Prisoner icon Maggie Kirkpatrick has sensationally accused legendary Aussie performer Bert Newton of ‘inappropriate' interactions with her, in allegations that that are causing ripples through the Aussie entertainment industry.
The claims, contained in Maggie’s new book, The Gloves are Off, relate to the pair’s shared three-year run in the hit stage musical Wicked. Describing her unhappiness about working with Bert on the show, Maggie went on to complain of what she describes as ‘inappropriate' behaviour offstage.
WATCH: Maggie Kirkpatrick accuses Bert Newton
‘Sadly, for three years, I found Bert’s attitude to me offstage quite inappropriate, thus making working with him uncomfortable to say the least,’ she says in the book, without going into detail about what that alleged behaviour entailed.
She then went on to reference an onstage incident at Adelaide’s Festival Theatre that she felt went over the line.
‘In front of a family audience of some 2000, he chose to joke about “having” me. A very feeble attempt at humour that fell very flat.
‘That was done and I have not spoken to him since.’
Celebrity journalist Peter Ford, who describes himself as a friend of both stars, told The Morning Show that in the age of the Me Too movement, Maggie’s choice to describe her offstage interactions with Bert as ‘inappropriate’ could lead people to assume something ‘physical’ or ‘sexual’ happened, which he does not believe to be the case.
Ford criticised Maggie for not going into greater detail, potentially leading her readers to speculate. He further quoted a source who worked on the production as saying that Maggie ‘loathed’ Bert so much, she would allegedly not look him in the eye onstage.
Bert is said to have declined to give Ford an on-the-record comment about the incident, but apparently told the reporter he ‘knew I’d get a serve’ when he heard Maggie was writing her memoirs.
Maggie - famous for her role as Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson on Prisoner – recently spoke to A Current Affair about her hell after being falsely accused of sexual abuse by a former teen fan.
‘To be confronted with such a phone call, and such an accusation,’ she said of the moment when she learned she was facing allegations of sexual assault on New Year's Eve in 2013.
‘Well, the bottom just fell out of my world,’ Maggie said, explaining that she had met the then-14-year-old girl in 1985 on a visit to a psychiatric facility.
The Prisoner star invited the teen to her home for a meal, a fact which Maggie said ‘would never be allowed now’ for a person of her profile.
‘The person was in a facility at the time, and I had on many occasions visited fans in Sydney.’
Upon realising the girl had perused through the alcohol in her dining room cabinet, Maggie sent her back home in a taxi.
When she received the call years later, Maggie said she ‘complied’ with what was asked of her and expected that to be the end of it.
However, she sadly became wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in August 2015. Maggie was cleared on appeal of all charges.
‘It was my worst nightmare,’ Maggie told A Current Affair.
‘That's all I can say.’