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PIERS MORGAN: The Mail on Sunday’s diarist recalls the day Sharon Stone said he was terrible in bed


Since his first weekly diary for us in 2006, Piers Morgan calculates he’s written more than 630,000 words regaling readers about what he calls his ‘always entertaining life’. 

Now, as he leaves the paper, he’s compiled his All-Time Morgan Awards, chronicling encounters with the world’s celebrity movers and shakers. 

After his first selection in yesterday’s Daily Mail, today Piers reveals more, with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and Beyoncé and, as always, it’s spicy, frank, moving, embarrassing – and hilarious.

Most crushing moment with a sex symbol

Sharon Stone invited me to a small movie screening at her Beverly Hills mansion and when I arrived, she rushed forward, kissed me fervently on both cheeks, and gushed: ‘Darling! How lovely to see you again!’ 

The sheer enthusiasm in her demeanour raised quizzical eyebrows. 

‘How do you know each other?’ someone asked. 

‘Oh, we were secret lovers,’ I lied.

Sharon smiled. ‘Yes… and Piers was terrible in bed.’ 

Sharon Stone invited me to a small movie screening at her Beverly Hills mansion and when I arrived, she rushed forward, kissed me fervently on both cheeks, and gushed: ‘Darling! How lovely to see you again!’

Diary entry that aged the worst

In March 2009, I attended a friend’s wedding, and another guest came up to me to exclaim: ‘Your TV shows are BRILLIANT. And as I’ve been in the telly business for 50 years, you can take that as an informed view.’

I proudly recorded this exchange in my diary and gushed: ‘I’ve always loved Jimmy Savile.’

Funniest texter

My former Britain’s Got Talent co-judge Amanda Holden is the celebrity whose outrageous texts make me laugh out loud more than anyone else’s.

She once sent me this missive from filming a Wild At Heart series deep in the South African bush: ‘Today, I’ve had to clean slime out of a pool, had peanut butter smeared on my neck so a dog would lick me, and watched my leading man pull a zebra’s entrails out. Kinda like working with you and Simon [Cowell] – only there’s slightly less blood!’

Most shameless back-stabber

When Amanda appeared on Celebrity Juice, host Keith Lemon asked her the following question: ‘David Walliams, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan – sh*g, marry or kill?’

My closest and most loyal celebrity friend weighed up the potential career repercussions of her dilemma for half a nano-second, then declared: ‘I’ll sh*g Simon, marry David… and kill Piers.’

Most disturbing text message

Before we got married, my girlfriend Celia flew to Marbella to interview Royal love rat James Hewitt (to convey some idea of my history with the old bounder, I once sent a knight on a white charger down to arrest him on behalf of the Daily Mirror for infringing the 1534 Act of Treason by having an affair with the wife of a future king).

‘We’re on to our second bottle of Chablis,’ read her text at 3pm. 

‘Getting on really well, and he’s just plucked a rose from the table arrangement, handed it to me and said, “Is it just me, or are flowers really rather sexual?” ’

Vilest reviewer

The late Adrian ‘A. A.’ Gill regularly trashed me, but his finest work came when he wrote: ‘Simon Cowell’s mini-me, Piers Morgan, is a man I can’t abide. 

‘He’s the most amateurishly unpleasant, small-minded, bottom-sniffing, drip-dry tosspot to grace your living room, a terrible, lumpy, misbegotten, blinking, tongue-tied creature, who is also a starstruck show-off, with a barnet like Queen Kong’s pubic hair and a horribly embarrassing flirtatiousness.’

Other than that, I think he liked me.

Kindest reviewer

Oprah Winfrey was the first guest on my CNN show in January 2011 and told the media afterwards: ‘Wow, it was one of the toughest I’ve done in 20 years. I had to go and have a hot bath and take a couple of painkillers afterwards. Piers is a tough cookie!’

My predecessor Larry King wasn’t so impressed. Asked what he thought of my show, he sniped: ‘It’s like watching mother-in-law driving your Bentley over a cliff.’

