A Former Children’s TV Host Alleges Craig McLachlan Groped Her Live On Set

Former UK television star Jeanne Downs is accusing Australian actor and musician Craig McLachlan of groping her while on the set of her children’s TV show in 1990.

craig mclachlan

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Australian actor Craig McLachlan has been accused of groping a former TV host, while live on the set of a UK children’s show in 1990.

CW: sexual assault, groping

Former UK television star Jeanne Downs is accusing Australian actor and musician Craig McLachlan of groping her while on the set of her children’s TV show in 1990.

Between 1989 and 1991, Ms Downs presented a live television show every weekday on Children’s ITV — a free-to-air children’s television channel, watched by millions of kids in the UK.

In May 1990, Mr McLachlan was a guest on the show when the incident allegedly occurred.

At the time of the interview and guest appearance, Mr McLachlan was 24-year-old and was famous for his roles in Home and Away and Neighbours, and his hit single ‘Mona’. Ms Downs was just 23 but was in her “dream job”.

According to the ABC, Ms Downs said that part way through the show, when they were in mid-conversation live on air, “suddenly, Craig forced his hand right under my bottom and pushed hard into my private middle area”.

“I was wearing black leggings which were made of fairly thin material. The strong action of his hand under my bottom was very much felt intimately,” she said.

“It was only for a second or two and I almost let out a shriek, but I was on live TV and could not do or say anything — this is children’s TV and I had millions of little kids watching me.

“It was totally out of the blue and I was so shocked and stunned.”

“I turned to him, still speaking, and I feel sure I had a weird, puzzled look, being pretty stunned at what just happened. Craig didn’t flinch and just carried on as normal, as though nothing had happened.”

She then said that she felt “physically hurt as his hands and his fingers were so strong” and that she had to fight back tears to remain professional and carry on.

Ms Downs said she couldn’t wait for the interview to be over.

Footage from the actual program has resurfaced to accompany Ms Downs accusation. It captures McLachlan and Downs seated extremely close to each other — apparently to fit in the frame — and McLachlan’s arm and hand appear to be behind Downs’ body.

Downs says she decided to share her experience publicly after McLachlan’s recent “tell-all” interview on Channel 7.

The Channel 7 interview that aired in May earlier this year, faced huge backlash for giving the actor a platform after fresh allegations against the actor surfaced.

McLachlan, famous for his roles in Australian soap operas and The Rocky Horror Show, has been accused of multiple sexual assault charges over the years, that have now been ruled out.

In December 2020, McLachlan was found not guilty of seven indecent assault charges and six common assault charges, that involved allegations from when he was performing in the Rocky Horror Show theatre production in 2014.

Magistrate Wallington, who was leading McLachlan’s trial, said she accepted some of the complainants’ evidence, but they did not meet the high criminal standards required to prove the charges.

The 55-year-old actor claims Downes’ recent accusation as “false, uncorroborated and never the subject of a complaint”.

McLachlan is now suing the ABC, Fairfax, and an actress for defamation because of 2018 reports that he assaulted, harassed, and bullied his fellow cast members.

He also had to recently cancel his first concert tour since being acquitted, ‘Nobody Lonesome For Me’, due to COVID-19.