Chris Martin gives Radio 4 interviewer the cold shoulder

Chris Martin has long been known as a reluctant rock star, a man who prefers a quiet life of yoga practice and vegetarian dinners at home rather than a red carpet lifestyle.

Yesterday, the Coldplay frontman further consolidated his reputation as the quiet man of pop, by walking out of an interview for a Radio 4 arts programme, Front Row, saying he didn't like "having to talk about things".

The musician, 31, abandoned the interview to promote Coldplay's new album nine minutes into the recording, telling the programme's presenter, John Wilson, that he was "not really enjoying this".

The album, Viva la Vida (or Death to All his Friends), which was released on Thursday, is set to become one of the fastest – and biggest-selling records in chart history. After selling 125,000 copies in its first day, it could see Coldplay outsell their 2005 album X&Y, which sold 465,000 in its first week.

The new album is almost certain to take the top spot in the album chart on Sunday. The group are EMI's best-selling act and the latest album is said to be crucial for the record company, which is attempting to revive its fortunes with more people downloading music illegally.

A BBC report said Martin appeared uncomfortable from the start of the interview. Asked about a speech he made at a music awards ceremony in 2005 when he said the band would be away "for a very long time", Martin said: "I always say stupid things and I think Radio 4 is the place that will most remind me of that."

When Wilson asked whether the album's full title reflected the band's obsession with death, it was received with some hostility by Martin, who accused Wilson of being manipulative.

"I wouldn't agree with you there at all, no. I'd say you're intentionally twisting me into saying something I don't really mean," he said.

Martin then appeared to hesitate after Wilson asked him about the inspiration for lyrics of a song dealing with the subject of a deposed dictator.

When Wilson asked that Martin move closer to the microphone, the musician asked: "Can I have two minutes – is that all right?" before walking out.

Wilson asked him whether he was feeling under pressure, to which Martin said: "No, no ... yes, I just don't like to talk about things."

Wilson turned to Coldplay's drummer, Will Champion, asking: "Have I upset him?" Champion replied: "I don't think so."

Champion continued with the interview until Martin came back into the studio to answer a final question about whether he was attempting to find new musical territory with the album. Martin answered simply: "Um, yes, yes, yes ... exactly."

It is not the first time thatMartin has shown a strong aversion to media attention, having previously scuffled with photographers in London and New York.

Famous walkouts

* The former Conservative MP John Nott walked out of an interview with the late Robin Day at a Tory party conference in October 1982, after he was called a "here-today, gone tomorrow politician". Reflecting on it years later, Nott called it a "rather silly interview".

* The Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb walked off The Clive Anderson Show in 1996 after a verbal sparring match during which Gibb remarked: "We used to be called Les Tossers" and Anderson replied: "You'll always be Les Tossers to me."

*Nicolas Sarkozy abruptly unplugged his microphone during an interview with the American television network CBS in October 2007 saying he was "very busy, very busy". Recording the programme 60 Minutes, the French President said: "I don't have time. I have a big job to do." After being persuaded to return to the set, he cut short the conversation when he was asked about his estranged wife Cécilia.

*Tom Cruise walked out of an interview with the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet Söndag, after the conversation turned to his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman. A reporter mentioned Kidman and the two children that she and Cruise adopted. "Now you've gone over the line," Cruise said, adding: "Now, unfortunately, I have to end this."

*S Club 7 walked out of a BBC 3 interview in 2003 after being asked about the discrepancy between what the group earned and what they were paid.

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


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