To be fair to Larry, he was an expert on mothers-in-law – he had eight of them.

Most surprisingly satisfied customer

Morgan Freeman got into trouble for telling me his cast-iron seduction technique was: ‘Don’t chase women, they’ll chase you. They’re like horses in a pasture: if you don’t go drooling over her, she’s going to want to know why.’

A month later, I felt a tap on my shoulder at a Hollywood party and turned to see Freeman. ‘I just want to thank you, Piers,’ he smirked. ‘There have never been more horses in my pasture!’

Most reckless decision

I sat next to Barbra Streisand at a dinner party in the Malibu home of legendary music producer David Foster and, fuelled by alcohol, I thought it would be a great idea to sing to her.

As David played The Way We Were on his piano, I dropped on bended knee, grasped Barbra’s hand, and tunelessly crooned her smash-hit movie theme song – to the horror of other guests, including Donna Summer and TV host Dr Phil.

‘Piers,’ said Barbra Streisand when I finished serenading her, ‘that was one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever done for me… but please, never do that again.’

‘Piers,’ said Barbra Streisand when I finished serenading her, ‘that was one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever done for me… but please, never do that again.’

‘Piers,’ said Barbra when I finished, ‘that was one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever done for me… but please, never do that again.’

Best bit of celebrity gossip from another celebrity

Sitting next to Dustin Hoffman at the All-Stars basketball game in LA in 2011, we got talking about his great mate and even greater lothario Warren Beatty (I was living at the time in Beatty’s old suite at the Beverly Wilshire, where he was rumoured to have slept with 10,000 women and gone through five wrought-iron beds).

‘I asked Warren once whether he would sleep with any woman in the world,’ Hoffman said, ‘and after thinking for a bit, he replied, “Yes.” When I asked why, he said, “Because you just never know!” ’

First and last TV interview with my children

My three – then much younger – sons were with me on the red carpet at an event in LA when a reporter from celebrity show Access Hollywood asked them: ‘What’s it like having Piers Morgan as your dad?’

Cue theatrically downcast faces, and the response from my eldest boy, Spencer: ‘It has its ups and downs.’

To which middle son Stanley clarified: ‘Mainly downs.’

Then the ungrateful little wretches all fell about laughing.

Most surreal encounter

In the bar of the Mandarin Hotel in New York, I was introduced to an octogenarian man who wanted to meet me.

‘You may be interested in interviewing me some time,’ he said.

‘Oh, really? Why?’

‘Because I was on President Kennedy’s Secret Service detail team on the day he died in Dallas.’

‘Wow. Were you with him when he got shot?’

‘I was.’

‘Where?’

‘I was in the car travelling behind the President.’

Now he had my full, transfixed attention.

‘What did you do when the bullets were fired?’

‘I ran from the car behind to the Presidential car.’

I suddenly knew exactly who he was.

Clint Hill’s courage is immortalised in one of the most famous, notorious, iconic pieces of news footage in history.

As JFK is shot, a solitary Secret Service agent leaps from the car behind and charges towards his President’s car. 

He’s seen scrambling aboard the car as the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, starts to throw herself back on the boot, desperate and screaming, reaching out to him. The agent – Hill – tries to comfort her, then stands aboard the back of the car as it races at high speed to the nearest hospital.

‘That must have been a terrible day for you.’

‘It was the worst day of my life.’

‘Do you feel guilty?’

‘The President died on my watch, of course I feel guilty.’

‘Could you have saved him?’

‘If I’d got there a second before, maybe I could have taken the third bullet.’

A tear appeared in his eye.

‘Do you believe in any of the conspiracy theories?’

‘No. I think the President was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, who acted alone.’

Best response to a question

I asked the Dalai Lama, who never watches television: ‘Have you heard of Simon Cowell?’ 

He looked bemused, then turned to his interpreter and said: ‘Simon Cowell? What IS that?’ 

