ASSUMING it was Ben Shephard’s turn in the chair, I turned on ITV’s Good Morning Britain at 6:30 on Thursday. Big mistake.
It was Piers Morgan, pouring ten tons of syrup all over his new mate-in-waiting Joe Biden, whose Presidential inauguration address reminded him of “Nelson Mandela after he became the first black president of South Africa, in 1994.”
At various other moments in the show — when he wasn’t emailing his interview request to the White House, I assume — the speech was also “very powerful”, “effective” and simply “great”.
“And at one point,” a slightly overwrought Piers also admitted, “I actually choked up.”
As did I, after five minutes of this slather. Although, it would bring tears to your eyes too if you were performing the same political contortions as Piers, who’s been on quite the shape-shifting political journey these past ten months.
Before March he was television’s anti-woke warrior, standing apart from every other mainstream presenter and co-host Susanna Reid by slaying transgender rights extremists and everything else that was PC and risible.
Then the pandemic arrived and a gob-smacking transformation occurred. Piers became Susanna’s echo on everything except vegan sausage rolls.
He was The Woke Avenger as well as Captain Lockdown, angrily and rightly denouncing all celebrity transgressions of Covid-related rules and regulations.
It may be my imagination, but Piers seems to have toned down the outrage slightly, on that issue, at around about the same time as the Guido Fawkes website discovered he’d spent his Christmas holidays in Antigua.
It’s only a minor inconvenience for Piers, though, as he’s been taking out all of his frustrations on ministers ever since the Government lifted its idiotic ban on them appearing on the show, in November. “Holding the powerful to account,” Piers likes to call it.
Tt looks uncomfortably like he’s venting a personal, bullying grudge whenever he performs one of these “Gotcha”-style interviews, which generally tell us absolutely nothing.
A claim that would actually have merit if he regularly extended exactly the same “courtesy” to the Welsh and Scottish administrations, NHS bureaucracy and Public Health England and aimed even greater amounts of righteous anger, during his opening rant, at the Chinese government, who have more questions to answer than anyone over the dreadful scourge of Covid.
But he doesn’t. So it looks uncomfortably like he’s venting a personal, bullying grudge whenever he performs one of these “Gotcha”-style interviews, which generally tell us absolutely nothing.
On Thursday it was the turn of the hopeless Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. An entirely fair and deserving target for Piers, who told him: “Own your mistakes.”
The crushing irony here, though, was that, minutes earlier, Piers had been failing to own his own mistake when he told an incredulous former FT editor, Lionel Barber: “On Brexit and Trump, I was a 50/50 guy.”
Yeah! The sort of 50/50 guy who, almost on bended knee, presented his great mate Donald with an Arsenal shirt bearing the legend: “TRUMP”.
I’d seriously worry for Piers if he actually believed this delusion, as only two real possibilities exist here. He’s either the worst judge of character in human history and was genuinely surprised by the Capitol Building incident.
Or he thinks his viewers are stupid and haven’t noticed the brazen reinvention game being played by someone who still clearly longs to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful.
If, by some miracle, there are one or two who haven’t been paying full attention, however, here’s a timeline of quotes explaining where I think his unbreakable bond actually went wrong.
Piers, Loose Women, January 2017: “Everyone keeps screaming at me not to like Donald Trump and it’s not going to work. He’s a friend of mine.”
Piers, November 2, 2020: “I still consider Donald Trump a friend. I’ve known him a long time.”
November 3. Donald Trump loses the US Presidential election and, lo, a revelation is at hand.
January 7, 2021, Piers: “In the past year Donald Trump has morphed into this monster I no longer recognise as someone I considered to be a friend and I thought I knew.”
But hey, with friends like Piers, Joe Biden had better watch himself. Own it, Chunk.
It’s a sin and it’s deadly
NEVER trust a drama with a lot of soundtrack. It’s nearly always compensating for the lack of something else.
In the case of Channel 4’s Aids drama It’s A Sin, all those pounding 1980s hits are trying to mask the fact it’s not as good as writer Russell T Davies or his many media acolytes imagine.
How could it be? Davies is so convinced of the purity of his mission he wouldn’t cast straight actors in any of the main roles because he claimed they’d lack “authenticity”.
The results of that narrow-minded decision are as mixed as they deserve to be, although it’s not entirely the actors’ fault.
The real problem with It’s A Sin is that, like all the noisiest and most indignant fools these days, the writer isn’t dramatising the past, he’s judging it.
With the result being, the series doesn’t look or even sound anything like the early 1980s.
It’s just another very preachy, contemporary drama where wise-after-the-event disapproval has drowned out almost everything else, including the characters.
In fact, the only fully formed person here is the tailor, Henry Coltrane, played brilliantly by Neil Patrick Harris, who dies of Aids in the first episode.
