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Insight into 'disturbing' Michael Jackson

Jackson received worldwide condemnation for this Berlin incident
Jackson received worldwide condemnation for this Berlin incident

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Singer Michael Jackson dangles a baby over a balcony at his hotel in Berlin, Germany, as fans below call out to him (November 19)
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LONDON, England -- A reporter who spent eight months tracking pop superstar Michael Jackson said he was a "charming ... but disturbing" man.

Martin Bashir, whose previous interviews include an exclusive with Diana, Princess of Wales, witnessed Jackson spend 3.6 million ($6 million) during a day's shopping trip while part of his entourage.

The reporter was also present when the eccentric popstar, known as "Wacko Jacko" in the British tabloid press, dangled his 11-month-old baby Prince Michael II over a Berlin hotel balcony.

"In many ways he is charming. In others he is a disturbing individual whose financial power enables him to do what he wants when he wants," Bashir says in the programme, to be shown on British television on Monday. ABC will broadcast the material in the United States later in February.

The journalist says in the 90-minute show "Living With Michael Jackson" that there is little restraining influence over the superstar.

In the Berlin incident, which received worldwide condemnation, and for which Jackson later apologised, Bashir says: "Not one of his entourage was prepared to tell him it was ludicrous and dangerous."

Jackson's expenditure is tacky and extravagant, Bashir observes.

The popstar spent $6 million in Las Vegas on "everything from 10-foot-tall glass urns to oversized marble chess sets," Bashir told The (London) Sunday Times newspaper, adding: "He's already got three of these."

Bashir was granted "unprecedented and exclusive access" access to Jackson for "The Tonight Special," to be broadcast on Britain's ITV1.

He talks to the star in a series of interviews and goes behind the scenes at Jackson's Neverland ranch in California, which has its own fairground and zoo.

Granada, the TV company which made the documentary, is reported to have sold the programme worldwide, including a 3.5 million deal with ABC, as well as Australian and New Zealand channels.

Granada was unavailable for comment on Monday.

The British broadsheet newspaper, The Guardian, said Jackson becomes uncomfortable when asked about the allegations that he has had extensive plastic surgery, and accusations that he had improper relations with an underage boy.

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