I asked the Dalai Lama, who never watches television: ‘Have you heard of Simon Cowell?’

I asked the Dalai Lama, who never watches television: ‘Have you heard of Simon Cowell?’

Hardest and wettest handshakes

Lewis Hamilton, Ant Middleton and astronaut Buzz Aldrin all nearly broke my hand with their granite-like grip. By contrast, David Walliams’s was like grasping a limp, greasy eel.

Most gentlemanly star

Sir Roger Moore told me what he said to Bond girls before sex scenes: ‘Excuse me, I want to apologise now if I get an erection… and if I don’t.’

Most inspiring quote

When I met Sir Roger Bannister, I asked him what motivated him to break the four-minute mile.

He told me he had an African proverb on his office wall that read: ‘Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.

‘Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle –when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.’

Funniest end to a meal

After a very entertaining dinner with Wayne Rooney and his wife at Soho House in Hollywood, he stood up, tripped on a chair leg, screamed ‘WHOOOOAAAAAAH!’ and fell into a large garden pot nestling by an olive tree on the outdoor terrace. ‘It’s time we got you home, isn’t it, Wayne…’ sighed Coleen.

Least necessary question

Goldie Hawn, my guest at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington in 2011, was sitting tightly up against me in the back of a limousine with her fellow movie-star daughter Kate Hudson, and asked: ‘Piers, this is a bit of a squeeze, do you mind if I put my arm round you?’

Goldie Hawn, my guest at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington in 2011

Goldie Hawn, my guest at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington in 2011

Weirdest gift from a guest

Mia Farrow sent me a carton of six eggs from her eight chickens, all named Gladys. ‘Freshly laid this morning!’ she exclaimed.

And very tasty they were, too.

Best breakfast

I was sitting at E.A.T., a great diner on the Upper East side of Manhattan, when a man approached my table.

‘Mr Morgan! Fancy seeing you here!’

I looked up, expecting to see a wide-eyed fan who I would then have to fend off with skilful but firm determination.

Instead, I saw Tom Hanks smiling at me.

‘Mr Hanks! Fancy seeing YOU here!’

‘Mind if I join you?’

And so he did, for two gloriously entertaining hours.

He’s everything you’d imagine him to be – smart, charming, funny and incredibly down-to-earth.

He’d recently cancelled an interview with me at the last minute and I asked him why.

‘Honestly? I was tired.’

‘That’s it? You were TIRED?’

‘Yep. That’s it. I had a ridiculous schedule and decided something had to give…’

Then he looked straight into my eyes and smirked. ‘And that something was you, Piers.’

But he eventually did it, and my goddaughter Gabby came to watch as she was in New York at the time. ‘Hi Gabby,’ Hanks said when I introduced them. ‘You’d better seriously hope nothing bad ever happens to your parents!’

Best party debate

I once found myself at a post-GQ Awards after-party discussing gun control with Justin Timberlake, Samuel L. Jackson and Pharrell Williams.

‘We grew up with guns, and around guns, from when we were kids,’ said Justin. ‘It’s part of our culture. I still own three guns.’

‘Do you still use them?

‘Sure, but only on the range.’

Samuel was more forthright. ‘I own guns to protect myself, and if someone comes in my house looking for trouble, they’re going to leave with smoke blazing out of their back.’

Mystic Meg award for clairvoyance

Oscar Pistorius, who told me shortly before he murdered his girlfriend: ‘We all make mistakes, I’m still learning and I’m certainly going to learn a lot more lessons throughout my life…’

Jeremy Beadle posthumous award for stitch-ups

A serious-sounding man phoned at 2am from Portugal, where my son Stanley was partying with friends. ‘Mr Morgan, Stan’s very drunk in a nightclub, vomiting and fighting. I’ve picked up his phone after he threw it at someone and one of his friends told me to call you. Do you want me to get the police?’

It took me several long minutes to realise it was James Corden, who happened to be in the same bar.