It means we’re left with just a pair of OTT clones called Ritchie and Roscoe, who could’ve been cut-and-pasted from any Noughties reality show and shy/insipid Welshman Colin Morris-Jones, who is rather obviously Davies’s very loving tribute to himself.
It wouldn’t have won him all the broadsheet adulation and award nominations that will inevitably follow, but maybe, just maybe, Davies should’ve got off his high horse and considered some straight actors for the parts.
This Morning’s news review question-of-the-week
Alison Hammond: “The Dorset knob-throwing festival has been called off. Gyles Brandreth, what do you think?”
I think he’s an a*** but he’ll be grateful for the year off.
A funny bunny query
TV GOLD: Antiques expert Raj Bisram nearly garotting his mate Sean as they tried to recreate their magical shirt-removing trick on Friday’s brilliant Would I Lie To You.
Netflix’ new series of Cobra Kai referencing Tango & Cash. The weirdly touching sight of The Masked Singer’s Viking singing Take On Me.
BBC1’s Biden Inauguration host Katty Kay delaying a discussion about feminism and the glass ceiling, with former Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, to announce: “Melania Trump has changed outfit!” (go girl).
BBC2’s mesmerising Winterwatch introducing us to “The Transatlantic beaver stick”, which may be the greatest Harry Potter film they never made.
And This Morning honouring us with vet slot caption: “Yvette – is my rabbit a lesbian?” Answer? No, she just doesn’t want to Roger rabbit.
Great Sporting Insights
(Compiled by Graham Wray)
Clinton Morrison: “Maximin is the one bright spark Newcastle have got. And they’ve got a lot.”
Robbie Savage: “Gilmour and Abraham single-handedly got Chelsea over the line.”
Lee Hendrie: “Liverpool have had a blimp in form.”
And Clinton Morrison: “If Cheltenham beat City, the only bigger upset would be Marine v Spurs and that didn’t happen.”
On BBC2’s excellent Winterwatch what did host Gillian Burke claim was: “The only creature using anal jet-propulsion to get around?”
A) Golden-ringed dragonfly larvae, in Cornwall?
B) Simon Cowell at the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados?
INCIDENTALLY, if one or two of you have three hours and ten minutes to spare, as I suspect you do, please watch BBC2’s two-part documentary Lance, about the infamous Tour de France winner.
Not a second of that time will be wasted. It’s an absolute masterpiece.
Random TV Irritations
BBC2’s Newsnight flying Emily Maitlis to Washington DC, during a global pandemic, to conduct interviews via Zoom.
ITV’s Finding Alice setting all the early pace in the Worst Drama Of 2021 awards category.
Katie Price, politician Tom Watson and Russell Kane featuring in the same episode of Steph’s Packed Lunch.
A Pooch Perfect contestant called Helen who thought viewers would be charmed to learn: “I commute to work on a skateboard.”
And This Morning indulging some crystal-rubbing nutcake called Emma Lucy Knowles. ’Cos lumps of rock can no more “align our energy to our natural state of being” than they can fill in your tax returns and give you an a*** wedgie.
MUST admit, I really wondered what the hell ITV was doing sending Mark “The Beast” Labbett and his mates on The Chasers Road Trip: Trains, Brains And Automobiles.
Then they pulled into Indianapolis Zoo: “Home to a group of critically endangered orangutans, some of which have been rescued from the entertainment industry.”
Guys. Incoming . . .
Lookalike of the Week
THIS week’s winner is Dancing On Ice’s failed comedian/failed politician Rufus Hound and Monterey Jack from Chip ’N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers.
Unexpected Morons in the Bagging Area
(With thanks to Stan Thackstone and Phil Thomas)
Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “A Mars-quake is a violent shaking that takes place on the surface of which planet?”
Ben Shephard: “The three states that begin and end in the letter A are Alabama, Alaska and which other?”
Ben Shephard: “The goldfinch belongs to which class of winged animal?”
‘Selfish’ EU threatens to block export of millions of lifesaving Covid jabs to UK
Moment Covid denier tries to take virus patient home as medics warn ‘he’ll die’
I accidentally named my son Audrey – now my family say I’ve ruined his life
Mum shares final photo of her daughter after asthma attack left her brain dead
Dani Dyer shares new photo of newborn baby as celeb friends congratulate her
Woman ‘freaks out’ after discovering ‘incredible’ photobomb in holiday snaps
And Ben Shephard: “When teasing or joking with somebody, which limb is said to be pulled?”
She can sleep anywhere
THE beginnings of a shock announcement from Katie Price on Steph’s Packed Lunch, as she explains: “My friend said, ‘Katie, you’ve got a massive talent’. I said, ‘What’s that?’”
Yeah, we’re all ears . . .
“She said, ‘You can sleep anywhere’.”
And it’s true. She can sleep at Carl’s, at Charlie’s, at Kris’s, at Kieran’s.
Occasionally, even at her own house.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL email@example.com