Piers Morgan reveals he was offered a record deal after stripping off and singing in a bar

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Like the human equivalent of Marmite, you either love Piers Morgan or you hate him – but either way there’s no escaping him.

Next week, the Good Morning Britain co-host takes a break from terrorising Twitter, to bring back Life Stories, the ITV chat show in which he grills celebs on the truth behind the headlines.

Piers has had everyone from Cheryl to Michael Barrymore in the hot seat and will return with two special episodes, featuring lockdown hero Sir Captain Tom Moore and the show’s first returning guest, Vinnie Jones.

The pals, who go back years, will discuss the loss of Vin’s beloved wife Tanya to cancer as well as his unexpected (but brilliant) stint on last year’s The X Factor: Celebrity. Meanwhile, Sir Tom will be looking back over his phenomenal achievement of raising more than £32m for the NHS at the height of the pandemic.

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Getting the goss from the guys should be a walk in the park for Piers, who lives with wife, writer Celia Walden, 44, and has four children. After all, he’s been a journalist for 35 years and his reinvention from former tabloid editor to polarising TV personality has had people riled up no end – he isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions, no matter who he’s interviewing. President Trump, we’re looking at you.

Here, Piers, 55, tells new magazine all about the new series of Life Stories, his favourite ever guest and the bizarre moment he was offered a record deal…

Are you looking forward to speaking with Vinnie again?

Absolutely. Vinnie’s the first time we’ve ever had a guest return. I knew his wife Tanya for a long time and I observed at first hand the extraordinary marriage that they had, through thick and thin for many years, and then ultimately their wonderful love story ending in complete tragedy.

His life has now been two lives. One with Tanya, and one that he is trying to build now after her. And I think that’s going to make for a very powerful show to watch.

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You’ve known Vinnie for years, haven’t you?

Gosh, I first met him when I was a local reporter and he was playing for Wimbledon as part of their infamous Crazy Gang! Over the years I’ve employed Vinnie as a columnist, then I had to fire him and I’ve been in a nightclub when someone has come up behind me and nearly throttled me to death and I’ve suddenly realised it was Vinnie. So it’s fair to say we’ve had our ups and downs, but in the past few years I’ve got to know him really well by playing golf with him in LA. We’ve become great friends.

We’re expecting it to be emotional!

Well, I think it would be very surprising if someone talked about their entire life and at no point felt emotional about it. Sir Michael Parkinson was a great example of that. I never thought he would get tearful but we talked about his dad who had died 50 years earlier, and to my complete surprise he got very, very emotional discussing it.

I know when I did Cheryl Cole, at the time that we did it just after her marriage break-up from Ashley Cole, that it was going to be emotional. And it was.

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And as for Sir Tom, you championed him from the start…

He’s such a remarkable man who nobody had ever heard of six months ago, and now he’s one of the most famous people in the world. And he has done it by walking 100 laps of his garden. It’s one of the most extraordinary stories I’ve ever encountered in my journalistic career. I feel very proud I’ve got to know Captain Tom – he rings me up and we have chats. He tells me he can’t believe his luck.

You campaigned for his knighthood. Do you think we’ll have Sir Piers soon?

I think the chances of “Arise, Sir Piers” coming out of Her Majesty’s mouth are at the lower end of the probability spectrum. In the same way I wish I had rushed out and put a bet on Captain Tom being knighted, I would probably put a bet on me not being. It would be a safer bet.

If you did a ‘Piers Meets Piers’ edition of Life Stories, what do you think people would be surprised to learn about you?

I was once offered a record contract by a record executive in a Barbados club at 3am in the morning, after stripping off to the waist, putting on a bandana and singing Live And Let Die – the Axl Rose version. That was one of the more surprising moments of my career. He was deadly serious. But it turns out I could only sing it as well as I did that night after about a bottle of Jack Daniels. Which I don’t think would be conducive to a long career in the music business.

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Quite! Who’s been your most nerve-wracking interview on Life Stories?

Sharon Osbourne. Whenever you interview her there’s always quite a high risk of being physically assaulted at some stage. I think I pushed a few buttons with her. She’s like one of those Pomeranian dogs she’s got. One false move and they start fighting! But she’s also one of my favourite people in the world.

Have any of your interviews made a lasting impression?

When I interviewed Simon Cowell – who I owe a lot to for my career in many ways, especially in America because he took me to America’s Got Talent – he got emotional about his father, who died on the happiest day of his life.

It was the day he had his first No.1 hit. Right there, is what life can be like. You have this tremendous moment of happiness and it can be met by a crushing moment of tragedy within an hour. I think that really defined Simon and made him realise life is short. I was reminded of that with his accident recently. He was trying out a new motorised bike and you never know when something can happen. Thank God he’s alright.

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Saturday, 10pm, ITV

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