Best celebrity Cupid

I ambushed Stevie Wonder with a video camera at a Hollywood restaurant in 2007 and asked him to record a marriage proposal to my then girlfriend.

He happily agreed, beseeching her: ‘Celia, if Piers loves you, and you love him, then show him your business, lady!’

It worked.

Best show-stopping party introduction

At my own book launch in New York in 2013, I was introduced to a burly guy in his late 20s with a vice-like handshake and steely eyes.

‘Meet Robert,’ I was told by our mutual friend. ‘He killed Osama Bin Laden.’

Worst tribute

Ricky Gervais contributed the following accolade in a brochure to commemorate my being ‘celebrated’ during BritWeek in LA: ‘I feel so happy and honoured to know Piers Morgan. 

‘Now, when my friends and family tell me I am the most annoying man in the world, I can smugly correct them.’

Most impressively dedicated athlete

When I asked Michael Phelps why he was the greatest swimmer of all time, he replied: ‘Because I once trained for five years without a break, 365 days a year. My opponents only did six days a week, so I had 260 more days’ training than they did in that period.’

Greatest ever name-drop

Dame Joan Collins, who told me over dinner in Beverly Hills: ‘I tried cocaine once, but sneezed as I snorted it, and blew it all over Sammy Davis Jr.’

Sharpest riposte

When Rihanna performed at the Paralympics opening ceremony in 2012, sporting a new short-cropped bob, I tweeted: ‘Rihanna needs to grow her hair back fast.’

She came off stage, turned on her phone, read my tweet and fired back: ‘And you need to grow a d**k… FAST!’

Most disingenuous interviewee

I got the first big TV interview with Charlie Sheen after the dramatic booze-and-drug- fuelled 2011 meltdown which led to his sacking from hit comedy Two And A Half Men, and when I asked him directly if he was still on drugs, he produced his latest test results, showing full negatives.

What viewers didn’t see was what happened in the next commercial break, when Charlie scribbled on the test results and handed them to me.

The message read: ‘To Piers – let’s get hammered. Love Charlie.’

Biggest twit

In May 2009 I wrote: ‘Twitter is surely one of the world’s most stupid inventions? Birds are meant to “tweet” to each other, not fully grown human beings. 

‘Trust me, you pea-brained little twits, I will never be on Twitter. I don’t ever wish to tweet or receive tweets. Just twit off the lot of you.’

Eighteen months later, in December 2010, I joined Twitter with the immortal refrain in my debut tweet: ‘I’m now a Twit, official.’

And the rest, 145,000 tweets later, is unedifying history.

Most historic confession that can never be unsaid

‘I am loath to say it,’ Susanna Reid told GQ, ‘but Piers is a genius.’

The ‘take that you doubting b*****d’ award

Will Smith came to my New York CNN studio to watch me interview his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and asked me: ‘Do you actually HAVE any talent?’

By chance, Barry Manilow’s piano was still in the studio from an earlier interview, so I sat down and began playing Let It Be, an old party piece I’ve played in numerous late-night bars from Dublin to Rio.

‘Not bad…’ Smith admitted, jumping up on the piano and lying flat down as I serenaded him.

‘Whisper words of wisdom…’ I cooed.

‘Let it be,’ he sighed.

And then we hugged.

Wisest observation about difficult work colleagues

‘The bottom line is this,’ Damian Lewis told me in Soho House, ‘you put up with d***heads if they’re worth it.’

Dumbest act of bravado

‘I reckon I could take you at arm-wrestling,’ I told Sylvester Stallone in a Vegas casino, forgetting that he once literally starred in a movie about arm-wrestling, called Over The Top.

Stallone’s warrior eyes swivelled into mine, blood red with fury at this imbecilic boast.

‘Oh YEAH?’

We leaned across the table and grabbed each other’s hands, as a large group of spectators began whooping and hollering.

