Jake, UK

Hmmm, well what can you say... at first I found myself feeling sorry for him and then it's like he is a very lonely, naive and bizarre character to say the least. And people will be saying that he has so much love to give but certain things aren't right, to say that he has ONLY had 2 nose operations is a blatant lie so what are we to believe that about kids sleeping in his room?? Whatever walk of life you are from that's not right but that is just my opinion. He has more money than he knows what to do with yet he alone could stop a famine in a third world country if he wanted to.
Kath, UK

What about his treatment of his own children? Is it really safe to have them covered up with cloth all the time? I know they may not actually be suffocated (although the baby might!) but will they grow up thinking that the entire world is a strange hue of red or green? Will their eyes develop normally?? And as for the totally manic bottle feeding scene! I thought he was going to shake the baby right out of his lap, while suffocating him with a green scarf and choking him with the milk bottle. Very strange man - but really quite sad in the end. I can't imagine him having sex with anyone - ever - so I think he is possibly innocent of the pedophile accusations. But then he is so crazy, who really knows?
Paul, UK

I think Jackson's agreement to do the interview was a vain attempt to kick start his moribund career. His records these days are a pale immitation of Off the Wall and Thriller and he seems unable to figure out why he is becoming an irrelevancy in the music world. His remaining fans seem as flakey as he is and his whole life just came across as a complete freak show. All rather sad really - especially the constant lying. Someone needs to help this man grow up. I'm not sure that he can look after himself let alone those poor kids.
David Grover, UK

Why has Martin Bashir suddenly adopted elements of the Louis Theroux style of interviewing? It doesn't suit him.
Anon, UK

A long and much awaited documentary. I agree that MJ missed out on his childhood and is now reliving it. Who can't say that we envy his way of life? The interview started well but it was clear that there was a hidden agenda and it was a shame that these questions were asked at the very end and not explained away at the beginning. I believe MJ is a sincere yet naive person, perhaps he needs the support and guidance of a good woman? I for one now understand him as a person much more than before the show.
CJ, UK

Did Michael Jackson say that he had a loving relationship with the mother of his child called Blanket, then later went on to admit the child was born to a surrogate mother? He also admitted that he snatched his second newborn child with part of the placenta still attached as soon as she was born. If Micheal Jackson was so concerned about security during the birth of this child, why on earth, with all the money he has, didn't he pay doctors/midwives etc and have the child born at home. Would any mother allow a child to be taken away like that if she wasn't a surrogate mother? I thought breast is best, but obviously not in MJ's case.
Tracey Girdler, UK

Questions must be asked of the parents of these kids also or does a billion dollars evaporate any doubts?

Peter Danson, UK
MJ was very brave to leave himself open to speculation. I have more admiration for him than I ever did before. He is a child in a child's world deep down.. He is NOT a pervert, he is lonely and I wish the press would leave him alone. Well done Michael for being so brave.
Geri, Hampshire, UK

Obviously this man is a genius, and like all artists is a bit strange, however I felt the ITV reporter was rubbish, he asked the wrong questions and was generally rude.
Adam, England

Unfortunately, the bizarre life he leads will carry onto the next generation. In twenty years' time, lord knows what we will be reading regarding his children. His lifestyle is not healthy - someone should intervene and fast.
Caroline, UK

I certainly feel sympathy for MJ and appreciation for the amazing music that he has produced, but he appears to be someone who is in serious denial. No plastic surgery? Yeah, right. And then changing the story about his new baby; at first he had "a relationship" with the baby's mother and then, later on, he says "I didn't know her and she didn't know me." And then there's the question of his children. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they definitely appeared to be white, yet MJ should surely have black genes, regardless of what has caused his skin to change colour, implying mixed race children at the very least. And finally, the most disturbing thing was his quest to adopt a pair of children from every continent on Earth. That he should be able to do this on a whim just because of his vast wealth is extremely worrying.
Anon, UK

Jackson still does not seem to get it. Forty-four-year old men do not sleep in the same bedroom as young children. Questions must be asked of the parents of these kids also or does a billion dollars evaporate any doubts?
Peter Danson, UK

The biggest piece of biased reporting I have ever seen. I hope Michael Jackson sues for innuendo.
Paul, UK

I think he is a child at heart, and an interest in children from a man of his age isn't healthy, but when put into context it almost becomes understandable

Mike, UK
My opinion was cemented last night, Jacko is wacko! This guy is a danger to kids and himself, does he honestly believe his way of living is the norm compared to the every day person on the street?

I think the questions put to MJ were pretty tame, what we all wanted to know is if he is the biological father of the kids (which I doubt he is) then how come they are white, one even has blonde hair, can a black guy have white kids? MJ is a freak, simple as that.
Concerned Parent, UK

I thought the programme started well, and I thought we would finally get an insight into Mr Jackson's life and thoughts. Martin however seemed to be on a mission to destroy MJ with innuendos and patronising tone.

