News, Culture & Society

‘I’m the country’s first trans-slender: identifying as skinny’


My Good Morning Britain co-presenter Susanna ‘Halo’ Reid often strays into Joan of Arc territory during media interviews about our relationship, with martyrdom talk of ‘My tears over nightmare mornings with monster Morgan’.

Of course, this makes her an even greater heroine among the female liberal intelligentsia for whom Susanna’s on-air eye-rolls have become an iconic symbol of feminist exasperation at middle-aged male patriarchy.

‘I don’t think you see a browbeaten woman next to him,’ Susanna said. ‘You see someone who gives as good as she gets. He has emboldened me and empowered me.’ I think it’s fair to conclude our arranged TV marriage is bedding down nicely

So I was pleasantly surprised to read a new chat she’s given to GQ magazine, headlined: ‘I AM NOT OPPRESSED BY PIERS.’

‘I don’t think you see a browbeaten woman next to him,’ Susanna said. ‘You see someone who gives as good as she gets. He has emboldened me and empowered me.’

All of which is true, and I’ve been as delighted to see her evolve into bad-a** opinionated Reid as the viewers who’ve been flocking to watch us in record numbers (today’s show was the highest-rated in GMB history) and Bafta, who just nominated us for two awards.

But it was her next bombshell that ironically, moved me to my own tears.

‘I am loath to say it,’ Susanna added, ‘but he is a genius.’

To accompany this unexpected eulogy, there was a cartoon featuring Susanna grinning ecstatically as she held a silver salver containing my naked torso.

I think it’s fair to conclude our arranged TV marriage is bedding down nicely.


Following sustained vicious fat- shaming from TV critics, Twitter trolls and even my own work colleagues, I’ve decided to take dramatic action to shut them up. I thus announced on GMB today that I have become the country’s first ‘trans-slender’, and am forthwith self-identifying as ‘skinny’. So anyone who persists in calling me fat will now be guilty of trans-slender-phobia.

GMB’s director Erron responded by instantly playing the sound of a hippopotamus, as Susanna and Charlotte Hawkins mimicked clomping beasts.

Let’s see how cocky they’re all feeling when I play the sound of squealing lobsters as they’re boiled alive by Human Resources.


Legendary BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen publicly revealed this week that he’s been suffering from bowel cancer.

We’ve been good friends for many years, so I’ve known about this from when he was first diagnosed back in October.

Actually, that’s not strictly true.

In typical Bowen style, he was told the bad news the day before we were due to meet for one of our infamous long lunches together with other news journalist friends.

He turned up for lunch, was his usual hilariously convivial self, and never mentioned a thing until a few days later.

Today, we reconvened for the first time since his fateful diagnosis, at my favourite London restaurant, Cambio de Tercio in Chelsea, with Susanna and his former BBC Breakfast co-presenter Sophie Raworth.

Jeremy’s been through months of chemo, but I was pleased to note it’s had no negative impact on his lunching ability as we gorged on fabulous paella and delicious Spanish wine.

I asked him if, as he faced up to his own mortality, it was made easier because he has so often risked his life on the front line as a fearless war correspondent.

‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘When you’ve stared death in the face, and it hasn’t actually killed you, it does make further encounters with it a little less intimidating!’

‘Was being told you had cancer the scariest moment of your life?’ ‘No. That came during the First Chechen War, in the winter of 1994/5, when the Russians were pounding Grozny with everything they had. At the height of it, I’d been interviewing some troops in a square when two jets flew over and blitzed it with cluster bombs. I lay face down in the snow and felt sure I was going to die. Longest 12 seconds of my life.’

As for why he has such a positive outlook on his condition, Jeremy explained: ‘I’ve learnt that sometimes, when you fear the worst, it doesn’t happen. Take the 1994 South African election when I, and every correspondent out there, assumed there would be a complete bloodbath. But thanks to Mandela, it never occurred. The power of human courage and spirit can make a massive difference.’

Yes it can.

As we finished our meal with a couple of large medicinal brandies, Jeremy checked his email and chuckled: ‘The NHS has apparently been bombarded with people enquiring about bowel-cancer testing since my interview. They’re calling it the Bowen Bounce!’

War reporters are a special breed, few more special, professionally or personally, than Jeremy Bowen.


Lily Allen has been explaining why she won’t come on GMB. ‘Some people think it’s quite funny, the Piers Morgan attitude – “he says it how it is”. It’s not, it’s rubbish. I’m past the point of wanting to go on there and speak with him in a jokey way… and have him try to humiliate me.’


There’s actually a simpler reason the gobbiest woman in pop music won’t be appearing on GMB: I’ve banned her.


For every celebrity like Ms Allen who dislikes me, there’s a more talented one who doesn’t. TV legend Des Lynam emailed to say: ‘Dear Piers, as you know I have become a great admirer of your style of broadcasting, saying what you think, taking on the bigots, and keeping your producers in their place. “Modest stillness and humility” never did much for audience figures.’

He wasn’t entirely full of praise: ‘Here’s one you can whack the producers with; you are using the word “right” as a verbal tick a bit too much, rather as the youngsters use “like”.’

Ironically, Des is right; I do.

But he ended on a high: ‘My wife Rose has admitted she thinks you are very fanciable. I can’t argue with that, can I? She’s obviously a great judge.’



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