New Zealand's top five on-air meltdowns

Radio Live's Martin Devlin really spat the dummy over a text message.
Michael Bradley

Radio Live's Martin Devlin really spat the dummy over a text message.

As the old adage says, when it comes to showbusiness, you should never work with children or animals.

An updated version - like this list - should include technology. 

It would also be safe to rule out the following familiar faces, for those hoping to err on the side of caution.

The X Factor's Natalia Kills doesn't hold back.

The X Factor's Natalia Kills doesn't hold back.

From talk-radio hissy fits to a very awkward q&a with John Campbell, there's nothing quite like a full-blown meltdown live on air to reassure us all we're still sane.

Jono Pryor has a meltdown on air over broken computer
Radio Sport's Martin Devlin threatens listener on air​
See losing Come Dine With Me UK host's epic meltdown
X Factor: Bullying outcry over Natalia Kills attack
Remember that time Helen Clark called John Campbell a 'sanctimonious little creep'?

1. Radio Sport broadcaster Martin Devlin loses it over a text message, 2016

No one knows what was written in that text message, but the extraordinary reaction from Devlin during his live show qualifies this meltdown as probably the best so far.
After receiving an anonymous text,  Devlin attempted to call the number all the while threatening to track the person to his place of employment and give the same abuse back to them.

"I'm just going to ring a p.... b...., ladies and gentlemen," he said, before ranting for 2-3 minutes about the texter and abuse and revealing the texter's phone number. Devlin was left to later apologise after the Broadcasting Standards Authority slapped Devlin's employer, NZME, with a $4000 fine for exposing the mobile number on-air.

2. Radio Host Jono Pryor has technical hissy fit, 2017

All of the computer screens went black and so did Pryor's patience - on air. Pryor apparently didn't realise he was live and released his anger over a computer shouting "ah, mother fah! Stupid computer", before slamming what appeared to be a keyboard.

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He then ordered in someone called Dan, who was standing outside, before screaming at Dan to fix the "stupid computer". Poor Dan. His employers, The Edge, later apologised to listeners, but did he apologise to technical man Dan?

3. Natalia Kills on The X Factor NZ, 2015

We couldn't forget this shocker if we tried. First of all, nobody saw it coming. While Natalia Kills and Willy Moon quickly became renowned for their unconventional critiques and outlandish feedback, Kills' open-fire rant left poor contestant Joe Irvine completely speechless. As Irvine wrapped up his Buble rendition, Kills let loose with an unforgiving tirade. "You're a laughing stock, I'm embarrassed to be here," she said. "It was artistically atrocious."

Kills' very public on-air meltdown sparked a world-wide media storm and outrage at the couple, who were swiftly removed from the show's judging panel. The X-Factor creator Simon Cowell later branded Kills "mad" and "hateful".

4. Bob Jones punches television reporter in the face, 1985

Despite the controversial former MP being out of frame for the majority of this meltdown, Bob Jones certainly made his presence felt when a bloody-faced Rod Vaughn resurfaced to continue his news broadcast. The Eyewitness News team were unceremoniously urged to leave the property, despite their best efforts to speak to a less than impressed Mr Jones.

"My cameraman is also very bruised," Vaughn said. Jones then charged back off into the bush, urging the camera crew to "get the f**ck off my property". Hell hath no fury like Bob Jones.

5. Helen Clark's 'sanctimonious little creep' John Campbell #Corngate interview, 2002

There is no doubt about it that this would have made for extraordinary viewing. And to think, all this drama over a little genetically-modified corn? In an interview to trump all others, then Prime Minister Helen Clark gave TV3 journalist John Campbell an old-fashioned telling off after she felt sideswiped by his interview questions. 

"The more the interview goes on, the more offended I am that TV3 thinks it's appropriate to set the Prime Minister up on an issue like this," said Clark. When Campbell suggested Clark knew far more than she was letting on, the former Prime Minister labelled the interview an ambush. In arguably the most famous quote of the 2002 election campaign, Clark later dubbed Campbell a "sanctimonious little creep".

 - Stuff


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