Chris Tarrant opens up on John Cleese’s Dinosaur Hour on his phone hacking horror

Chris Tarrant opens up on John Cleese’s Dinosaur Hour on his phone hacking horror

Chris Tarrant speaks to John Cleese

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 29/10/2023

- 21:45

The Who Wants to be a Millionaire star struggled to trust loved ones

Presenter Chris Tarrant has opened up on the traumatic experience of having his phone hacked.

The Who Wants to be a Millionaire star spoke on John Cleese’s Dinosaur Hour about the matter which saw him take legal action in 2010.

Tarrant was one of many public figures to have been targeted by the News International phone hacking scandal involving the now-defunct News of the World.

Employees of the newspaper engaged in phone hacking, with Tarrant speaking out on companies looking to “find dirt” on him when the ITV hit show was at its most popular.

Chris Tarrant and John Clee

Chris Tarrant revealed he questioned his loved ones during a phone hacking scandal


“When the show started, it was just colossal, it was the number one”, he said.

“When you were talking on the phone, you sort of think there’s somebody else listening. I just thought it was a rubbish phone I was using.


“Then when I split from my wife, it just became open season and they [paparazzi] were everywhere. They were trying to get at my children, they were trying to talk to my ex-wife.

“It was only later I began to realise that this hacking was taking place on my phone. I heard of it, I thought it was just something that happened in Hollywood.”

Tarrant then told Cleese that it was the police who alerted him to potential hacking, with his information coming up on a list of names compiled by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Mulcaire was found guilty in January 2007 of illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House, with renewed controversy of the scandal in 2011 resulting in the closure of his publication, the News of the World.

Chris Tarrant

Chris Tarrant spoke to John Cleese on GB News


The Met Police had identified thousands of potential victims, with Tarrant’s name being among them.

“The police came to me actually”, Tarrant said on the matter.

“There was a gentleman called Glenn Mulcaire from the News of the World, and on his blotter there was numbers of all sorts.

“He had my mobile number, my home number, and he was found guilty of hacking all sorts of people.”

Tarrant opened up on struggling to trust his loved ones during the acrimonious period, even suggesting his driver, who he has known for 25 years and classes as one of his closest friends, had disclosed private information.

“There was one particular night when I took a lady out, I met her for a drink, we went for dinner and there was photographers everywhere we went.

“This carried on through the night and through the next morning when I took her to work and so on.

“I said to Jim [Tarrant’s driver], ‘I can’t understand this, how do they know so much detail about where I was going?

“Jim turned to me, great big lump, with tears in his eyes and said ‘you’ve got to think it’s me’.

“I said ‘I love you mate, but I do think it was you, it’s nobody else, no other explanation’. Our relationship was pretty grim for quite a long time.

“It’s a guy I love, I trusted this guy literally with everything and he knew so much about me.”

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