PIERS MOR­GAN

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - RADIO WEEK -

Ed Sheeran, who is cur­rently lead­ing an in­va­sion of the Amer­i­can charts along with One Di­rec­tion, is now tour­ing with Tay­lor Swift, prompt­ing spec­u­la­tion that he may have dis­placed Harry Styles in the tem­pes­tu­ous young singer’s af­fec­tions. But he was hav­ing ab­so­lutely none of it when I in­ter­viewed him to­day. ‘Not true! I think you can be friends with some­one with­out hav­ing to sleep with them,’ he pro­claimed. ‘I’ve got mo­rals!’

‘You wouldn’t want to be stranded with her on a desert is­land, then,’ I asked him. He smirked. ‘No. Ac­tu­ally, you know who I would like to be stranded with? Jen­nifer Lawrence. She’s got a great sense of hu­mour. We’d have fun on an is­land.’

As for his mo­rals, Sheeran prac­tises what he preaches. ‘I re­mem­ber when I was quite young, see­ing one dude rack­ing up lines of co­caine on a fam­ily pho­to­graph — it put me off drugs com­pletely.’

‘ How did you feel about what hap­pened to Amy Wine­house? I wrote about her a year be­fore she died, say­ing, “For God’s sake, Amy, do some­thing. You’re wast­ing a mag­nif­i­cent tal­ent.”’‘I think it’s sad there weren’t more peo­ple telling her that. But to be hon­est, is she nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to lis­ten to you? I lis­ten to the peo­ple who are clos­est to me, or peo­ple like El­ton John. Get­ting ad­vice from him is the best op­tion be­cause he’s done ev­ery­thing, good and bad — and 10 times the amount that nor­mal peo­ple have done. He’s sold 10 times more records, and done 10 times more bad things. And he loves mu­sic. So I lis­ten to him.’ Sen­si­ble lad. Amer­ica’s great­est movie critic, Roger Ebert, who died to­day, once said: ‘Never marry some­one who doesn’t love the movies you love. Sooner or later, that per­son will not love you.’

I knew my wife, Celia, was the one for me when she de­clared she couldn’t watch hor­ror, sci­ence-fic­tion, ‘goofy’, or fan­tasy films. True love is know­ing that life’s sim­ply too short for Chucky, Trans­form­ers, Brides­maids or The Lord Of The Rings. Mar­garet Thatcher came to power in 1979 when I was 14. She was the first per­son (and to date, the only Tory leader) I ever voted for. That was in 1983 — I was in­spired by her ex­tra­or­di­nary courage over the Falk­lands war.

As a highly opin­ion­ated — I know, hard to be­lieve — po­lit­i­cally stri­dent stu­dent in Lewes, Sus­sex, I wrote to her af­ter win­ning a glo­ri­ous vic­tory in a col­lege de­bate on nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment against some CND sup­port­ers. Thatcher replied, con­grat­u­lat­ing me on my win, and send­ing a signed pho­to­graph.

I wasn’t a fan of her piti­less treat­ment of the min­ers, her be­trayal of the Hills­bor­ough vic­tims and their fam­i­lies — or the re­pul­sive poll tax. But she in­her­ited a Bri­tain in de­cay, turned it into a na­tion of en­trepreneurs and house-buy­ers, smashed the unions’ stran­gle­hold on many in­dus­tries and gave the coun­try great stature on the world stage — not least here in the US, where peo­ple still re­vere the Iron Lady.

I first met Thatcher at a party in Lon­don thrown Next week’s Whi te House Cor­re­spon­dents’ Din­ner is the most star- stud­ded event in Amer­ica’s po­lit­i­cal cal­en­dar, and tra­di­tion dic­tates that all news an­chors take a celebrity guest. Last year, I es­corted the fab­u­lous Goldie Hawn, and wasn’t sure how to top it.

Then I no­ticed that Ger­ard But­ler had shot to No. 1 at the box of­fice, play­ing the role of a heroic se­cret ser­vice agent who saves the White House from North Korean ter­ror­ists in Olym­pus Has Fallen.

I called him up. ‘Fancy be­ing my man-date?’

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