The ir­re­press­ible Os­bournes

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS -


As some­one who, thanks to my ITV in­ter­views and travel shows, has reg­u­larly been called ‘the poor man’s Alan Whicker’, I was very sad to hear that the great man died to­day. Whicker was a su­perb broad­caster, a won­der­ful char­ac­ter, and a per­sonal role model when it came to the art of in­ter­view­ing.

‘You can ask the rudest, most per­sonal ques­tions as long as you smile and don’t pa­tro­n­ise your sub­ject,’ he once said. A the­ory that I’ve tried very hard to prove over the years. He also showed that some­times the most pow­er­ful weapon in an in­ter­viewer’s ar­moury is si­lence.

Whicker’s raised bushy eye­brow was of­ten far more damn­ing than any words could pos­si­bly be. Asked what he thought of am­bi­tious wannabe Whick­ers seek­ing to em­u­late his ex­tra­or­di­nary ca­reer, he chuck­led: ‘I’m sure they will all be bet­ter than I was.’ He was wrong.


A mur­der trial that has gripped Amer­ica came to a shock­ing con­clu­sion tonight.

Ge­orge Zim­mer­man, a neigh­bour­hood watch pa­trol­man in Florida, was cleared of un­law­fully killing an un­armed young black teenager called Trayvon Martin.

The jury, all fe­male and 90 per cent white, con­cluded that Zim­mer­man had been act­ing in self- de­fence when he pulled out his gun and shot the boy dead af­ter they got into a fight.

But the fight would never have oc­curred if Zim­mer­man hadn’t pro­filed him as po­ten­tial trou­ble – a tape of his call to po­lice caught him say­ing ‘f***ing punks . . . th­ese a**holes, they al­ways get away’ af­ter he got out of his car to fol­low Trayvon. The re­al­ity is that Trayvon, 17, was sim­ply walk­ing home to his fam­ily af­ter buy­ing a bag of skit­tles and a can of soda from a lo­cal store.

If Zim­mer­man had just left him alone, or in­stantly iden­ti­fied him­self as a neigh­bour­hood watch of­fi­cial, then the young man would still be alive.

In­stead, he pulled out a con­cealed gun dur­ing the strug­gle, and killed him. And now he’s walked free, with no pun­ish­ment what­so­ever — a con­clu­sion that has sparked race protests all over Amer­ica. I’ve no idea if Zim­mer­man’s a racist. But I do know that his

‘This is f***ing bor­ing,’ Kelly an­nounced. Ozzy was mor­ti­fied. ‘No one’s ever called me bor­ing be­fore!’

con­sti­tu­tional ‘right to have a gun’ led to Trayvon Martin’s death.

I have three teenage sons. If one of them was shot in th­ese cir­cum­stances, I’d find it im­pos­si­ble to un­der­stand how it could pos­si­bly be deemed ‘law­ful’ to do so. In fact, I’d find it ut­terly, un­for­giv­ably dis­gust­ing.


Talk­ing of my sons, they’re all huge fans of TV ad­ven­ture sur­vival­ist Bear Grylls, believ­ing him to rep­re­sent ev­ery qual­ity of heroic courage, supreme phys­i­cal fit­ness, and in­stinc­tive prac­ti­cal­ity lack­ing in their fa­ther. To ex­em­plify this, my mid­dle boy, Stan­ley, 16, said on Twit­ter: ‘To see my fa­ther tweet­ing Bear Grylls is pos­si­bly the great­est thing I have ever seen.’ Adding, for good mea­sure, two wound­ing hash-tags that he’s cer­tainly never tweeted about me: #hero #watchede­v­eryepisode.

By co­in­ci­dence, Bear also has three sons. ‘ I’m def­i­nitely not a hero to my boys,’ he laughed, when I pointed out Stan­ley’s comment, ‘just a man who creaks and has bad wind!’


My best wishes to Kelly Os­bourne, who has got en­gaged to her boyfriend, Matthew Mosshart.

Ms Os­bourne, like her mother, is small and danger­ous but shares Sharon’s slightly in­sane, very funny sense of hu­mour. I’ll never for­get a din­ner I had with the Os­bourne clan dur­ing an Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent au­di­tion trip to Mi­ami. Kelly was with her then boyfriend Luke Wor­rall — a weird crea­ture who ended up cheat­ing on her with a trans­sex­ual who had un­der­gone gen­der-re­as­sign­ment surgery. She grew steadily testy as Sharon, Ozzy, and I swapped what she mock­ingly called ‘old per­son sto­ries’.

Even­tu­ally, Kelly sprang to her feet, an­nounced, ‘This is f***ing bor­ing,’ and dragged a be­wil­dered Luke out of the restau­rant. Ozzy was mor­ti­fied. ‘Bor­ing? No­body’s ever called me f***ing bor­ing be­fore!’ Sec­onds later, there was a loud bang on the win­dow next to our ta­ble. We turned to see Kelly and Luke, bare-bot­tomed, ‘moon­ing’ against the glass. ‘That’s dis­gust­ing!’ cried Sharon, a woman who once woke me on a plane by dan­gling her naked breasts in my face. ‘Ter­ri­ble!’ agreed Ozzy, who has spent 50 years strip­ping, snort­ing, and eat­ing bats. ‘Shock­ing!’ I con­curred. Then the three of us burst out laugh­ing at the al­most over­whelm­ing irony of the sit­u­a­tion.


My of­fi­cial Twit­ter photo is cur­rently a pic­ture of me and Snoop Lion, or Dogg as he used to be known. I chose it both to en­hance my cred­i­bil­ity and make a point about gun con­trol: Snoop re­nounced vi­o­lence af­ter an ear­lier life of gang crime. The man him­self, was sur­pris­ingly pleased. ‘I can’t be­lieve you se­lected me for your Twit­ter pic­ture! That’s a great hon­our, man.’

I al­most burst with pride at my own sud­den cool­ness. To­day, Ricky Ger­vais posted a YouTube clip of his char­ac­ter David Brent, per­form­ing a toe- curl­ing rap song called Aint No Trou­ble with Brent’s pro­tégé Dom John­son. It’s as spec­tac­u­larly in­ap­pro­pri­ate as it sounds, with Brent ef­fec­tively us­ing a black rap­per to make a hideously clumsy re­verse racism state­ment.

‘This,’ Ger­vais in­formed me, ‘is your Twit­ter back­ground photo brought to life.’ Crush­ing.

Be­low: The out­spo­ken, ‘small and danger­ous’ Kelly Os­bourne

with Piers

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