SATURDAY, MARCH 24
I’ve decamped to LA for Easter and sat next to actor Dev Patel on the BA flight over. He recently starred with Nicole Kidman in Lion, an extraordinarily moving film about a young Indian boy accidentally separated from his mother, who then spends decades trying to find her again.
‘That was the first film to make me cry in 15 years,’ I told him.
Dev was astonished. ‘REALLY? Wow. YOU cried? No offence Piers, but that’s… amazing. It made me cry too when I first read the script, and I never do that. It’s a film that restores your faith in humanity.’
‘I’ve known Rob for nearly 30 years – I was Take That’s official biographer – and he’s a complex character who’s been through many well-documented highs and lows,’ writes Piers
‘I’ve just remembered who urged me to watch it,’ I said.
THURSDAY, MARCH 29
Golf with Ioan Gruffudd and Richard Schiff.
With three holes left, Liar star Ioan had a two-foot putt to avoid losing to me for the first time. It was in the ‘gimme’ range, but I was in no mood for charity.
‘REALLY?’ snorted Schiff, who played firebrand White House communications chief Toby Ziegler in The West Wing and loathes his current President. ‘You’re going to make him putt THAT? You want to win like TRUMP?’
‘Yes. I’ve seen him miss those.’
‘True,’ admitted Ioan.
Schiff stared at me like I’d just murdered his entire family. ‘Go on then… DONALD.’
I wilted. ‘OK, OK.’
I gave Ioan the putt. He smirked and, of course, went on to halve the match.
Trump would be ashamed of me, but Schiff was right. Probably.
FRIDAY, MARCH 30
My 53rd birthday. I threw a dinner party at AOC restaurant in Beverly Hills for an eclectic group including Gary Lineker, Bruno Tonioli and Mark Wright. I’m not saying I have a peculiarly specific drink problem, but every single one of the 24 guests gave me French red wine from Bordeaux as a gift.
Two also gave me a disturbing cake sporting an image of my head morphing into Trump’s, complete with his blond mane. ‘Like Donald, you love yourself so much you could, and now will, eat yourself,’ they explained.
SUNDAY, APRIL 1
Took my sons for breakfast at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. As we arrived, a tall, stooped, greying, corpse-like figure stumbled past with painful slowness.
‘Poor guy,’ I thought. ‘Old age is a terrible thing.’ ‘Dad,’ said my eldest, Spencer, ‘it’s John Cleese.’
Cleese recently described me as ‘someone I truly detest’. For my part, I consider the spiteful press-hater to be Britain’s biggest bore, which, when you consider Hugh Grant’s still alive, is quite an accolade.
I peered closer at this once-funny comedic cadaver and decided to end our feud with immediate effect. To continue would feel like re-enacting his Dead Parrot sketch from Monty Python. Cleese, for all intents and purposes, has ceased to be.
MONDAY, APRIL 2
Fabulously entertaining dinner at Craig’s restaurant with Dame Joan Collins and Percy, her (fifth) husband of 16 years. ‘This is my longest marriage,’ Joan declared, ‘and my happiest.’
Percy revealed how his mother reacted when he first told her he was dating Joan, given the 32-year age gap.
‘There was a very long pause, and then she said, “Well Percy, you’ve never bored me!” ’
Joan is the epitome of Hollywood glamour.
‘What’s the secret?’ I asked. ‘Portion control and keeping your face out of the sun.’
‘And to happy marriage?’
Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson was sitting in the booth behind us. ‘Oh, I love her,’ said Joan. ‘She’s so funny.’
I turned round. ‘Hi, Rebel.’
‘I just thought you’d like to know Joan Collins loves you.’ She was thrilled.
As we left, the paparazzi descended. ‘Would Joan make a better queen than Meghan Markle?’ one of them screamed.
‘Of course!’ I replied.
If anything, Joan would almost make a better queen than the Queen.
THURSDAY, APRIL 5
‘PM, the other PM politely enquires if you’re watching the Arsenal game and, if so, can we watch it with you?’ emailed Sean Macaulay, a successful Hollywood scriptwriter and Gordon Brown’s brother-in-law.
At 7am, my six-year-old daughter Elise began frantically tidying all her toys. ‘I have to make things perfect for the Prime Minister,’ she clarified.
Gordon was on sparkling form. ‘How’s your campaign to get rid of Arsene Wenger going?’ he asked. ‘Not well,’ I replied. ‘He’s the Corbyn of football – an Islington-based dictator who refuses to leave however bad things get.’
Arsenal won 4-1.
‘Wenger in?’ Gordon chuckled.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6
Dinner with Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda at Matsuhisa, the original Nobu restaurant. ‘Belated happy birthday, mate,’ he said on arrival, handing me a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon, which surprised me on two fronts: 1) it wasn’t Bordeaux and 2) he’s teetotal.
I’ve known Rob for nearly 30 years – I was Take That’s official biographer – and he’s a complex character who’s been through many well-documented highs and lows.
But tonight he was as relaxed and happy as I’ve known him.
‘The love of a good woman?’ I suggested.
‘Damn right,’ he smiled, putting his arm round Ayda.
They brought along an amusing friend named Susie. It was only later I discovered she was Susie Amy, who played Chardonnay in Footballers’ Wives. I was thrown by the fact she drank Pinot Noir all night.
Rob’s just bought a humongous £30 million estate in the Hollywood Hills. ‘I’ve gone all Elton,’ he admitted.
‘Piers told me he wasn’t going to leave tonight until he’d sung Angels with you,’ my wife Celia announced as the meal finished.
‘Correct,’ I said, bursting into song: ‘I sit and wait… does an Angel… contemplate my…’
‘STOP!’ Robbie commanded. ‘You and Angels are not a good fit… in any sense.’