I went to push the Rocky and Rambo star’s stupendously well-developed right paw down and felt this sudden torrent of power smashing into mine, sending it crashing into the table so hard that Vegas TV later ran reports of a suspected earthquake in the Planet Hollywood area

I went to push the Rocky and Rambo star’s stupendously well-developed right paw down and felt this sudden torrent of power smashing into mine, sending it crashing into the table so hard that Vegas TV later ran reports of a suspected earthquake in the Planet Hollywood area

‘You’re going down, Stallone,’ I goaded, absurdly, theatrically kissing my arm muscles. ‘I’ve been working on these guns for ages.’

It was over in 0.3 seconds. 

I went to push the Rocky and Rambo star’s stupendously well-developed right paw down and felt this sudden torrent of power smashing into mine, sending it crashing into the table so hard that Vegas TV later ran reports of a suspected earthquake in the Planet Hollywood area.

‘Pussy,’ sneered Stallone.

Most honourable gambler

When I interviewed Bill Clinton in New York just before the Ryder Cup in 2012, I bet him $100 on air that Europe would beat the USA.

He accepted, and Europe came back from the dead to win a thrilling victory in what was later dubbed ‘The Miracle at Medinah.’

The next morning, a letter arrived at my office in an envelope stamped with the seal WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON on the back.

‘Dear Piers,’ read the hand-written note, ‘congratulations – a truly remarkable comeback by the European Ryder Cup team. You called it right and I’m happy to settle our bet. All my best to you, sincerely, Bill.’

With the letter was a personal cheque for $100.

Classy guy, but of course he probably knew I’d never cash it.

Funniest human being

Soon after Susan Boyle electrified the world on Britain’s Got Talent, I appeared on a US chat show with comedy genius Robin Williams.

Before the show, he came to my dressing room, said ‘Hellooooo’ in his Mrs Doubtfire voice, and then did an impromptu and utterly hysterical ten-minute routine mimicking Susan.

After I’d stopped crying with laughter, I asked if he’d have ever come on a talent show as a contestant when he started out.

‘God no,’ he chuckled. ‘Just 90 seconds to be funny is so hard… you’d have buzzed me straight off, I’d be dead! And I’d then be left in tears backstage watching you put through a 7ft yodelling dominatrix and dancing pig.’

Most dubious compliment

Des Lynam sidled up to me at an awards show a few years ago and whispered: ‘Congratulations Piers, you have now officially taken over from me as the most successful untalented person on TV.’

Most treasured thank-you letter

‘My dear Piers,’ wrote Ronnie Corbett after my favourite- ever Life Stories show, ‘I knew instinctively that our slightly rascally spirits would blend, and they did. Thank you. Yours aye, Ronnie.’

Warmest celebrity encounter

Robbie Coltrane, whom I’d never met, once greeted my entrance to The Ivy with the words: ‘Oh no, not you, you f****** t**. F****** stay away from me if you know what’s f****** good for yer, yer ****, or I’ll f****** do yer.’

The only thing the foul-mouthed fatso ended up doing that night was four starters and five main courses.

Best Borneo jungle blag

After a lengthy day at Lord’s with my village mates, we headed off to Gordon Ramsay’s nearby pub.

‘Eight of your best cigars, please,’ I announced, on arrival.

A bunch of Montecristos duly arrived, but with one problem.

‘I’m afraid I can’t find a cigar-cutter,’ said the waitress.

I pulled out my mobile and dialled a number.

‘Morgan, you idiot,’ growled Ramsay. ‘I’m in the Borneo jungle, and it’s 1.30am. Why the f*** are you ringing me?’

‘I’m in your pub and your staff won’t give me a cigar-cutter. Can you speak to them?’

Ramsay burst out laughing, asked to speak to the waitress, and she duly found a cigar-cutter.

‘Gordon says I’m to use this to cut off your penis,’ she smiled.

Best bogus tweet

I sat next to Rob Brydon at one of GQ’s legendary Christmas lunches and we discussed how he could most enrage his Twitter followers.

Minutes later, he posted this: ‘Am with Piers Morgan at lunch. What a nice man. Not what you’d expect.’

