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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 11:07 GMT
Jackson reply draws 2.4m viewers
Michael Jackson
Jackson is taking court action over Bashir's unseen footage
A documentary released by Michael Jackson to hit back at Martin Bashir's controversial TV interview with the star was watched by 2.4 million people.

The first terrestrial airing of the pop star's version of the programme was shown on Five, formerly Channel 5, on Monday night.

It received the same number of viewers as BBC Two's Never Mind the Buzzcocks at the same time, according to unofficial overnight figures, and was beaten by ITV1's A Touch of Frost's 11.4 million viewers.

The programme's UK debut on Sky One last week was a big draw with more than two million viewers, making it the third biggest show in the channel's history.

It followed the controversial Living With Michael Jackson on ITV1, which was based on a series of interviews by Bashir during a period of several months spent with the singer.

Viewing Figures
3.9m BBC1: Under Siege 2
2.4m BBC2: Never Mind the Buzzcocks
11.4m ITV1: A Touch of Frost
1.1m Channel 4: Aircrash
2.4m Five: MIchael Jackson Interview
*figures from Barb for Monday at 2100 GMT
Bashir showed Jackson dangling his baby from a balcony and talking about sharing his bedroom with other children.

Jackson's programme, which he said shows that Bashir betrayed him, used footage filmed by the singer's own cameraman.

The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See, caused a stir when shown in the United States and on digital television in the UK.

Monday's showing on Five had a 9.8% audience share.

Complaint

The singer has started legal proceedings against Granada Television to obtain unseen footage of him and his children.

Granada agreed on Friday not to use any out-takes from its documentary, until after a full hearing on the dispute in April.

Jackson also complained to the British broadcasting authorities about what he perceived was an unfair portrayal.

In the Granada programme, Bashir said Neverland was a "dangerous place" for vulnerable children in his documentary.

Martin Bashir
Bashir denies betraying Jackson
But in Jackson's version, he is shown describing the ranch as "incredible".

"The problem is nobody actually comes here," Bashir is seen telling Jackson before one of his interview sessions.

"But I was actually here yesterday and I saw it and it's nothing short of a spiritual kind of thing."

Jackson's footage also showed Bashir telling the singer: "Your relationship with your children is spectacular."

It also includes an interview with the star's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, who praised his parenting skills and said their two children were conceived naturally.

'Boring and pointless'

Granada, who were behind Bashir's controversial documentary, defended the interviewer by saying Jackson's programme was a collection of "out-of-context soundbites".

"By contrast our programme presented a rounded picture. We still stand wholeheartedly by our documentary," a Granada spokesman said.

Jackson's own programme got a mixed reaction when shown on the US Fox network on 20 February.

"It was boring and pointless," Frank Sanello, Hollywood historian and newspaper columnist said.

But David Salter, a student at the University of Southern California, said: "It was interesting, one of the things the documentary shows is how selective editing can really change the entire look of a person in the public's eye."




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