Travel: Passport - Roger Cook: 'I think I passed my brain going the other way'

HE'S THE man on TV notorious for his toe-in-the-door and camera- whacking style of investigative journalism. His recording equipment, disguised as a bread tin, has been brought out of semi-retirement to film some Cook Report specials.

Roger Cook was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. His Antipodean roots go a long way towards explaining that fearless style of crook-busting - a popular genre of TV back home. He left Australia after training with the ABC, the Australian version of the Beeb, and in 1968 joined the exodus of young journalists coming to England for jobs.

"We worked hard and didn't mind what we did. If you came from the training background that I did, in some of the more remote radio stations your job could include everything, including climbing the mast and turning it on in the mornings."

In 1985 he started filming the Cook Report for Central Television. "Once, while filming seven programmes for a new series, I flew for a total of 320 hours." This manic travelling included a day trip to Australia to interview the Attorney General of New South Wales.

"I was on the ground for less than eight hours; I think I passed my brain going the other way at some stage. That is one of the reasons why I am not doing the series anymore - so I can relax and spend more time with my family."

Roger has plenty of horror stories about flying. "Once I was flying between islands in Indonesia on a regional airline and we hit some heavy turbulence. Some of the passengers were on their way to market and their animal-laden crates were upset. Suddenly the cockpit was filled with feathers and chicken shit. Those who had never flown before had to be forcibly restrained from lighting stoves in the aisles to cook their dinner."

Surely you'd expect first-class seats for a top television reporter? "That does happen more these days, but back then we were putting all the money into making the films. In the end it became a false economy because you'd get off the plane completely knackered."

Travelling doesn't have a great deal of charm for him now because he'd rather do it at his own pace. "I used to get home after a long series and the family would say 'Okay Dad, where are we flying now for our holiday?'. And that was the last thing I wanted to do, I wanted to stay home.

"I've got two passports, Australian and British, which is useful. God bless the 64-page passport, as it's probably easier to write a list of the places that I haven't been to."

The only time he has been back to Australia was on that day trip. "I had a virgin Australian passport and the guy at immigration said: 'Have you never been back to Australia?' I said no and he shouted at the top of his voice across the crowded customs hall: 'This silly **** was born in Godzone and has never been back.' They couldn't believe it."

It is a long time to be away, which may explain his almost undetectable "strine" accent. "You know what Australians are like, they are always travelling. Half of them seem to live here - in my sitting-room!" It must be a pleasant change for Roger to have others turn up on his doorstep.

DIANA PEPPER

'A Cook Report Special: The Antiques Rogue Show', 8pm, 19 August, ITV.

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
The reindeer pen at the attraction
lifeLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen's 'Magical Journey' and other winter blunderlands
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Group Financial Controller

    £50000 - £55000 per annum: Investigo: A growing group of top end restaurants l...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Day In a Page

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'