Actor Johnny Depp has slammed reports he based his eccentric character WILLY WONKA on troubled singer MICHAEL JACKSON - insisting the colourful role was based on a selection of children's TV show presenters.

Depp says Jackson, who was acquitted of child molestation charges last month (JUN05), would be the wrong person to base the CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY character on, because the THRILLER star loves kids, while Wonka dislikes them.

He says, "It never entered my mind, Michael Jackson loves children but Willy Wonka doesn't."

The true inspirations were TV hosts CAPTAIN KANGAROO, MR ROGERS and Uncle AL, who mesmerised Depp as a child.

He adds, "There were memories I have as a little kid watching children's shows and children show hosts. I distinctly remember thinking their speech pattern was strange."

18/07/2005 02:05