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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Sharon Osbourne, ITV1

Did we like it?
Piers Morgan lacks the inquisitorial skills and Sharon Osbourne is utterly bereft of cultural significance, therefore casting this indulgent, cosseted chinwag to be more akin to a corporate chinwag an insurance salesmen’s conference.

What was good about it?
• Aimee Osbourne, Sharon’s eldest daughter offered the most precious insights into her mother’s behaviour, but was far too often cut off once she had delivered a bite-sized quote.

What was bad about it?
• Morgan’s biggest flaw is that he is incapable of expressing anything close to sincerity – mankind is far close to orbiting the planets of Alpha Centauri than Piers is to feeling a rush of compassion cascade through his veins, or for empathy to punch through his eyes in the form of tears.
• Perhaps it’s because he spent much of his career working for media organs that are hewn for readers to satisfy their bestial impulses while leaving their reason and rationality far, far away. Or he may have got an odium booster from his time spent sitting next to that one-woman plague of intolerance Amanda Platell, one of the few people in the British media as unpleasant as Morgan.
• Whatever the cause, he conducts interviews with the same bashful gaucheness as a bloated lorry driver shopping for his wife’s tampons in the supermarket. Every question is more of a prompt for an anecdote so wizened and oft told it’s sprouted a wispy beard and has started to call all its seven children Montague.
• Every time Morgan speaks he just pulls a string stained with the yellow bile of Sharon’s already publicised dislike of Danni Minogue from her chattering maw. He appears incapable of spontaneity, answering her rants either with a nervous laugh or blankly trying to remember what’s next on his resolute list of questions. It’s the same technique malicious parents use to impress their friends when they give their offspring a slice of lemon, and laugh as their little face curdles.
• There’s never a sense that Piers is asking after Tomas de Torquemada’s job as chief inquisitor as even the ‘difficult’ questions were little more than rehashes of episodes in Sharon’s life that she has repeated over and over again (largely because of her fame by association). He even asks that mos6t trite of queries more commonly seen in magazines deposited in hospital waiting room as they are so cerebrally toxic even landfill sites won’t have them: “What would you like your epitaph so say?” It’s only a wonder he didn’t ask her favourite colour.
• Even his revelation that Rebecca Loos is his second cousin was performed with the aching wooden theatrics of an infant school play. First he baited her into insulting her before ‘hitting’ her with the surprise. But it’s not really a revelation, everyone has at least one second cousin who is famous; ours for example, invented the space plane (a far worthier contribution than Osbourne, Morgan, or indeed Loos, can muster).
• Piers’ teeth are so white they would have had their own vote in Apartheid-era South Africa.
• After Sharon recounted the time Ozzy tried to strangle her, it struck as that, for an attempted murderer, he’s escaped the usual flurry of public wrath. His ‘excuse’ was that he was blotto on drink and drugs, and implicitly excused all responsibility for his actions. This is, in short, bollocks. Anyone who consumes mind bending substances assumes culpability for all their actions the moment said substance enters their mouth – while Ozzy may have been off his head on drugs, there was some point in the past when he made a conscious decision to indulge, and from that point he is answerable for all his misdemeanours.
• She also has this annoying verbal tic – perhaps born of nobody believing a word she says – in which she has to overstress points, “I never, ever, ever did that…”, or “I’ve got to be totally truthful…”. Why bother with such extraneous affirmation unless we’re supposed to imagine everything else she said has been half-truths or lies?
• But Sharon is an unworthy subject for interview because she hasn’t contributed one atom to the cultural richness of the country. Her skill, and it is a formidable skill, is in facilitating the talents of others, most notably Ozzy, to ensure they make the most money. It’s seems almost irrelevant that Ozzy’s best musical moments came in the early 70s, as his greatest fame and fortune arrived when she marketed him as a bumbling rock musician with a dysfunctional family.
• And if interviewing one businesswoman wasn’t bad enough, next week there’s another rotten apple from the corporate tree – it’s Richard Branson.
• “I know how the press work!” crowed Sharon on the subject of her ‘feud’ with Danni Minogue. She claimed that the antipathy was genuine, and was in no way false. Perhaps we believe her, but even before this dispute each Wednesday or Thursday, there’s always some ‘gossip’ ‘leaked’ from X-Factor to drum excitement for the coming week, and a common theme of these ‘leaks’ is jealousy and spite between two women.

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