Piers Morgan

It’d be a shame if my death was as overlooked as Mother Teresa’s

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My instantly infamous interview with Jeremy Corbyn, in which he refused 15 times to say if Hamas is a terrorist organisation, prompted many to ponder what on earth possessed him to do it in the first place? After all, the modern-day Wolfie Smith must have known I’d ask him the same question I’d asked many guests during the crisis, and his spluttering determination to avoid stating such a basic fact – well, unless you work at the BBC – made it obvious what he thinks and was always going to earn him the opprobrium his terror appeasement deserved. Rishi Sunak hammered him in PMQs, and Keir Starmer declared Corbyn will never stand as a Labour MP again. That wasn’t the only lifetime ban dished out: ‘I’M NEVER COMING BACK ON THIS SHOW!’ Corbyn raged as he stomped furiously out of my studio. (‘Why would I invite you again, given you never answer my questions?’ I snapped back.) He was there to promote an anthology of poems he’s collated with ex-union chief Len McCluskey. The book includes a tribute to Maya Angelou, who once said: ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them.’

The Israel/Hamas war has been the most intense period of my career as I’ve debated night after night with very animated representatives from both sides of this bitter conflict – sparking an unprecedented amount of praise, abuse and death threats. It’s also sparked record ratings for my show Piers Morgan Uncensored, especially on YouTube, where one of the interviews, with the Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef, was viewed 21 million times, even more than my Cristiano Ronaldo scoop a year ago. But the strain is showing. ‘Dear Piers,’ read one email, ‘I noticed that the Israel-Hamas war has quickly taken its toll. You have grown considerably more grey/white in these last two months. Don’t worry – it suits you and you are in best company; just compare Obama at the beginning and end of his first term. Very best wishes from Austria, Judith.’

The final Netflix series of The Crown is especially interesting to me because I was a newspaper editor throughout this Diana-dominated timeline. I remember thinking when it happened that no single person’s death would ever have that effect on the world again, and I remain of that view. Not even the passing of Queen Elizabeth II rivalled the global shock, grief and media attention that greeted Diana being killed in a car crash aged just 36. To demonstrate the enormity of it, another iconic figure in modern history, Mother Teresa, died on the eve of Diana’s funeral. Normally this would have dominated front pages all over the planet, but we reported it on page 21 of the Mirror, and it was similarly downplayed in the other papers. Proof that Diana was the biggest star of them all – and that I need to be very careful about the precise moment I die to avoid my own contribution to humanity being as overlooked as Mother Teresa’s.

News that the American media executive Jeff Zucker may be about to get his hands on the Telegraph newspapers, and this magazine too, has got many British journalists crying: ‘Who?’ Not me. He was my boss at NBC when I was a judge on America’s Got Talent and a (winning) contestant on Celebrity Apprentice USA, and then again at CNN. Jeff, who once campaigned for his school presidency with the slogan ‘The little man with the big ideas’, is a smart, passionate guy who bombarded on-air talent with punchy critiques as we hosted live shows. My favourite email exchange came during a big breaking news story: JZ: ‘Go slow… u will be excited to get thru everything but don’t speak so fast, makes it harder to follow sometimes…be relaxed.’ PM: ‘OK, got it. I’ll drop a Xanax. Or I could try speaking in American?’ JZ: ‘Go with the American.’ PM: ‘AWESOME!’ Ironically, it was Jeff who released me from my NBC contract to go to CNN in the first place, telling me: ‘I’m not in the business of preventing people from living their dreams.’ He later confided that I was traded for the multi-million-dollar rights to buy seven seasons of the hit US legal drama Law and Order. So he knows a good deal when he sees one…

Nigel Farage has already had to battle snakes and munch camel penis in the I’m A Celebrity jungle. It’s an appropriate fate for a man who tried to sabotage my last interview with Donald Trump, despite me previously texting him my congratulations when he did his own chat with him. From my experience, it’s the snakes we should feel sorry for as they come face-to-face with the only cock bigger than a camel penis.

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