PIERS MOR­GAN

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - SOAP WATCH -

I re­ceived an hon­our in Los An­ge­les tonight for my gun-con­trol cam­paign­ing on CNN. It came from the Brady Cam­paign, an or­gan­i­sa­tion set up by Jim Brady, Ron­ald Rea­gan’s press sec­re­tary when the Pres­i­dent was nearly as­sas­si­nated in 1981. He was shot him­self, and left paral­ysed. Ever since, he and his wife Sarah have worked tire­lessly to im­prove gun safety in Amer­ica.

The event was held over a lav­ish din­ner at the Bev­erly Hills Ho­tel, and I in­vited Gary Lineker and his wife, Danielle, along as last-minute guests af­ter hear­ing they were in town. My co-hon­ouree was one of Hol­ly­wood’s top di­vorce lawyers, and a for­mer client, Ste­vie Won­der, pre­sented her award. ‘Our gun laws are so stupid, I could buy a gun,’ Ste­vie said, ‘Imag­ine ME with a gun!?’

He then sang Love Is In Need Of Love To­day, which brought the house down. ‘Try fol­low­ing that, Piers!’ said the Brady Cam­paign spokesman, be­fore read­ing out my own ci­ta­tion, in­clud­ing the line: ‘Piers has shown him­self to be a brave, fear­less, in­spir­ing cam­paigner.’ Lineker nearly choked on his chicken. ‘Th­ese peo­ple ob­vi­ously don’t know you very well, do they?’ he whis­pered.

I walked up to re­ceive my award and said: ‘I al­ways knew the day would come when Ste­vie Won­der would be my warm-up man.’ I looked down, and the great man was in fits of laugh­ter. Then, af­ter launch­ing a ver­bal as­sault on the pro-gun lob­by­ists, I was given a stand­ing ova­tion, forc­ing Lineker to get to his feet and join in.

He looked like one of those North Korean soldiers forced to clap ec­stat­i­cally when their Leader, Kim Jong Un, ap­pears, or risk ex­e­cu­tion.

‘Will Smith chal­lenged me to dis­play a sin­gle tal­ent that deemed me suit­able to be a tal­ent-show judge’

cam­paigned vo­cif­er­ously against his de­ci­sion to pull United out of the FA Cup in 1999 to play in a daft new tour­na­ment called the World Club Cham­pi­onships. Furious at our re­lent­less at­tacks, he pulled my sports edi­tor aside at a func­tion and screamed: ‘Tell Mor­gan to **** off back to High­bury (Arse­nal’s sta­dium at the time) and stag­nate.’ But 10 years later, he ad­mit­ted: ‘I re­gret­ted pulling out of the FA Cup. It turned out to be a disas­ter for us.’

Our re­la­tion­ship didn’t im­prove when he got off a speed­ing charge, af­ter suc­cess­fully plead­ing that he’d been suf­fer­ing from acute di­ar­rhoea and was thus rac­ing to find a toi­let. I sent him a box of Imod­ium, with a note say­ing: ‘We Goon­ers al­ways knew you were full of c**p, now we’ve got the proof.’ Cue the mother of all hairdry­ers.

De­spite all this, and now that he’s gone, I can fi­nally ad­mit that he’s the great­est football man­ager the world has ever seen. I first in­ter­viewed Jada Pin­kett Smith two years ago, and her hus­band, Will, came along to give her moral sup­port. It’s quite un­nerv­ing try­ing to grill some­one when their Men In Black star hus­band is sit­ting a few feet away, an au­di­ence of one, glow­er­ing and is­su­ing veiled threats like: ‘Don’t up­set my wife, Mr Mor­gan … you wouldn’t like me when I’m an­gry.’ Af­ter­wards, Will chal­lenged me to dis­play a sin­gle tal­ent that When David Cameron be­came Bri­tain’s prime min­is­ter, he flew soon af­ter to see Pres­i­dent Obama in Wash­ing­ton, to gen­eral ap­a­thy here in the States. A cheeky US TV show even hit the streets with pho­tos of him to see if any­one recog­nised him. Most failed the test. And of those that thought they did, the vast ma­jor­ity said my name. To, I sus­pect, our mu­tual dis­may.

To­day, Cameron was back at the White House — and an even greater ig­nominy be­fell me. My 18-month- old daugh­ter Elise looked at his face on our large TV screen, and ex­claimed: ‘DA-DA!’ Twice.

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