Tuesday, February 16
The Sun has published a poll on ‘the nation’s lockdown newsreader pin-ups’, prompted by a reader writing to the paper’s Dear Deidre agony column to say her boyfriend wanted her to role-play as BBC star Fiona Bruce.
Pleasingly, I came top in the male category of ‘Most Fancied Newsreader’ with 42.9 per cent of the vote, beating Tom Bradby (25 per cent), Eamonn Holmes and Dan Walker (both 14.3 per cent), and Clive Myrie (3.6 per cent).
My less aesthetically pleasing rivals took the news with spectacular gracelessness.
‘Beaten by Piers. Noooooooooo!’ wailed Bradby.
‘I demand a recount!’ raged Myrie. ‘Stop the steal!’
Piers’ wife Celia Walden told how the police visited their home and a security engineer installed a panic button should they need to contact authorities immediately
‘It’s a rotten Sun fix,’ moaned Huw Edwards, who didn’t appear on the list at all, despite spending the past few years boasting about his intensive workout regime, dramatic weight loss and iron-clad abdominals.
‘They kept me off because they knew I’d have walked it,’ he seethed. ‘It’s an anti-Welsh thing. I’m not bitter.’
He said, bitterly.
My Good Morning Britain co-presenter Susanna Reid stormed the female category with 62.9 per cent, eclipsing Mary Nightingale (14.3 per cent), Kate Silverton (11.4 per cent), Naga Munchetty (5.7 per cent), Kay Burley and Nina Hossain (both 2.9 per cent).
So, we can now legitimately describe ourselves as the hottest show on TV.
The commenter added that contacting the authorities or beefing up his security ‘isn’t going to stop us getting you’ and warned: ‘This isn’t a threat Piers it’s a promise, your (sic) getting killed’
Piers wrote on Wednesday: ‘UPDATE: I’ve reported these death threats to @metpoliceuk and look forward to hearing back from them. I’m also keen to hear what steps @instagram @ Facebook are taking to identify the person who made the death threats on their platform & has now deleted their account’
Sunday, February 21
‘I used to be constantly disappointed by the human race,’ tweeted Ricky Gervais today, ‘but Twitter has helped me lower my expectations.’
As so often, the scalpel-sharp comedian’s scathing summation perfectly encapsulated my own thoughts about a social-media platform that’s descended from fun public chatroom into seething cesspit of self-righteous fury and bellicose bile.
I still love Twitter, both as an unparalleled journalistic resource and as an entertaining way to interact with people, but even my rhino-thick skin gets occasionally pierced by the shudderingly vile abuse that contaminates so much of it these days.
I intend taking this all the way to court and accountability. In the words of Liam Neeson in Taken (above): ‘I will find you.’
You can benefit hugely in terms of raising your profile (I currently have 7.7 million followers on Twitter and 1.4 million on Instagram) and promoting your work. But in return, you’re going to be bombarded with a lot of vicious hate.
And it doesn’t matter who you are; in the past few weeks, I’ve been sickened by horrendous Twitter abuse aimed at national heroes like Captain Tom, Marcus Rashford and even Prince Philip while he received treatment in hospital.
For someone like me who deliberately provokes lively debate, there’s an expectation of passionate critical reaction and I largely enjoy it.
In a live-streamed Twitter Q&A with the public this week, Gervais was asked who he thinks handles fame well. ‘There are people that seem to love it,’ he replied, ‘the atmosphere, the game, good and bad – like Piers Morgan. He’s good at it because I think he evolved being a contrarian. And you’ve got to know that there are some things he doesn’t mean, like being furious about vegan sausage rolls, and some things he means, like gun crime. He knows he’s got to live or die by the sword; if he slags people off, they’re going to slag him off. But I think he handles it well, though maybe he goes home and punches the wall screaming “they f***ing said WHAT?” ’
All this is true, although I genuinely loathe vegan sausage rolls.
But while I never go home and punch the wall, even I have a line in the cyber-abuse sand. This week, someone posted this comment on my eldest son’s Instagram after he put up a photo of him and me: ‘Piers Morgan, you’re a marked man, calling the police, big tech or beefing up your security isn’t going to stop us getting to you, this is not a threat Piers it’s a promise, you’re getting killed.’
Whoever it was then made a second threat to my son and his mother, warning him to ‘watch your back’ and saying they too would be ‘getting it’ if I didn’t.
I’ve responded by calling in the police, and big tech (Facebook, who own Instagram, are co-operating with the cops), and beefing up my security. I intend taking this all the way to court and accountability.
In the words of Liam Neeson in Taken: ‘I will find you.’
Tuesday, February 23
Matt Hancock, whose self-appreciation consistently writes cheques his performance as Health Secretary fails to cash, appeared on GMB today and excelled himself by demanding that I thank him and his team for their handling of the pandemic.
Given that the UK has the worst Covid death toll in Europe, the words ‘Thanks Matt’ were not hovering most prominently on my lips.
As US comedian Conan O’Brien once said: ‘When all else fails, there’s always delusion.’
Wednesday, February 24
Speaking of delusion, reality TV star Gemma Collins spent five minutes of our recent Life Stories encounter telling me about a sex tape she made and kept to perhaps commercialise one day like Kim Kardashian.
‘I might go skint one day, and I’ve gotta do a Kim K,’ she told me. ‘Sex sells.
Speaking of delusion, reality TV star Gemma Collins (above) spent five minutes of our recent Life Stories encounter telling me about a sex tape she made and kept
‘It’s probably about 20 minutes long. I’d set up a pay-to-view line where they ring in, I take £1.50 on the phone call and then £3 or a fiver to watch the thing.’
Now Ms Collins has admitted there’s no sex tape and it was all ‘a big fat lie’.
I can’t even pretend to be surprised.
The problem with reality stars is they have no concept of reality.
Thursday, February 25
If you’re wondering who on earth would pay to watch a Gemma Collins sex tape, even if one existed, wonder no more.
It’s been disclosed that former Prime Minister Theresa May has been earning nearly £50,000 a pop for virtual Zoom speeches throughout the pandemic.
No offence to Mrs May, but we once chatted together at a party for 20 minutes and it was one of the dullest conversations I’ve ever had with any public figure. Yet she’s raking in £1,000 a minute for droning away to people through a computer screen.
On balance, I’d rather pay to watch the GC romping in flagrante delicto.