Soon after I came off air at CNN in April, Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane announced he was producing a new TV series featuring a washed-up British cable news anchor. The lead character, Walter Blunt, was described as ‘a borderline alcoholic, mad-genius Brit on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave’. He gets ‘besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives and children of all ages’.
Patrick Stewart signed up to play Blunt. Today, after a chance encounter in LA, we had breakfast together.
‘Piers, I do want to make it very clear that I’m not playing you...’ he declared firmly on arrival. Then he burst out laughing. Patrick, who is 74 but looks about 50, was splendidly entertaining company.
‘We have more in common than either of us would care to admit,’ he said. ‘We both come from a military family, went to state schools and trained to be journalists. (Stewart’s brother once revealed that young Patrick would skip work on the Mirfield & District Reporter to attend rehearsals, then simply invent the stories he reported – which is obviously where the parallels with me end.)
When the waiter took our order, he was specific with his instructions. ‘I’d like my toast to be properly TOASTED, please,’ he said.
‘You want toasted toast?’ replied the waiter, with a bemused face.
‘Yes. So if it still looks like hot bread, please ask the chef to put it back in the toaster until it resembles toast!’ The waiter chuckled. The toast, when it came, was perfectly toasted.
‘The two most frustrating things about living in America are the inability to find proper toast and a decent cup of tea,’ Patrick mused, a sentiment with which I completely concur.
In Star Trek, his character Captain Jean-Luc Picard was famous for slurping endless mugs of Earl Grey as he barked orders like ‘Make it so’ and ‘Engage’. But that’s not the blend he drinks in real life.
‘I drink Yorkshire Gold, produced
‘Piers, you get me!!!! Xoxo. Kim.’ Say what you like
about her, but Ms Kardashian-West has very good manners...
by Taylor’s of Harrogate. Strong and flavourful. I take it with me everywhere I go in the world and always have it first thing in the morning.’
‘ I’m a PG Tips man myself,’ I responded.
Sir Patrick grimaced in the same dismissive manner Captain Picard used to grimace when a Klingon appeared.
After breakfast, I went to pick up my car. The hotel valet guys – I lived at LA’s Beverly Wilshire for six years – normally leave my Aston Martin Rapide right outside the entrance as a brand- enhancing visage for guests to coo over. Not today. The Aston had been shunted almost out of view, displaced by a spanking new Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1. ‘Sorry, Mr Morgan,’ said the valet, ‘ but the Prince is in town.’
I spotted the number plate on the Bugatti: ‘KHALIFA’ and sighed – I’d been usurped by a leading member of one of the richest royal families in the Middle East. ‘If it’s any consolation,’ added the valet, ‘we couldn’t get his Maybach in at all – it’s out in the street.’
I now know how Arsene Wenger must feel trying to compete with Sheikh Mansour. Kim Kardashian sent me f lowers today to thank me for supporting her after the furore which erupted over those astounding Paper magazine photographs of her derriere.
Well, when I say ‘flowers’ I mean a vast florist shop’s worth of roses, encased in a 3ft by 2ft ceramic pot, crash-landed onto my doorstep. Woke to a flurry of excitement over Susan Boyle’s appearance on Lorraine, in which the Scottish beauty apparently announced that she ‘fancied’ me. I just wasn’t sure which Scottish beauty. ‘Obviously both of us fancy you!’ tweeted Lorraine when I posed the question. But a review of the tape suggested otherwise: ‘I entered Britain’s Got Talent because I fancied Piers Morgan,’ said Susan. ‘No, no, no, don’t make him any more big-headed than he already is!’ retorted Lorraine. ‘Oooh, he’s nice…’ insisted Susan. ‘Seriously, you fancy Piers Morgan?’ asked Lorraine. ‘We’re never going to fight over men…’
At which point Susan made an offer few women could resist: ‘You can have the head.’
Lorraine recoiled like she’d been harpooned. ‘Oh please… noooo.’
I think it’s fair to conclude Susan Boyle probably fancies me more than Lorraine Kelly does.