THURSDAY, JANUARY 16
After Laurence Fox’s hilariously anti-woke performance on Question Time tonight, the insufferably irritating Lily Allen blasted on Instagram: ‘Sick to death of luvvies like Fox going on TV and forcing their opinions on everybody else. Stick to acting, mate, instead of ranting about things you don’t know anything about.’
It’s very early to be announcing winners for my coveted Morgan Awards for 2020, but I think I can say with some degree of certainty that nobody will beat Ms Allen to the Pot Kettle Award for Laughable Lack of Self-Awareness. Congrats, Lily!
It’s very early to be announcing winners for my coveted Morgan Awards for 2020, but I think I can say with some degree of certainty that nobody will beat Ms Allen to the Pot Kettle Award for Laughable Lack of Self-Awareness
TUESDAY, JANUARY 21
Labour leadership candidate Emily Thornberry was on typically feisty form on Good Morning Britain.
Emily’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and probably won’t win the contest, but I like her spiky, uncompromising attitude, which masks a chronic, deep-rooted nervousness, she once told me, she feels before all big media appearances. And there’s something very admirable about how she’s fought her way to the top of British politics from a childhood of such hardship that, as she spoke movingly about today, her family was forced to put down several of their pet cats because they couldn’t afford to feed them.
After the show, I sent her a message thanking her for coming on and saying I thought she’d make a rather good replacement for the dreadful Jeremy Corbyn.
‘Thanks, Piers,’ she replied. ‘I appreciate you saying that. Forgive me, though, if I don’t put your endorsement on a campaign leaflet!’
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22
Top Gun is one of my all-time favourite movies, so my excitement levels at the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick coming out this summer are already reaching ‘feel the need, the need for speed’ levels. Tonight, novel-writing queen Barbara Taylor Bradford threw a splendidly entertaining dinner party at 5 Hertford Street in Mayfair. Among the guests was a man introduced to me only as ‘Captain Kevin’. Towards the end of the meal, I asked Captain Kevin what he’d done to earn that title. ‘I flew fighter planes in the US Navy,’ he replied.
‘Top Gun!’ I exclaimed, laughing.
(TOPGUN is a real place, the US Navy’s elite Naval Fighter Weapons School, now based in Nevada.) ‘Yes, actually,’ he replied. ‘I was a graduate of TOPGUN, then an instructor at TOPGUN, and eventually Commanding Officer of TOPGUN.’
My laughter turned to open-mouthed awe.
‘Blimey, so you were Maverick, Jester AND Viper!’
‘Something like that,’ he chuckled.
Dinner with Gary Lineker and EastEnders star Jake Wood at Cambio de Tercio in Chelsea. We all posed for a photo. ‘Twitter’s going to have a field day with this,’ Gary laughed. He was right
(In fact, as I discovered when I later Googled him, Captain Kevin McLaughlin was nicknamed ‘Proton’ because he was once a nuclear-reactor operator. And on his recent retirement, he received the Legion of Merit, one of America’s highest military honours, for his stunning career.)
‘You ever been up in a fighter jet?’ he asked.
‘No, I hate heights and rollercoaster rides, and I hear every civilian who does it pukes up…’ He laughed. ‘Yep, but it’s one hell of a thrill. If you want to experience it before Top Gun 2 is released, I can connect you to people who could possibly get you a ride.’
My head screams ‘NO!’ because it would be the most hellishly terrifying experience of my life. But my heart screams ‘YES!’ because I’ve wanted to be Maverick for 33 years.
What a quandary. Talk to me, Goose.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23
Dinner with Gary Lineker and EastEnders star Jake Wood at Cambio de Tercio in Chelsea.
Earlier in the day, Heat magazine announced the shortlist for its 2020 Secret Crush award, which includes Boris Johnson, Prince Harry and Jeremy Clarkson (whose gargantuan frame would ironically guarantee a crush for any female admirers).
I won it last year, and Jake the year before, but Gary remains trophy-less. ‘I don’t think it helped your chances that you recently said you prefer flirting to sex,’ I taunted.
‘No,’ he countered, ‘I’m not on any Secret Crush shortlist because, unlike with you, people aren’t ashamed to admit they like me.’
Gary’s 60 later this year.
‘For six years we’ll be in different age decades,’ I chortled. ‘That’s got to hurt.’
‘Not really,’ he replied. ‘I look at the state of you and realise age really is just a number.’
Gary and I are both tweetaholics, but we agreed not to post anything during dinner.
However, he kept checking the Liverpool-Wolves score on his phone, and when the Reds went 2-1 up near the end (they’re so far ahead in the Premier League it would take the greatest meltdown in sporting history for them not to win it), he excitedly grabbed his phone and posted something.
‘I had to,’ he insisted. ‘Football fans expect my expert commentary during big games.’
I checked my own phone to see what pearl of expert wisdom he’d imparted to a grateful nation and found the words: ‘If Liverpool hold on here, I think they’ll win the League.’
‘Thanks genius!’ I guffawed.
Later, I asked Jake, who plays Max Branning in Albert Square, to name the best actor in soaps. ‘Steve McFadden,’ he replied, without hesitation. ‘He’s brilliant.’
We all posed for a photo together.
‘Twitter’s going to have a field day with this,’ Gary laughed.
He was right. ‘Tubs, Copper Top and Lugs – BBC’s dreadful new panel show,’ was one of the first responses.
‘Who’s the baldie little t*** in the middle of the other two t*****s?’ pondered another.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 25
People often joke that Susanna Reid looks as if she wants to murder me. She’s not my first co-worker to harbour such homicidal feelings.
Asked last year who she would ‘snog, marry or kill’ of me, Simon Cowell and David Walliams, my old Britain’s Got Talent pal Amanda Holden said she’d kill me. Now David Hasselhoff, who I worked with on America’s Got Talent, has revealed: ‘Piers and I clashed on TV. I wanted to kill him, preferably on air.’