(the runup to Easter)


You know this gentleman? Kevin Clifton from Strictly (husband of the professional I danced with, Karen) — who came within a centimetre of winning in 2015, and like his dad Keith is a Chelsea fan! My daughter couldn’t come to the West Ham game so Kevin came on her ticket. The score was 2-2 but it was a great chance to catch up. Still can’t quite believe this stadium is going to be demolished, along with my beautiful seats.


Sunday IMG_3645

Hope I’m not a bad dad. My wife was working today so I said to the girls, “Let’s go cycling.” They refused. So I tried, “Let’s play pinball.” That worked, and we fitted in a cycle ride to the pinball establishment too. People say the test of convenience is how far you have to walk from your home to buy a newspaper or pint of milk — but I reckon the key facility everyone needs within a mile of their home is a bank of old-style pinball machines. (Place to go: Chief Coffee, just off Turnham Green Terrace, W4. @chief_coffee)



My mum sends me this picture of my dad by text. It is their wedding anniversary and they have gone down to Eastbourne for some sea air — as well as sea spray and sideways rain — and she wants me to know that they are ready to hear my show wherever their walk takes them. “We have our Walkman,” texts mum, and my dad is seen waiting for the 1130 trail with Ken Bruce. Love them!



What can I say? My Radio 2 script on the day of the Brussels bombing shows my scrawled notes in felt tip — 26 for the number of dead, “inside” a reference to where our correspondent says the two bombs at the airport were, “airport security” the bigger theme we must surely be moving to in the coming days. A dark time for Europe and for anyone who loves the feel of spring sunshine on their face.


This woman is phenomenal. Denise Gough in “People, Places & Things” — she is onstage throughout the entire performance while we watch her battle with drink and drugs (and especially with the people around her who try to help). At the end she got a massive standing ovation. Apparently the writer was in the crowd tonight at the Wyndham Theatre. I always wonder what that’s like: seeing the play you wrote performed to an audience who hang on every word. Go see this if you can — Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor, told me it was “one of the best plays I have ever seen.”

ThursdayFile 29-03-2016, 08 58 16

A great encounter on the road. I have the day off my show to go to Cardiff because producer Chris Walsh-Heron and I are preparing five packages we are calling “Tower” — about the area behind the Bay Area in Cardiff. The bit right beside Cardiff Bay has been renovated with the new Welsh Assembly building and Nando’s. Fair enough. But a hundred yards back from the snazzy waterfront are poorer communities disrupted by all the change. Haifa stays positive on the 15th floor and hopes to build a brilliant business: I bet she does, too.

Easter WeekendFile 29-03-2016, 09 05 03 (1)

Not sure if there’s anything more calming than an English rural church. This is my favorite, chiefly because of my personal connection to Devon and to these four walls (and windows!). St John The Evangelist in Tipton St John, near Sidmouth, is where I got married in 2002; we were back here for Easter, visiting my wife’s family. Revd Mark Ward did the impossible — preached a ten-minute sermon. There was communion and above all that beautiful light as the choir took bread and wine. Such a beautiful place, and thanks to those who live in the village for being so welcoming to visitors.



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