What a bizarre sandwich to be the filling for...
Indeed. I must admit, when they told me I would be doing a paper review on Andrew Marr with Alice Cooper I did wonder how it would go. I was reassured that Helena Kennedy would be there too. She and I have done this before and I've always got on very well with her, partly because she's so transparently nice but we share a similar outlook on civil liberties issues.
I arrived at TV Centre at 7.45 and slipped in behind Alice Cooper and his entourage of four. The BBC runner thought I was his bodyguard, I think. I chose my three stories - firefighters, ginger rodents and Ann Widdecombe while Alice was getting his makeup done. I don't think I am talking out of school to say that it took him considerably longer than it took me. The make-up woman said what all make up artists say to me: "Ooh, you've got a lovely colour, have you been on holiday?" Inwardly, I sigh. "No, it's my natural colour," I reply, wondering at the same time if that sounds awfully pretentious. I think I have some southern French blood in me somewhere. My mother's maiden name was French.
Anyway we had about 20 minutes to go before the programme started so we talked a bit about Alice Cooper's show at the Roundhouse tonight - and no, he didn't offer Helena and I free tickets, before anyone asks. He also told us about the time he thought he might be in the Big Brother house with Ann Widdecombe. "You must tell that on air," Helena and I chorused together. And so he did.
Just before 9 we were taken into the studio and sat on the famous sofa. I felt a little odd sitting in the middle, but before I had time to be nervous, off we went. I won't recount the conversation but I think of the four or five times I have done the Frost or Marr programme, this was the most enjoyable. Sometimes, when there are three paper reviewers, one gets a bit left out - and that happened to me the first time I appeared with David Frost back in 2003 when I was on with Polly Toynbee and the man who plays Trigger from Only Fools & Horses. And I have to admit, when I am on with two people who are far better known than me, I have a tendency to defer to them. But today, I felt we all got a fair crack of the whip and had a genuinely interesting conversation. At least, that's how it felt sitting on the sofa.
Unless, of course, you know different!
UPDATE: If you want to watch the paper review part of the programme, click HERE and scroll in 6 minutes. It lasts 14 minutes.