Barbra Streisand gave me her withering verdict: ‘You should never sing…’

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Wednesday, May 20

Captain, now Colonel Tom Moore, is to be knighted, it was announced today – a month after we launched a campaign on Good Morning Britain for him to get a gong. The great man recently rang to thank me for helping with his fundraising exploits, which felt a bit like Thierry Henry thanking me for celebrating his goals during Arsenal’s Invincibles season.

A few years ago, I was seated next to Barbra Streisand at a private dinner party in Malibu thrown by music producer David Foster. Barbra, to my bitter disappointment, refused David’s entreaties to sing for us. ‘I never sing at parties,’ she said adamantly

I asked him what the best moment of his whole extraordinary experience has been.

‘I would say just watching that money go up and up,’ he replied. ‘It was absolutely incredible. It all started when my family said they’d give me £1 per lap of the garden if I did 100 laps by my 100th birthday. Then we set up the donation page and raised the target to £1,000, which we never thought we’d reach. So, to end up with over £30 million is beyond anything I imagined possible.’

‘What are you going to do now?’ I said.

‘Put my feet up,’ he chuckled.

If anyone’s earned a rest, it’s the magnificent Colonel Sir Tom.

Thursday, May 21

Least surprising news of the pandemic is that ‘Saint’ Steve Coogan, that fearless crusader against the evil press, is a flaming hypocrite.

Earlier this year, the multi-millionaire socialist boasted he didn’t ‘get anything for free’, claiming: ‘I pay for everything.’

Today, it emerged he’s furloughed the gardener and housekeeper at his £4 million country home, making the public pay 80 per cent of their wages.

He can easily afford his staff’s wages, he’d just rather we fork out for them. ‘If you chase something too desperately, it eludes you,’ Coogan once said.

Yes, especially sainthood.

Monday, May 25

I’ve never met Dominic Cummings, but I did see him across the room a few months ago at media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s star-studded Christmas party, being fêted by other guests like a conquering emperor for delivering Boris Johnson’s election win that guaranteed Brexit got done.

He exuded the smug swagger of someone who didn’t just believe his own bulls*** so much as inhale it with every self-satisfied breath.

And the problem with that affliction, as I’ve occasionally discovered to my own cost over the years, is that your guard comes down and you crash and burn like Maverick in Top Gun when his ego starts writing cheques his body can’t cash.

From the moment ‘Dom the Genius’ claimed the reason he’d broken lockdown to take his wife on a jolly to Barnard Castle on her birthday was to test his eyesight, the whole country snorted with derision at such a preposterous and obvious lie, and he was finished.

Maybe not right now, because Boris is too spineless to sack his chief adviser.

But I’d bet good money Cummings won’t still be working in No 10 by the time of Rupert Murdoch’s next Christmas party.

You can survive anything in politics – except becoming a hypocritical national laughing stock.

Tuesday, May 26

My own career prospects look a lot chirpier.

After watching me grill Government Ministers, Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio tweeted: ‘AC-12’s getting a new Gaffer, PM, seconded from GMB by ONS to investigate PHE-SAGE-UKG NHS PPE case.’

Vicky McClure, who plays Detective Inspector Kate Fleming, promptly tweeted a meme of her with Adrian Dunbar (Superintendent Ted Hastings) and Martin Compston (DS Steve Arnott) all staring at each other in horror.

Then she sent me a private direct message: ‘Let me know how you like your tea…’

Wednesday, May 27

The new issue of Woman’s Own has a sensational cover story: ‘SUSANNA IS A NAG, PIERS IS INSUFFERABLE – Why TV’s breakfast duo love to hate each other.’ I say sensational because unlike 99 per cent of all the women’s magazine cover stories about us, this one’s entirely true.

Thursday, May 28

I was fascinated to see Prince William reveal he leaves out his contact lenses when he has to speak to large audiences because it makes him less nervous.

‘It helps,’ he said in his BBC football mental health documentary, ‘because it’s just a blur of faces and you can’t see anyone looking at you. I can see enough to read the paper and stuff like that, but I can’t see the whole room, and actually that really helps with my anxiety.’

I rarely feel any nerves before speaking in public, even if I have to wing it with no notice, but it’s amazing how many big stars share William’s torment.

A few years ago, I was seated next to Barbra Streisand at a private dinner party in Malibu thrown by music producer David Foster.

Barbra, to my bitter disappointment, refused David’s entreaties to sing for us.

‘I never sing at parties,’ she said adamantly.

‘Why not?’ I asked.

‘I hate performing to an audience where I can see the faces looking at me. I’ve always suffered from stage fright, but as long as I can’t see the faces, I’m usually OK. Singing at a dinner party like this would freak me out!’

Of course, I have no such qualms, and promptly bent to one knee and crooned The Way We Were as I held Barbra’s hand.

When I finished, there was a lengthy silence around the table, then Barbra exploded into giggles and delivered her withering verdict: ‘That’s why you should never sing at dinner parties either, Piers.’

Friday, May 29

I suspect we’ve all developed weird viewing habits during the endless lockdown, just to fill time. I even found myself tonight cheering my old enemy Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You as he committed pre-meditated comedic murder on Dominic Cummings.

But tennis star Andy Murray has been gorging on even more barbaric fare.

‘I’ve just rewatched the over that Brett Lee bowled to you (at you) again this morning!’ he messaged me. ‘What the f*** were you thinking? It’s one of the maddest things I’ve seen in sport… I find myself squirming more and more with each ball. Must have really hurt.’

It did Andy, yes.

But as we great sportsmen know: no pain, no gain.

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