PIERS MORGA DELICIOUSLY INDISCREET
MY LIFE AND OTHER CELEBRITIES
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12
I’ve been booked to appear on next week’s Question Time, so tuned in tonight to see if host David Dimbleby tried anything tricksy when he announced my forthcoming appearance.
‘Next week…’ he said, ‘Our panel will include the broadcaster Piers Morgan.’
Dimbleby then deliberately paused and pursed his lips like he’d sucked a particularly sharp lemon, which of course encouraged the audience to fill the air with pantomime villain boos. ‘I didn’t ask for that!’ he smirked, delightedly, knowing that’s exactly what he was asking for.
MONDAY, JANUARY 16
The most credible compliments are always those wrenched from long-time critics.
‘Piers Morgan’s an oaf, a tool, a buffoon, an out-of-control trunk bucket, a human wrecking ball, a walnut-brained egomaniac, the punchline to a brilliant joke he’ll never get,’ wrote The Sun’s TV pundit Ally Ross today. ‘He’s a smirk jerk, clam jam, and a yawning great t**topotomus with a surprisingly small mouth but enormous balding head.’
Then it came: ‘Piers is also – and I say this through heavily gritted teeth – one of the best things to ever happen to Britain’s breakfast television.’
This is what we call in the newspaper trade a ‘dropped intro’.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17
In my predictions for 2017, I declared: ‘On the 50th anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant, Lord Sugar announces he has applied to have one. The application’s rejected because doctors find no evidence of any existing heart in his body.’ Today, it emerged Sugar’s just had emergency heart surgery to fix a narrowed artery with the insertion of a stent. The old growler’s tried all manner of ruses to prove my predictions wrong over the years, but this is ridiculous.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 19
To Question Time in Peterborough.
‘You chucked me under a massive bus last week!’ I remonstrated as David Dimbleby arrived in the green room.
‘I most certainly did not,’ he retorted. ‘I just let the words “Piers Morgan” hang in the air and the audience reacted accordingly…’
The panel, which this week included the Britain’s shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry and the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, is always given a dummy question to warm everyone up before the real pro- gramme starts. I was mindful of the advice Roy Hattersley once gave me: ‘Make them laugh during the fake question and they’ll be on your side the whole programme.’
Tonight it was whether cannabis should be legalised.
‘Ever had a spliff, David?’ I asked the host, as the audience roared.
‘No!’ he exclaimed indignantly, and somewhat implausibly as he once campaigned in the Sixties to decriminalise the drug.
‘Not even a cheeky one where you didn’t inhale?’ ‘NO!’ It was a fun, feisty show notable for the fact I never once got booed, even when I defended Donald Trump.
In fact, highly unusually, I got loudly applauded for virtually everything I said.
At the post-show dinner, we discussed the fact this was my 21st appearance.
‘Do I get a carriage clock or something, David?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘We save those for our longest-running guests.’ ‘I can’t be far off, surely?’ A producer pulled out a chart that revealed I’m now the 31st most regular living panellist, a list led by Shirley Williams (56 times) and Ken Clarke (55). But, crucially, I’m the third most regular non-politician living panellist after Melanie Phillips (25) and Peter Hitchens (23).
‘We actually had one suggested question from an audience member tonight asking if you were going to replace me as host,’ said Dimbleby. ‘I said it was pointless debating it because there was no way you’d take such a massive pay cut…’
‘Have you really never had a spliff?’ I asked. ‘I don’t recognise the term,’ he replied. Then he broke into a giant grin: ‘In my day they were called joints.’
I sat next to Emily and teased her about Labour’s beleaguered leader, Calamity Corbyn. ‘The way your party membership’s now set up, he could be there for another 1,000 years. You guys might be doomed to a millennium of failure.’
‘I have one word for you, Piers,’ she smiled, as the table fell silent. ‘B ******* !’
At 10.30pm, everyone suddenly left. ‘There’s a problem with the trains,’ explained a QT assistant. All eyes turned to Grayling. ‘He’s going by car…’ explained his special adviser.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20
Last summer, Jennifer Aniston wrote a blog moaning about how awful it is that everyone objectifies her body all the time, and how harmful this is to women generally.
I responded by pointing out this was a bit rich given the vast number of heavily airbrushed, semi-naked magazine covers Ms Aniston has posed for over the years.
‘The least stars like Jennifer can do in return for the massive financial and career boost these fake covers bring them,’ I wrote, ‘is to stop pretending it’s all everyone else’s fault that impressionable young girls struggle with their own beauty and body images.’
Now, in an interview for Variety, she says she was happy the furore made ‘a little bit’ of difference. ‘It’s definitely in people’s consciousness a lot more,’ she opined. Then she added: ‘But you’re always going to have the Piers Morgans of the world contradicting something that comes from the heart and saying, “You’re a hypocrite.’” Well, yes, Jen, you are – if you’re a hypocrite.
‘I don’t recognise the term “spliff”. In my day they were called joints,’ grinned David Dimbleby