By the end of the programme I could see that it was all a setup, to gain MJ's confidence and then ridicule him and make him out to be a danger to all children.
Jag Sahota, England

What a strange person MJ appears to be. I felt he came across as a sad lonely man living in a child's world. The scary thought is that with all his wealth he can afford to pay any woman willing to produce a baby for him, what a scary thought that he could end up with loads of kids, who, like his son said, "I don't have a mummy".
Confused, Surrey, England

A fascinating documentary but the documentary built up to a climax from which Martin Bashir acted as judge and jury on a man who, it appears, has endured a life that none of us could imagine. I found myself in the position of sympathising more with Jackson and despising Bashir for his "develop the trust, go for the jugular" style of interviewing.

Despite his wealth, I felt incredibly sorry for a man desperately trying to have the childhood he never had.

I think none of us can judge him and his life style as only he has had the experiences that have made him who he is.

I think he is a child at heart, and an interest in children from a man of his age isn't healthy, but when put into context it almost becomes understandable.

And the plastic surgery? I woke up this morning and detected a definite changes in my bone structure, which only leads me to conclude that I'm starting to look like Jude Law. See, it does happen.
Mike, UK

The programme was initially captivating, I was fascinated to see the real Michael Jackson. However, the programme quickly deteriorated into a witch-hunt. It seemed anything that Michael did in the first half of the show was considered cute and quaint, anything in the second half was considered disturbing and immoral. I felt ashamed to be watching. It also felt like Mr Bashir has been studying one Louis Theurox quite a bit.
Richard Pearson, UK

I think if he'd been honest about his face, which has patently has extensive plastic surgery, then he would have come out on top. As it was, nothing new was revealed and I'm left with the same opinion

James Ollerenshaw, UK
The boy is as nuts as a Picnic bar. But Smooth Criminal is still the best ever song!
Steve, UK

Martin Bashir handled the interview woefully - his "going for the jugular" at the end was about as cringeworthy as you could get when it was so apparent that Jacko is just a nutcase who relates to children better than he does adults. Bashir's questions, so obviously trying to unearth some sexuality about the issue, were so misguided that it made the whole programme appear as it was - just a cynical muck-raking exercise.
Ben, UK

This documentary showed that Jackson is a sad and disturbed individual who is acting out a childhood that he never had using his vast wealth.

That said, I found Martin Bashir's interview even more disturbing in that he abused Jackson's naive trust just in order to obtain a sensational TV programme. Bashir's continuous assertions that he was "disturbed" by Jackson's behaviour was just a vehicle to allow him to attack Jackson for his "inappropriate" behaviour with children.

What came over to me is that Jackson is childlike in every way including his inability to have any form of sexual relationship. It appeared that Jackson truly does not understand why people think he is doing anything wrong.

Bashir's approach seemed to be just to jump on the current "child sexual abuse" media bandwagon. It seems that people need to see evil in others, whether it is there or not.

I cannot say that Michael Jackson is totally innocent of what he was being accused of, and his declaration that he had not had plastic surgery cast doubt on the truthfulness of anything he said. However, I also saw no evidence of any wrongdoing. Only of a naive, disturbed, but essentially good individual living a fantasy life.
Patrick, UK

I thought Martin Bashir played on the tabloid creation a little too much. I sincerely believe that the interview showed Michael to be a 44-year-old man chasing his childhood. I think he is naive and his defence of his life by calling people ignorant is to be expected when so many lies have been made up about him. I do believe he did have plastic surgery, but the skin whitening I doubt. I think he wants to be a great father and loves children (in a non-sleazy way), but that his immaturity hinders his adult behaviour and that he won't be a good father because of this. I think he has the best intentions, but unfortunately his claustrophobic life has damaged his view on life and hindered is adult development. Summary: great artist, good man, sad life.
Phil, UK

Amazing - Wacko Jacko didn't come out looking too bad. Sure, he's got some weird ideas, but all you could really feel is pity. I think if he'd been honest about his face, which has patently has extensive plastic surgery, then he would have come out on top. As it was, nothing new was revealed and I'm left with the same opinion. As for Martin Bashir, his interview style was effective, but unpleasant to watch. He was almost Louis Theroux at times.
James Ollerenshaw, UK

Before I saw the documentary I thought M.J. was very strange. After watching it, I see that he is just naive and lonely with a kind heart. He was unfortunate to have a non-existent childhood, having to attend the studios for recordings instead of playing football and climbing trees with other boys his age and being abused and hurt instead of the love he needed from his father. He is now trying to living his childhood dreams and wants children of today to live the life he didn't have. It is strange that he has children in his bedroom, sleeping in his bed but if it happened to be the sofa, it would sound so much more innocent and people wouldn't bat an eyelid. I feel sorry for him.
Helen, UK

I thought the programme was a real insight into the real Michael Jackson. It really annoyed me this morning when GMTV kept saying that Michael Jackson had admitted to having children sleep in his bed, it was said so out of context. I feel sorry for Michael Jackson, he never had a childhood and must be totally screwed up after all the abuse he took from his father, I also feel sorry for his children, I'm sure they'll have the love that he never did, but they'll never have a normal life. I just hope that the press leave him alone, but I can't see that happening.
Elaine Robinson, England

See also:

04 Feb 03 | Entertainment
15 Nov 02 | Entertainment
04 Dec 02 | Entertainment
27 Nov 02 | Entertainment
21 Nov 02 | Entertainment
20 Nov 02 | Entertainment
19 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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