News, Culture & Society

Piers goes live with 4 seconds to go


I hate being late, for anything – firmly subscribing to the view of Louis XVIII of France: ‘Punctuality is the politeness of kings.’

Yet this morning, as I was chatting casually away in Good Morning Britain’s make-up room, a production assistant suddenly rushed in and screamed: ‘PIERS! We’re on air in 30 SECONDS!’


I’ve never missed a plane, an Arsenal kick-off this millennium, or the start of a live TV show, but this would be a serious challenge to that last claim.

I sat down with four seconds to spare and put in my earpiece to hear the director shrieking: ‘WHERE THE F*** IS HE?’

I ripped off my protective sheet and sprinted into the studio with a frantic human flotilla in hot pursuit, desperately trying to perfect my face paint and hair, tidy my clothing and attach microphone equipment to various parts of my torso – all as perma-punctual Susanna Reid tutted disapprovingly away like an irritated headmistress when an unruly pupil is late for assembly.

I sat down with four seconds to spare and put in my earpiece to hear the director shrieking: ‘WHERE THE F*** IS HE?’

‘He’s here,’ I chuckled, as the opening titles rolled and I addressed the nation with zen-like serenity.

Eamonn Holmes, notorious for his own last-minute studio appearances when he was king of breakfast TV, approved, tweeting: ‘Arriving in studio early is like arriving at an airport early – a waste of time. Four seconds isn’t cutting it fine. Could read the paper in that time. Honestly, youngsters today.’



Baroness Trumpington has died at 96. She was a magnificently uncompromising battleaxe who hit viral internet fame seven years ago when she flicked a V-sign at a rude fellow Tory in the House of Lords.

A few months ago, the baroness – a Bletchley Park code-breaker in World War 2 – was asked by a GMB reporter: ‘What advice would you give to Susanna, who is constantly being talked over by a powerful man?’

‘Well,’ snorted the baroness with undisguised derision, ‘she must be rather weak to allow that situation to come into being!’

She paused, then stared straight down the camera: ‘… and the answer is that she will have to, at some stage, say “SHUT UP!”’

Modern feminists love to play the victim as they incessantly moan about how tough it is ‘living in a man’s world’. Baroness Trumpington was my kind of feminist: a code-breaking, ball-breaking firebrand of a woman who never saw herself as just aspiring to be an equal to men – but as already vastly superior.



To celebrate my third anniversary on GMB, Susanna and I had lunch at Ivy Chelsea Garden with BBC1 newsreader Sophie Raworth and Sky News star Mark Austin. My co-host hasn’t had a drink for three months, losing nearly two stone in the process and insisting she’s ‘never felt better’ on a diet of quinoa salads and kale smoothies.

But earlier this week she finally confessed she was ‘craving’ a glass of wine, so when she arrived today, I ordered a delicious Meursault and wafted it in front of her nose.

‘Mmmmm,’ she sighed like a lost desert wanderer on death’s door suddenly stumbling across an oasis.

I took a photo and posted it on social media with the caption: ‘Wagon wobble.’

But to my astonishment her resolve remained strong, and she resisted even a single drop of alcohol for the entire four hours.

To make matters worse, Raworth, once a ‘go big or go home’ luncher, but now a disturbingly demented marathon-running health freak, had just two glasses of champagne and apologised for her reckless lack of self-control. Fortunately, Austin was even less keen than me on winning any Sobriety of the Year awards so we liberally imbibed as the ladies compared ecstatic notes on their ‘exquisite’ new alcohol-free sleep quality.

Ironically, as a present to celebrate our three years of blissfully tempestuous on-screen marriage, Susanna gave me a splendid bottle of 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

And she handed me three cards.

The first had the following words printed on the front: ‘I LOVE THAT WHEN I’M WITH YOU I DON’T HAVE TO PRETEND TO BE A NICE PERSON. THAT SH**’S EXHAUSTING.’ Inside, she wrote: ‘Thanks for three years of making me worse/better* – delete as appropriate.’

The second proclaimed: ‘I’M MOSTLY PEACE AND LIGHT… AND A LITTLE GO F*** YOURSELF.’ Inside, she wrote: ‘Thanks for bringing the go ‘f’ yourself out of me.’

The third was still in its wrapper.

‘I decided not to give you this one, because your mother wouldn’t like it,’ she explained.


I laughed out loud.

My mother definitely wouldn’t like it, but Baroness Trumpington would approve.


Michelle Obama is in London to promote her new autobiography Becoming, which has become the biggest-selling book of 2018.

I met the Obamas once, at a White House Christmas party during one of the interminable daily festive photo sessions the US President and First Lady have to endure each December. (An aide told me they posed for more than 3,000 pictures at 24 events – thus spending a staggering 32 hours gurning in front of a tree with mostly random strangers and media-type irritants.)

Understandably, Barack looked tired, bored and robotic. ‘Great to have you here, Piers,’ he lied, as we perfunctorily shook hands.

By contrast, Michelle couldn’t have been warmer, friendlier or funnier – giving me a big hug, laughing out loud when I said ‘Do we say cheese?’ and generally making me feel like a special guest in her home for the 45 seconds I was in her company.

Her energy and enthusiasm throughout this horrendously tedious chore were remarkable. Michelle Obama is the real deal: a delightfully smart, genuine and inspiring lady who deserves all her book success.