Most unlikely viewer

Jerry Springer introduced me to The Greatest in LA with the immortal (for me!) words: ‘Muhammad Ali, meet Piers Morgan.’

As I shook Ali’s hand, his wife exclaimed: ‘He loves watching you on America’s Got Talent – especially when you get into fights!’

Most honest personal rejection

Sir Richard Branson left this message on my phone when we were due to hook up together in Abu Dhabi: ‘Piers, hi, it’s Richard. Look, I’m really sorry but I can’t meet for a drink because… well… (roars with laughter)… there’s no easy way of saying this so I’ll just spit it out (more laughter)… I’ve had a better offer… to have dinner with Bill Clinton!’

Best booty 

When I interviewed Beyoncé in 2011, I drove her to Harrods in a black cab to buy her new album and got down to the really important stuff.

Beyonce

Jennifer Lopez

When I interviewed Beyoncé in 2011, I drove her to Harrods in a black cab to buy her new album and got down to the really important stuff. ‘So, who’s got the best, you or J-Lo?’ I asked.

‘So, who’s got thebest, you or J-Lo?’ I asked. 

‘The best what?’ she replied, bemused. 

‘The best booty.’ 

‘I can’t believe you asked me that!’ 

‘You made an album called Bootylicious…’ 

‘OK… OK!’ 

‘So come on then…’ 

She paused for serious thought. ‘Jennifer does.’ 

‘Seriously?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

Several months later, I met J-Lo at a party and told her the story. 

‘WHAT?’ she exclaimed. 

‘You asked Beyoncé that? Are you CRAZY?’ 

‘Guilty as charged!’ 

‘What did she say? 

‘She said you do.’ 

‘NO! She didn’t? Really?’ 

Then a warm glow appeared on J-Lo’s face. ‘She’s right, of course… ha ha ha.’ 

Most honest professional rejection

‘Come on, the time is right,’ I beseeched Sir Bob Geldof at a party, in yet another attempt to finally persuade him to do Life Stories.

‘No, Morgan, the time is not f****** right!’ he bellowed back, ‘the time will NEVER be f****** right to do your f****** show!’

‘Why not?’

‘Because, and I hate to f****** admit this to your face, you’re too f****** good a journalist and will get me to say stuff I don’t want to say! So, stop f****** asking me!’

Second most honest professional rejection

‘NO, Morgan! F*** off!’ shrieked Chris Tarrant, ‘I most definitely will NOT be telling all about my bloody life to YOU in front of millions of members of the British public, thank you very much!’

‘Shall I take that as a “maybe”, then?’ I responded.

‘NO!!!!!!!!! Take it as a NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!!!!!’

Third most honest (but by far the most respectful) professional rejection

‘Dear Piers,’ emailed Sir Michael Caine, thanks for the offer to do Life Stories. I’m a big fan but I love watching your show for all the reasons I don’t want to be on it. All the best, Michael.’

Ok, that really wasn’t me…

Burger King paid me an obscene amount of money for a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign in which I posed like Burt Reynolds, semi-naked, lying by a roaring fire and wearing a big medallion, to promote a new fragrance called Flame that supposedly exuded an aroma of flame-grilled beef. 

Lifesize cutouts of the image appeared in BK shops with the slogan: ‘WHERE THERE’S FIRE, THERE’S DESIRE.’ 

Burger King paid me an obscene amount of money for a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign in which I posed like Burt Reynolds, semi-naked, lying by a roaring fire and wearing a big medallion

Burger King paid me an obscene amount of money for a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign in which I posed like Burt Reynolds, semi-naked, lying by a roaring fire and wearing a big medallion

And the world’s women drooled over my surprisingly ripped torso. 

But I can finally now confess it wasn’t really my body – it was a male model named Grant Clarke. 

Most passive-aggressive response to rejection

I cancelled dinner with Dame Joan Collins just before the first UK Covid lockdown began, telling her: ‘I don’t want to be held responsible for your premature departure from this planet.’

