When I had dinner with Tony Blair a few months ago, I got talking to Charlotte Church about the terrible habit that minor celebrities have of name dropping. Lorraine Kelly was sitting on my other side and she told us a wonderful anecdote about the time the interviewed Prince Charles and he told her how he regretted not having got to know Gandhi better than he did. We all agreed that dropping Gandhi’s name into a conversation is about as good a name-drop as you can get and then but we questioned whether this made Charles a minor celebrity. That’s when Tony chipped in and explained that Nelson Mandala always told him that Gandhi was one of his heroes too. That’s when Cherie came in with the pudding and George Michael nipped out to the bathroom.
The point I’m trying to make here is that when you mix with the stars, it’s inevitable that you get to know some of them socially. Judy and I try to live a normal life and refuse to live by the conventions of the celebrity lifestyle. Just today, for instance, Judy is busy in the garden building a new rockery with just Kim Wilde and Katie Melua to help her. Having friends over is a good anecdote to glamour. It helps you keep real. When you get up in the morning and find the lovely Clare Balding brewing a cup of tea in your kitchen and you notice that she’s got dirty nails, you tend to realise that we’re all really the same and there’s no such thing as being a star.
Today is a grey Wednesday so I think we need some celebrity facts to inspire us. Did you know that Des O’Connor has a stoat farm in Norfolk? Not only that, he is considered the father of the UK stoat industry. He’s not the only celebrity to have an odd hobby. Billy Connolly drives tractors for fun and Adrian Chiles is a Latin American dance champion. Not all celebrities spend the hobby time in selfish fun. You can only admire the work Jo Brand does for many UK charities and still finds time to spend her weekends helping to restore the spire on Lincoln Cathedral.