Piers MOR­GAN

I’ve got much bet­ter things to do than stand on stage be­ing booed in­ces­santly

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

THURS­DAY JAN­UARY 26

Din­ner with Gary Lineker at Elystan Street restau­rant in Chelsea. As al­ways in the decade we’ve been friends, he was wait­ing at the ta­ble when I ar­rived bang on time.

Tonight, he fi­nally ex­plained his ex­tra­or­di­nary punc­tu­al­ity. ‘Foot­ballers get fined if they’re even a minute late for train­ing. The habit stays with you…’

THURS­DAY FE­BRU­ARY 8

Very sad to hear about the death of Tara Palmer-Tomkin­son, aged just 45.

She once sent me a thank-you note af­ter an in­ter­view that per­fectly summed up her per­son­al­ity: ‘I am very grate­ful for your fab­u­lous por­trayal of my ec­cen­tric, weird and ad­ven­tur­ous life. You could have had me for break­fast... ac­tu­ally, I’m quite tasty!’

SATURDAY FE­BRU­ARY 10

Watched Os­car-nom­i­nated movie Hid­den Fig­ures, and it’s su­perb. Far bet­ter, cer­tainly, than its main ri­val for Best Pic­ture, the overly sac­cha­rine La La Land.

It tells the true story of three bril­liant black fe­male Nasa maths ex­perts who helped John Glenn be­come the first Amer­i­can to or­bit the Earth.

Glenn, who died last De­cem­ber, was a true iconic hero: a dis­tin­guished fighter pi­lot in World War II, a ground­break­ing as­tro­naut and then a suc­cess­ful US se­na­tor.

I met him once, for just a few sec­onds, but the me­mory still makes me shud­der.

Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton had asked me to chair a panel for his char­ity foun­da­tion in New York.

I walked out to find the au­di­ence front row hous­ing Prince Al­bert of Monaco, Barbra Streisand and John Glenn. Af­ter­wards, I went over to say hello. ‘It’s such an hon­our to meet you,’ I said, pump­ing Glenn’s gran­ite hand.

‘I hope you’re not go­ing to get on your knees and sing again,’ sighed Barbra (I once ser­e­naded her at a Mal­ibu din­ner party with a di­a­bol­i­cally drunken ver­sion of The Way We Were). Glenn raised an eye­brow. ‘It was as bad as it sounds, sir,’ I ex­plained. ‘It really was,’ con­firmed Barbra. He then had to leave. It will re­main a per­ma­nent re­gret that the only con­ver­sa­tion I had with one of the great­est human be­ings of my life­time was about my in­abil­ity to sing.

FRI­DAY FE­BRU­ARY 17

It’s not easy right now be­ing some­one who works in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try that doesn’t pro­fess to loathe and de­test Don­ald Trump.

My old friend’s vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion has turned Hil­lary-ador­ing Planet Show­biz into a seething cesspit of bil­ious ha­tred to­wards him and any­one, like me, who dares de­fend him in any way.

Re­cently, Ewan McGre­gor boy­cotted Good Morn­ing Bri­tain be­cause I crit­i­cised the ‘Women’s March’ as an anti-Trump rally am­bushed by stars like Madonna say­ing she had ‘dreamed of blow­ing up the White House’.

Then, last week, I was told to ‘f*** off!’ on a US TV chat show by an Australian co­me­dian for in­sist­ing Trump isn’t the new Hitler.

This sparked a flurry of abuse from JK Rowl­ing, who tweeted, ‘Yes, watch­ing Piers Mor­gan be­ing told to f*** off on live TV is ex­actly as sat­is­fy­ing as I’d al­ways imag­ined.’

She then branded me a ‘fact-free, amoral, big­otry-apol­o­gism celebrity toady’... at least some of which is non­sense.

Jimmy ‘Tax Free’ Carr summed up the gen­eral luvvie mood when he said on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, to rau­cous cheers: ‘A cock­roach can hold its breath for 40 min­utes, which ex­plains why no­body has drowned Piers Mor­gan.’

SATURDAY FE­BRU­ARY 18

Talk­ing of cocks and Roaches, may­hem has erupted af­ter I was an­nounced as the pre­sen­ter of this year’s pres­ti­gious Royal Tele­vi­sion So­ci­ety Pro­gramme Awards.

I’d agreed to do it for free as it’s a char­ity event.

In re­sponse, a cam­paign was promptly started to have me banned.

The or­gan­iser, a man named Cameron ‘Cock’ Roach, who runs Sky Drama, wrote to RTS bosses say­ing I was an ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate’ and ‘dam­ag­ing’ choice as host.

‘Cock’ Roach, who pro­duced the ex­e­crable Foot­ballers’ Wives, ex­plained: ‘For the RTS to in­vite Piers to host an awards cer­e­mony that is cel­e­brat­ing the best, most creative and for­ward-think­ing tal­ent in our in­dus­try, seems an em­bar­rass­ing er­ror of judge­ment. Piers in no way rep­re­sents creative ex­cel­lence.’

He then claimed I have ‘failed to un­der­stand a so­cial move­ment that val­ues equal­ity and di­ver­sity of voice’.

What the supremely pompous ‘Cock’ Roach really meant was that any­one who doesn’t share his lib­eral views about Pres­i­dent Trump has to be vil­i­fied, banned and si­lenced.

A cu­ri­ous at­ti­tude, you might think, from peo­ple who claim to stand for free speech, tol­er­ance and ‘di­ver­sity of voice’.

‘Cock’ Roach leaked his let­ter to the me­dia, spark­ing a fren­zied Twit­ter surge of sup­port from fel­low Trump-hat­ing mem­bers of his trade, like Black­ad­der man-ser­vant Tony Robin­son, ex-Ca­su­alty ac­tress Claire Goose and pro­fes­sional ac­tivist bore, Bon­nie Greer.

It quickly be­came clear the whole event would now be over­shad­owed by this farcical cam­paign, so I with­drew.

Frankly, I’ve bet­ter things to do than stand on a stage be­ing booed and heck­led by ‘Cock’ Roach and Baldrick, and lis­ten to an in­evitable stream of Trump-bash­ing speeches. Awards shows should be about recog­nis­ing tal­ent and hard work, not spew­ing bile about pol­i­tics. Sadly, I fear this year’s Academy Awards will de­scend into the lat­ter theme.

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