When we finally did have the dinner, she announced as we sat down: ‘I’ve considered all the coronavirus health risks for vulnerable people, and concluded that if you die, Piers, you die.’

Best prank

‘Sorry, but I’ve got this damn new hearing aid,’ Barry Humphries told me before a star-studded lunch at Fortnum & Mason, ‘and I’m still getting used to it. My wife keeps turning me off by remote control.’

Later, as Barry was deep in conversation with Nigella Lawson, I asked his wife, actress Lizzie Spender, who was sitting next to me, if this was true.

‘Yes!’ she chuckled, pulling out her phone to show me the app that controls Barry’s aid.

‘Let’s have some fun,’ I said, taking the phone and turning Barry’s volume down to its lowest level.

We watched in mounting hilarity as he edged closer to Nigella, seemingly straining to hear anything she was saying.

‘BARRY!’ I eventually exclaimed.

He turned, startled.

‘I TURNED YOU OFF!’

He looked bemused for a second, but then saw Lizzie’s phone in my hand, clocked what I’d done and burst out laughing.

All-time greatest tweet

Cindy Crawford posted the following after I interviewed her for GQ: ‘Piers is charming, cheeky and better-looking in person.’

Village idiot award

When I landed my CNN gig, Cameron Jones, then captain of my village Newick’s 1st XI cricket team, texted me on behalf of the lads: ‘TV pundit this morning said you have to be ugly, have bad teeth and live in a castle for a Brit to make it in the US. We’re sticking some turrets on your house.’

Best motivational poster

When I appeared on Mike Tyson’s Hotboxin’ podcast in Los Angeles, he showed me a framed, signed photo of Frank Sinatra he keeps in his office with the singer’s quote: ‘THE BEST REVENGE IS MASSIVE SUCCESS.’

When I appeared on Mike Tyson’s Hotboxin’ podcast in Los Angeles, he showed me a framed, signed photo of Frank Sinatra he keeps in his office with the singer’s quote: ‘THE BEST REVENGE IS MASSIVE SUCCESS'

When I appeared on Mike Tyson’s Hotboxin’ podcast in Los Angeles, he showed me a framed, signed photo of Frank Sinatra he keeps in his office with the singer’s quote: ‘THE BEST REVENGE IS MASSIVE SUCCESS’

‘That’s so true,’ chuckled Tyson. ‘Just ask Tiger Woods.’

Most worrying warning

I had the great honour of spending a day with Professor Stephen Hawking at his Cambridge University office for what turned out to be his last-ever TV interview.

After some fun exchanges (I particularly enjoyed his response when I asked if he could solve the mystery of true love: ‘Thankfully this is beyond human reasoning and should remain so…’), things ended on a disconcertingly serious note.

‘What’s the biggest threat to our survival?’ I asked.

‘The great danger is from artificial intelligence if we let it self-design,’ he replied, ‘for then it can improve itself rapidly and we may lose control.’

All-time buffoon

When I interviewed Boris Johnson for GQ in 2007, I told him: ‘I don’t really buy into this buffoon act. 

‘I think you play it all up to make money and charm the public, when underneath it all lurks a calculating, ambitious and very serious brain.’

‘That’s very kind of you Piers,’ he smirked, ‘but you must consider the possibility that underneath it all there really may lurk a genuine buffoon.’

I now do.

My ultimate hero

That marvellous man Captain Sir Tom Moore, who, aside from his astoundingly inspiring, courageous and globally acclaimed charity walk up and down his garden, also provided the best-ever Life Stories dressing-room rider request: ‘I’d like two cans of Coke, a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate… and six blondes!’

As I close my diary, for now anyway, with grateful thanks to everyone who read it – especially my most loyal fan, my mother, to whom I owe all the fun I have in life – and enjoyed or hated it, I leave you with one piece of advice given to me by my late, great manager John Ferriter: ‘My goal in life is to be the person my dog thinks I am.’

Goodbye, and Merry Christmas!



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