PIERS MORGAN: DELICIOUSLY INDISCREET
MONDAY, MARCH 20
‘Dear Favourite Breakfast TV People Ever...’ read the email to Susanna Reid and I from Emma Freud, the driving force for Comic Relief with her movie-producer partner Richard Curtis.
This was their trademark forked-tongue hyperbole technique that’s persuaded celebrities to help raise more than £1billion for the annual charity event.
‘Richard and I love the idea of Good Morning Britain viewers donating to stop Piers tweeting for 24 hours on Red Nose Day.’
Short of waterboarding, it’s difficult to imagine a worse torture for me.
But as always when Ms Freud and Mr Curtis come calling, the head screams ‘NO!’ but the heart screams ‘YES!’
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22
We announced the appeal on GMB at 6.50am. At 7am, Lord Sugar, watching in Florida, tweeted a video of himself saying: ‘£5k to silence Piers Morgan for a whole day? That’s the bargain of the century! Comic Relief, send me the bill straight away and I’ll pay immediately. It’s going to be a wonderful day without that nutter clogging up Twitter with his nonsense.’ Campaign over. Then GMB’s sports presenter Sean Fletcher, who, like Sugar, is a big Tottenham Hotspur fan, issued a new challenge.
‘What would it take to make you wear a Spurs shirt?’
‘No chance!’ I bellowed. ‘I’d want at least £50,000 for that, which is never going to happen.’
‘So if £50,000 does get raised, you’d wear it?’ he persisted, calling my selfinflicted bluff. ‘Yes, but it won’t.’ Within an hour, £15,000 had poured in, led by gleeful stars including Gary Lineker, Robbie Savage, Holly Willoughby, Kevin Pietersen, Bradley Walsh, Michael Vaughan, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Redknapp.
THURSDAY, MARCH 23
Spurs and England striker Harry Kane donated £2k but added: ‘I’ll double it if you kiss the Spurs badge on TV.’
‘Very kind offer,’ I responded, ‘but you can kiss my a***.’
‘How much left to reach the target?’ emailed Sugar at 6pm. ‘£25k,’ I replied. ‘It won’t happen.’ An hour later, Sugar posted a new video. ‘I hear we’re short of a few quid,’ he growled. ‘So I’m going to top it up to make sure £50k is raised and Morgan is not only gagged but also has to wear the Tottenham shirt. What a wonderful birthday present this is going to be for me tomorrow!’
FRIDAY, MARCH 24
Sugar, 70 today, posted the photo of me wearing the shirt and I was duly mocked all day without any power to defend myself.
Even London mayor Sadiq Khan joined in, tweeting: ‘Painful for him, perfect for us!’ Tonight, I watched Comic Relief. Susanna agreed to take part in a sketch with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, in which they interviewed her in character as their once popular but long forgotten bickering brothers, The Stotts.
They gave her excrement-stained jeans, asked if she ever turned up for work with back-to-front knickers, demanded to know what she does when she runs out of toilet roll, then made some lewd reference to whether her ‘husband Piers Morgan’ leaves an ‘oily substance on the bottom sheet’ when we’re supposedly ‘lying in bed together’.
Finally, Reeves exposed himself with a fake penis and asked if she had seen the new movie, Kong.
‘It’s out there,’ he leered. ‘It’s very long and heavy, quite hairy at the beginning.’ Then he crudely flipped her the bird. Susanna somehow kept her cool throughout this revoltingly smutty barrage, though her shocked and bewildered face said it all.
The studio audience was virtually silent throughout the entire routine, adding to the excruciating awkwardness and, I hope, spelling the end of these two hideous dinosaurs as television performers.
If any other men did this to a female work colleague, they’d be sacked.
Online, viewers vented their wrath at why such offensive bilge was being aired before the 9pm watershed. ‘You OK?’ I texted Susanna. ‘I can’t even begin...’ she replied, ‘from covering the biggest breaking news to having to avoid looking at a fake penis on live TV two days later. CRINGEING!’
I continued to watch, wondering if my contribution would be subjected to similar distasteful mockery.
Hugh Grant, reprising his role as Prime Minister in the mini-sequel to Love Actually, was asked in a faux No 10 press conference: ‘You said the power of good would finally win, that love was all around. Fourteen years later, do you still feel as upbeat?’
Grant replied: ‘Well, obviously things have got harder and people are nervous and fearful. And it’s not just in politics that things are tough – Usain Bolt has run his last Olympics, the Harry Potter films are finished… and Piers Morgan is still alive.’
The room full of real TV news stars (Susanna was due to be one of them but loyally refused to take part when she heard about that line) howled with hilarity.
So, ironically, my thank you for raising money to save people’s lives was encouraging the public to feel dismayed that I’m not dead.
Still, at least I got a bigger laugh than Vic and Bob.
‘Any truth to the rumour Hugh demanded 100 retakes on my line just so he could keep saying it?’ I asked Curtis.
‘No,’ he replied. ‘It pained him and he winced every take at the damned injustice of it all.’
‘Put me in your next movie as Jessica Alba’s love interest and we’ll say no more about it.’
‘Deal. She asked for exactly the same thing just a couple of weeks ago.’