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Emma Willis' take on the Roxanne Pallett interview is indicative of her prowess as a broadcaster

‘I was shocked at what unfolded.’

WHETHER OR NOT you watched the most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother, you will undoubtedly be familiar with an incident which played out between Roxanne Pallett and Ryan Thomas during their time in the reality television house.

PastedImage-65734 Source: PA Images

Former Emmerdale actress, Roxanne, accused fellow soap star, Ryan, of assaulting her, claiming he ‘punched her like a boxer would punch a bag’.

Thankfully for Ryan, footage of the incident confirmed that Roxanne’s allegations were wholly false, and she duly left the house when she realised that her housemates and the viewing public had been made aware of this.

With anger and indignation at an all-time high among members of the public, Celebrity Big Brother host, Emma Willis, was tasked with interviewing Roxanne in the days following her departure from the show – a moment she reflected on this week.

Celebrity Big Brother Source: PA Wire/PA Images

While it could be suggested that Emma had every right to openly vilify Roxanne, it’s important to remember that as Roxanne had reportedly been a victim of domestic abuse in the past – something which may have coloured her perception of events – Emma needed to take this into account when seeking answers off the now disgraced actress.

While Roxanne acknowledged the gravity of the situation and admitted that she misrepresented the incident entirely, she did appear self-pitying at points; something some broadcasters may have felt compelled to facilitate in that moment.

Emma, however, triumphed where so many broadcasters fail.

In fact, Emma did what so many interviewers seem incapable of on these occasions; she channelled the viewer, she asked the questions the viewers wanted asked, and she resisted the urge to comfort her subject at emotionally-charged points in the exchange.

With the actress appearing vulnerable in her demeanour, Emma had to walk a fine line, and ultimately played a key role in what will almost certainly go down as one of the most memorable interviews in Celebrity Big Brother history.

PastedImage-47228 Source: YouTube

Emma’s interview technique, which was motivated by a desire to facilitate an admission of guilt from Roxanne coupled with a refusal to allow her to indulge in self-pity, saw audiences subsequently elevate the 42-year-old broadcaster from the realm of reality TV to the political broadcast arena.

While Emma has no intention of taking that path, she said the success of the interview came down to her investment in the subject.

Speaking to You Magazine this week, she said: “The interview with Roxanne went well because I know my subject matter inside out.”

I was shocked at what unfolded – it was almost like a plot from a soap opera. Thank God there were cameras, because it could have ruined Ryan, such was the gravity of the situation.

While Emma is aware she has been lauded in the aftermath of that now infamous interview, she says to have approached the exchange in any way other than she did would have been detrimental.

To me I was just having a conversation about something that was really serious. Sometimes we do have light, fluffy chats about people in the Big Brother house and then sometimes really serious shit happens in there and you’ve got to be able to ask the questions everybody is thinking.

It has been confirmed that the most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother will be its last.

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Niamh McClelland

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