MY LIFE AND OTHER CELEBRITIES
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22
Appeared on The Andrew Marr Show.
Other guests included Prime Minister Theresa May, so as a mark of respect I wore my Sunday best suit. ‘Piers, your trousers are split,’ whispered the make-up lady urgently, two minutes before I was due on air. ‘How badly?’ I asked, panicking. ‘Well, the whole seam around your... ahem... bottom, has ripped apart. But if you’re careful how you walk you should be OK. No sudden moves though or the whole seat could blow.’
I shuffled slowly into the studio, legs tightly together, like a condemned, shackled prisoner heading from death row to the gallows. One false step in the proximity of the PM here and I’d be a humiliating viral video for the rest of my natural life.
Fortunately, I survived the paper review with my dignity intact.
But things didn’t go quite so well later, when I sat chatting in the green room with Labour firebrand Diane Abbott and completely forgot about my little local difficulty.
‘OH MY GOD!’ shrieked Diane, as I stood up and walked, jacketless, to the door.
‘OH MY GOD!’ I shrieked back, suddenly realising what she might have seen to cause such horror. I had breakfast with Marr and his team. He had a bad stroke four years ago, and it’s only when you observe him at close quarters, struggling even to walk, that you realise how extraordinary it is that he’s able to so expertly host such an influential weekly live political programme.
‘What’s been the hardest part of this for you?’ I asked.
‘When I first came back, I would regularly lose my ability to speak,’ Andrew replied. ‘My mouth would move to say something, but nothing would come out. That was obviously very unsettling. But I knew if I didn’t persevere, I might never work on television again.’
His remarkable, inspiring courage certainly puts my pitiful on-air man-flu moans into correct perspective.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25
To the National Television Awards, or as we TV presenters call it: Ant and Dec’s Annual Trophy Cabinet Filling Session.
I was nominated in three different categories but the British public inexplicably failed to vote me onto a single shortlist.
So instead, my Good Morning Britain cohost Susanna Reid and I were asked to present the Best Daytime Show award.
(If there’s one thing worse than not winning awards, it’s being asked to give them to others and pretending to be happy about it.)
After all the furore on GMB this week about the women’s march, Ewan McGregor’s big flounce, and high heels, I had an idea.
‘You should do all the talking,’ I suggested to Susanna as we drove to the O2 arena. ‘A non-sexist nod to Girl Power.’
‘I’ve got a better idea,’ she replied, eyes glinting mischievously. ‘Why don’t I gag you with your own tie?’
‘50 Shades stuff, I like it!’ I said, ironically prompting Susanna to instantly gag herself.
On the red carpet, Loose Women star Linda Robson presented me with a rosette saying: ‘Biggest Gob’.
‘This is to make up for all the awards you haven’t won,’ she explained.
In make-up, we found Alan Shearer with his flies undone and a wardrobe man fiddling with the offending area.
‘Zip-related issue,’ Shearer sheepishly explained, not entirely convincingly.
Our rivals from BBC Breakfast were strutting around with unbearable smugness at being shortlisted in the Live Magazine category. ‘When you lose, I’ll be the one loudly whooping from Row J,’ I told Dan Walker and Louise Minchin.
‘I look forward to you loudly wailing when we win,’ retorted Walker. Joyously, they lost to This Morning. ‘We won the popular vote!’ squealed ‘Hillary’ Walker, disconsolately.
Eamonn Holmes came over in a commercial break.
‘I want to discuss with you the science of your extraordinary self-confidence,’ he announced. ‘You should bottle it and sell it.’
Later, he stood up for me to reporters over the Ewan McGregor row: ‘Piers is the saviour of breakfast TV.
‘It has to be either very interesting, very controversial or very funny. It can’t be bland. He’s got everyone talking.’
Coming from a guy who was himself the provocative king of breakfast TV, I was very touched by his support.
Susanna and I made our way backstage and bumped into Danny Dyer.
We’d all last met at the Celebrity Juice Christmas special, when we ended up racing inside cardboard boxes while a panto dwarf smashed us with a rubber hammer. ‘What the f*** were we thinking?’ Danny sighed.
‘Well I was thinking this might be the end of my career,’ I said. ‘Me too,’ nodded Susanna. ‘And me!’ Danny laughed, wincing at the memory.
Susanna gave one last tight tug on my gag to ensure no accidental slippage and we walked out to a cacophony of laughs and boos.
‘It’s been a controversial week on Good Morning Britain,’ she said, ‘We’ve had tears, we’ve had tantrums, we’ve even had a walkout. So I’ve done what people have been urging me to do for quite some time – I have finally gagged Piers Morgan!’
A dismayingly loud cheer filled the air, and social media erupted with similar joy at the image of me rendered speechless.
‘This is a wonderful picture,’ tweeted Lord Sugar. ‘Shame it can’t be permanent!’
As I left at 10.30pm, I found Ant and Dec in the limo area, staggering under the weight of their awards.
‘Move along, Morgan,’ chortled Ant. ‘This is the winners’ enclosure.’
‘I have finally gagged Piers Morgan,’ said Susanna Reid. A dismayingly loud cheer filled the air...