The Paul Henry saga continues as Greg Bruce reveals more of what went down during his controversial Canvas interview in which the TV star referenced a woman's "perfect titties".

On his show, just minutes before the interview in which he made the comments about a woman's "titties", which blew up into national news, Paul Henry used the word "wanky".

"Can we say 'wanky?'" he asked on air, immediately after using it.

"No," said his producer, in his earpiece.


"No, we can't, apparently," he said, and moved calmly, non-provocatively, on.

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I remember sitting there in his studio's control room, waiting to interview him, wondering, in the light of the many far worse things he had said on air, why he was worried about "wanky".

I wondered if he had adapted himself, become more conservative, learned from his mistakes. I wondered if I was about to talk to a milder, more restrained Paul Henry.

Since the subsequent interview was published, some people have said that he sounded sad, melancholy, even depressed.

Paul Henry's foul mouth got away on him on multiple occasions. Photo / Michael Craig.
Paul Henry's foul mouth got away on him on multiple occasions. Photo / Michael Craig.

It's hard to judge the mental state of someone you've never met before, who you know only through his mediated public self, on the basis of a few hours together. Nevertheless, here we are.

He did sound tired: tired of getting up at "shit o'clock", as he called it but, more particularly, tired of caring so deeply about every little thing on his show - the chairs, the microphones, the lighting, the way things move on the little screen behind him - when he felt that others didn't.

"It's colours, it's shading, it's a particular light that hasn't been in set right and I'm just wondering if anyone actually gives a shit," he said.

He never sounded sad - at least not in the way that regular people sound sad. He often sounded angry and he sometimes sounded thoughtful. He brooded on the nature of existence. Mostly, though, he sounded like Paul Henry from TV, but with more swearing.

I have wondered about his level of self-awareness during our interview. Apart from the comments about "titties", he referred to people he didn't know and had never met as "morons" and "c***s". He criticised his employer's "shitty building" and referred to the company as being "on the bones of its arse". He belittled breakfast television as a medium, at least as compared to the movie work of Forest Whitaker.

That Paul Henry interview just keeps unearthing more about the TV star. Photo / Michael Craig.
That Paul Henry interview just keeps unearthing more about the TV star. Photo / Michael Craig.

Had he already decided to leave TV3 and was he trying to go out in a blaze of publicity? Those are separate questions and I don't know the answer to the first one, but I'm pretty sure the answer to the second is no.

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He had tried to end the interview long before he made the comments about titties, and he had whiningly referred to the interview's length on more than one occasion. "This interminably long interview" he said at one stage. And later: "How much time have I given to this f*****g interview?"

But at the same time, he loved it, loved being listened to for all that time.

If you spend enough time listening to Paul Henry, it's a safe bet you will hear something outrageous. I don't think he thought he was saying anything particularly newsworthy during our time together and I'd guess he still doesn't.

"I just don't have the energy to have a fake persona," he told me during that interminably long interview. "It's just easier not to."