News, Culture & Society

‘I flashed a Hannibal Lecter stare, which wasn’t hard as I felt murderous’

Tuesday, January 22 

The National Television Awards has become drearily predictable with Ant and Dec always winning Presenter Of The Year and This Morning always winning Best Daytime Show. 

Nothing against my old mate personally, but as I said on air this morning, it would surely be outrageous if scandal-hit Ant McPartlin won for the 18th time given that he spent most of 2018 walking his dog rather than working? 

This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby won the Best Daytime Show at the National Television Awards 

‘If Ant wins,’ I said, ‘I’ll quit TV for a year and walk my dog instead, and I don’t even have a dog.’ 

As for This Morning, I politely suggest that Good Morning Britain has obviously had the best year in Daytime, based on our surging ratings, world-beating scoops and relentless media coverage? But logic rarely enters the British public’s voting thought process. 

ITV hired a large boat to ferry its ‘talent’ down to the O2 Arena in London’s docklands. We pondered who would get the main headline if the boat sank. 

‘Would it be “TV STARS DROWN” OR “TV PIERS DROWNS, other names on board”?’ I asked. ‘It would be “TRAGEDY AS NATIONAL TREASURE LORRAINE KELLY DROWNS – but the good news is so did Piers Morgan!”’ suggested a producer, who by the time I’ve finished with him will be professionally – and ironically – lifeless. 

My mood brightened when the brilliant Judge Rinder loudly informed me, ‘Piers, you are the most f******* straight man I know!’ 

The red carpet was a very wet one too, as rain cascaded over our perfectly coiffured heads. We bumped into our rivals. ‘You’re going down, Schofield!’ I bellowed. ‘F*** off Morgan!’ he bellowed back. 

As with Ms ‘Angel’ Willoughby, his squeakyclean halo doesn’t fully migrate off-screen. 

Susanna and I moved through the media throng, when she suddenly got very excited. 

‘Oh my God, Love Islanders!’ I turned to see two vacuous, dead-eyed, overtanned wastrels gushing in synchronised mode: ‘HI PIERS!’ ‘I have no idea who you are,’ I replied,  which did nothing to dim their joy at meeting me. 

I moved inside to the bar where, thankfully, I found Freddie Flintoff. As we chatted, a blonde woman rushed up and exclaimed: ‘Piers! You are an amazing ****!’ ‘Sorry, WHAT did you just call me?’ I replied. ‘I said you’re an amazing ****!’ she repeated. Freddie and I exchanged bemused looks. ‘I mean, I absolutely LOVE you!’ she clarified. 

‘Who ARE you?’ I laughed. ‘I’m Tamara from Hollyoaks! And I get into so much trouble with the rest of the cast for loving you but I don’t care! It’s worth it!’ 

Fellow soap star Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler in EastEnders, paid a less ambiguous double-edged compliment: ‘Some mornings I love you on GMB, other mornings you make me sick.’ 

Freddie and I were joined by Harry and Jamie Redknapp, Jack Whitehall and Mark Wright – all of us standing by a giant sign emblazoned with a crossed-out camera and the warning: ‘NTA: This is a selfie-free zone’. 

You can divide Britain into two camps – those who would obey that order and those who would ignore it (I avoid the former like the bubonic plague). 

‘Gentlemen, assume your positions,’ I commanded as we all posed for a selfie beside the sign. 

Gemma Collins, who I backed this week over her Dancing On Ice bust-up with judge Jason Gardiner, smothered me in kisses. ‘Thank you, my knight in shining armour!’ she shrieked. ‘But from now on I’m going to let my skates do the talking.’  ‘You sure that’s a wise strategy?’ I replied. 

As I walked inside for the show, I saw David Dimbleby, who recently quit as Question Time ringmaster. I appeared 23 times on the show during his tenure and always enjoyed his charmingly irascible style, both during filming and at the post-show dinners. 

‘You couldn’t have gone out in a better way,’ I told him. ‘As the greatest showman PT Barnum said, “Always leave them wanting more.” And you did that. I’ll miss you.’ ‘Thank you, Piers,’ he replied, ‘I’ll almost miss you too.’ 

As I walked inside for the show, I saw David Dimbleby, who recently quit as Question Time ringmaster. ‘You couldn’t have gone out in a better way,’ I told him

As I walked inside for the show, I saw David Dimbleby, who recently quit as Question Time ringmaster. ‘You couldn’t have gone out in a better way,’ I told him

We were seated opposite the This Morning team, so continued to exchange unpleasantries. 

Brexit expert Danny Dyer, whose ‘t*** and trotters’ comments about David Cameron on Good Evening Britain became a viral sensation, came over to say hello. ‘I can’t believe how massive that thing went!’ he chuckled. 

‘It was the beautifully delayed second ‘T***!’ that did it,’ I said. ‘What are your thoughts on Brexit now?’ ‘These useless politicians haven’t got a clue, have they?’ he correctly surmised, ‘and anyway, where IS that t*** Cameron?’ 

Danny said he hoped we won. ‘What if we don’t?’ I replied. ‘Then go and clump whoever does!’ 

Host Dermot O’Leary introduced the show by paying tribute to the ‘warmth and camaraderie’ of all the faux-happy, fake-smiley celebrities in the audience. 

‘Of course, there’s always an exception, isn’t there?’ he jeered. ‘There he is…’ The camera zoomed in on my scowling face. ‘Vegan sausage roll, please!’ O’Leary bellowed as the crowd erupted into raucous boos, and cheers. 

I stood up to embrace the room like Leonardo DiCaprio in that office scene in The Wolf Of Wall Street, only with marginally less love in the air. 

The Daytime award was the third to be presented, and of course it went to This Morning. I flashed my best Hannibal Lecter stare, which wasn’t difficult as I genuinely felt murderous. Schofield and Willoughby ecstatically feigned shock, then the former ran over to compound my misery by kissing me on the head. 

Obviously, I left the building. But as I did, I heard Paddy McGuinness say on stage: ‘Piers Morgan said he’ll quit TV for a year if Ant and Dec win again… come on Ant and Dec!’ 

I got home in time to see Ant and Dec win again. It’s time I got a dog.





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