Mar 13, 2013

The People You Meet: Piers Morgan, journalist, author and television presenter

“Do you think that I could give my blackberry to a cab driver and have him go to Oxford Street to get me a replacement screen?” questioned Piers Morgan on a particularly sunny afternoon at Lords Cricket Ground in mid-May. He brandished his very flashy, very expensive and very cracked Porsche blackberry in front of my face. “I dropped it…” he mumbled likely wondering how he was going to keep his 2646899 followers on Twitter updated on the latest Arsenal updates, and cricket scandals all whilst directing regular jibes at Sir Alan Sugar and Wayne Rooney prompting multi-sided exchanges (celebs and plebs alike), for which I probably require a three-dimensional format to represent adequately….

Fortunately for Piers, whilst the screen did not look dissimilar to a tiffany jig-saw puzzle, the blackberry itself still worked and one of his loyal twitterati responded within minutes, promising a new blackberry by Monday… Twitter disaster averted, Blackberry saves the day, and the rest of the afternoon continued without incident (apart from several glasses of red wine spilled over more than a few members of the cricket elite and me innocently asking Sir Viv Richards (perhaps the regarded as the most devastating batsman that ever played cricket) if he watched cricket often… I can personally attest that Sir Viv has has a sense of humour. To put it in perspective (to my fellow Canadians), this would be like asking Wayne Gretzky if he watched a lot of hockey…

Piers Morgan, the former Daily Mirror and News Of The World editor is best known for his “take-no-prisoners” style on Britain’s Got Talent, as well as probing celebs on Life Stories. Known on both sides of the pond, Piers Morgan made a name for himself in the newspaper business in England before becoming a TV star in both the UK and the US appearing as a judge on the talent shows America's Got Talent (2006) and Britain's Got Talent (2007), with Simon Cowell, launching interview shows in the UK and winning the top spot on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice (2008). Piers Morgan debuted an interview show in the US on CNN in 2011, Piers Morgan Tonight, taking the evening slot once held by Larry King which he continues to host today. He has since covered the Jubilee, Olympics and keeps us all engaged (and amused) by his opinions on VanPersie-gate, the latest developments at Arsenal and the scandal around Kevin Pieterson and the parody Twitter account.

Whilst the world of Piers Morgan is as far as one can possibly get from the world of mountaineering, what I have found fascinating about Piers is his interest in people’s stories and his unnerving ability to probe and prod, and dig mercilessly to the ‘heart’ of issues which has produced varying results.

One would wonder what Piers would have uncovered about past and present mountaineers and some of the more controversial summit claims?

The People You Meet

(1)   If you were to go on an expedition for 2 months and hand-pick a team of individuals to be on your expedition team, who would you pick and why?

Piers: My 2 Sherpas would be Ian Botham and Freddie Flintoff, two big strong lads who'd never give up however tough the going got up there. Cook would be Marco Pierre White, mainly because I suspect he can kill animals withhis bare hands, which is always handy on a mountain. My Guide would be Richard Branson, he always knows where he's going and is usually, the odd balloon crash excepting, successful. Other team-mates would include Scarlett Johannson, purely for aesthetic reasons - it can get lonely up there! - Jessica Ennis, to cajole the men when they inevitably start moaning about the cold etc, and Robin Van Persie, so I could push him of the summit when we get there.  

(2) What was the biggest mountain that you've ever climbed - either figuratively or literally?

Piers:  My Dad took me and my brother Jeremy camping on Mount Snowdon in Wales once. All went well until an angry Ram attacked our tent one night, destroying everything in its wake. Who knew sheep could be so dangerous? 

As or metaphorical mountains, I'd say getting fired from the Mirror was the biggest. I never thought I'd be anything but a newspaper journalist. But I dusted myself down, didn't feel sorry for myself, confined all and bitterness to the dustbin of my consciousness, and cracked on. And it worked all pretty nicely! Moral of this, as with mountaineering, is: never let the buggers get you down, never quit, and never stop seeing the funny side of life.  


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