The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE -


Tinie Tem­pah, the bril­liant singer-song­writer who’s had seven No.1 hits in the past decade, ap­peared on Good Morn­ing Bri­tain to­day.

‘You’ve got amaz­ing skin,’ cooed Susanna Reid dur­ing a com­mer­cial break. ‘What’s your se­cret?”

‘Co­conut oil,’ he replied. ‘I drink it, smear it over my body and hair, clean my teeth with it, I even pour it over my dog, Pablo.’ Susanna’s eyes lit up, and my heart sank. I can now pre­dict with ab­so­lute cer­tainty that the GMB stu­dio will stink of co­conut with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.


Bad boy foot­baller Joey Bar­ton has been banned from play­ing for 18 months after ad­mit­ting to il­lic­itly bet­ting on the game.

My mind went back to a Twit­ter ex­change we had three years ago when he was con­vinced Manch­ester United would win the Premier League.

‘£1,000 to char­ity says they don’t, Pit­bull,’ I said. (I call him that be­cause he’s best muz­zled on and off the pitch for his, and ev­ery­one else’s, safety).

‘I would, Nice­but­dim [his in­ex­pli­ca­ble nick­name for me, based on Harry En­field’s posh twerp char­ac­ter Tim Nice But Dim],’ he replied, ‘but I’m not al­lowed to bet on foot­ball due to new Premier League rules!’

‘Since when did you ob­serve any rules?’ I coun­tered.

‘We all gotta start some­time, brother...’ he re­sponded.

Not for the first time in his life, Pit­bull found stick­ing to the rules im­pos­si­ble.


Din­ner at Odette’s restau­rant in north Lon­don with a fun group in­clud­ing Gary Lineker, Rachel John­son, Jemima Khan and philoso­pher Alain de Bot­ton.

It was a timely en­counter as Rachel was re­vealed to­day to have joined the Lib­eral Democrats, much to the hor­ror of her brother Boris, and Jemima’s brother Zac Gold­smith has an­nounced he’s running again as a Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date.

But I had a more un­likely op­tion for pub­lic of­fice in mind.

Lineker’s been rid­ing a tidal wave of lib­eral hero-wor­ship on social me­dia for his vo­cif­er­ous crowd-pleas­ing stance on ev­ery­thing from Europe and refugees to sex­ism and me­dia mis­con­duct.

And as Don­ald Trump proved, TV celebrity sta­tus can be a mighty po­lit­i­cal cam­paign tool.

‘Got to be time for you to run for par­lia­ment your­self, hasn’t it, Saint Lineker?’ I sug­gested.

Gary took his white nap­kin, folded it care­fully in to­tal si­lence and placed it on his head like a pa­pal tiara. Then he burst out laugh­ing and threw it on the floor. ‘Not in a mil­lion years!’ This sounded like Theresa May’s equally em­phatic ‘I will never have a snap elec­tion’ pledge to me.

I sus­pect Lineker could be as ef­fec­tive a politi­cian as he was a striker. He’s smart, cun­ning, thick-skinned, has a keen eye for goal and is way more pop­u­lar than some­one like Cor­byn.

Though quite what he’d do about re­pelling the likes of Kim Jong-Un or Isis if he ever be­came prime min­is­ter re­mains a mys­tery, given he barely made a tackle in his pro­fes­sional ca­reer and never once got booked.


Pres­i­dent Trump cel­e­brated his first 100 days in of­fice by speak­ing at the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual con­ven­tion.

This is the in­sid­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tion that pops up ev­ery time there is a mass shoot­ing in Amer­ica to say the only an­swer is more guns.

They get es­pe­cially ex­er­cised about the fact that many of these shoot­ings hap­pen where guns are banned, like schools.

‘Gun-Free Zones are dan­ger­ous!’ is the NRA’s ruth­less money-spinning mantra.

In his speech, Pres­i­dent Trump as­sured the gath­er­ing of ‘law­ful gun-own­ers’ he would never do any­thing to in­fringe on their con­sti­tu­tional right to bear arms.

By sub­lime irony, how­ever, NRA mem­bers were banned from bring­ing guns into the con­ven­tion cen­tre when Trump spoke.

This was be­cause the Se­cret Ser­vice – un­der­stand­ably – deemed it too dan­ger­ous to have guns any­where near the Pres­i­dent.

So the NRA’s own con­ven­tion was turned into a Gun-Free Zone, and NRA mem­bers had their right to bear arms in­fringed on by the very man telling them he would never in­fringe on them.

As Homer Simp­son would say: ‘D’oh!’


Alan Sugar in­vited me to the Spurs board­room to wit­ness the north Lon­don Derby be­tween Tot­ten­ham and Arse­nal. He’s been re­cov­er­ing from a heart scare in Florida that re­sulted in him need­ing a stent in­serted to fix a blocked artery. ‘What caused it?’ I asked. ‘The stress of see­ing Trump be­come Pres­i­dent or just old age?’

‘I’m as fit as a fid­dle, Mor­gan,’ he growled. ‘It was a hered­i­tary thing, ap­par­ently. But I was lucky the US docs spot­ted it when they did or it could have been much more se­ri­ous.’ ‘Any longer term side ef­fects?’ I asked. ‘No, though I am tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended from fly­ing planes on med­i­cal grounds.’

‘Hasn’t stopped you talk­ing though, has it?’ be­moaned for­mer Spurs man­ager David Pleat as he walked past, echo­ing my sen­ti­ment. Arse­nal lost 2-0, pil­ing yet more pres­sure on our own be­lea­guered man­ager Arsene Wenger, who’s be­come the Jeremy Cor­byn of foot­ball: a de­luded, stub­born 67-year-old leader who doesn’t seem to re­alise the game is up. Ex­actly a year ago, after his 12th con­sec­u­tive fail­ure to win the Premier League, I tweeted the fol­low­ing: ‘Wenger will limp on for an­other sea­son now, we’ll come 5th/6th [keep this tweet] & he’ll leave with his legacy wrecked. Sad.’

Arse­nal are cur­rently sixth, with lit­tle hope of fin­ish­ing higher. Wenger’s legacy is wrecked and it’s all very sad. The only ques­tion now is, why hasn’t he left?


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