Australian Story’s “A Very Good Rascal” | Doc Neeson
Posted on 24 Apr 2014
Monday April 28th, 8pm on ABC1
Legendary Angels frontman Doc Neeson has allowed Australian Story’s cameras to follow him over the last 12 months as he battles a brain tumour.
As well as following Neeson’s medical journey over the last year, the program looks at the history and legacy of the hard rocking Angels band through the eyes of its original manager, John Woodruff and the producer of its most successful records, Mark Opitz.
Throughout all of this, Doc Neeson speaks frankly about alcohol, depression and divorce, and the bitter split with his former bandmates.
The result will be shown on Australian Story’s “A Very Good Rascal” program airing on Monday, 28th April.
The title came from a comment by Governor General Peter Cosgrove, who described Neeson in an interview as “a rascal – but a very good rascal.”
Doc Neeson was at a family Christmas dinner in 2012 when he began feeling unwell and was taken by ambulance to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.
After having a seizure at the hospital, he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.
“My registrar said there was a Bernard Neeson on the ward with a high grade brain tumour, and I immediately said, “not Doc Neeson?” recalls oncologist Dr Michael Back.
“I said what does he do for a job? And she says, ‘oh he’s an entertainer,’ and I said, ah it must be.”
The tumour was surgically removed and Neeson began an intensive program of radio and chemotherapy.
“It was a shock of course because when somebody says you’ve got a year to 18 months to live, that’s putting a ‘use by’ date on me,” Neeson told Australian Story.
The program was with Neeson when he was awarded an Order of Australia for his services to music, 5 months after the operation.
After presenting the award, NSW Governor Marie Bashir revealed she was a fan of the singer, who had a string of hits with The Angels from the 1970s through to the 1990s.
The cameras were also rolling backstage at the “Rock for Doc” concert, a fundraiser which featured performances and interviews with Doc Neeson’s friends Jimmy Barnes, Peter Garrett, Angry Anderson and David Haselhoff.