Pete Waterman: 'By Simon Cowell's standards I'm a pussycat'

The music mogul admitted he wasn't as 'ruthless' as colleague Cowell

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The Independent Culture

Music producer Pete Waterman may have the business acumen to rival Simon Cowell, but admits he is a “pussycat” compared to Cowell when it comes to making ruthless decisions.

He said: ““I’m not as ruthless as Simon is. I wish I was. I think I’ve admitted that I’m pretty hard, but by Simons’ standards, I’m a pussycat.”

Waterman, 66, fell out with Cowell publicly when he refused to serve as a judge on his ITV talent show The X Factor. The two are friends but have enjoyed a rivalrous professional relationship.

Speaking on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Waterman said he was touched by Cowell’s kind words he recently said about him on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the US.

“He never needs to give me the credit that he does on the Oprah Winfrey Show, whatever he does,” he said.

“But he has never forgotten that I always stood by him and whatever he wanted I did. Sometimes it was difficult but I was there to give him the breaks when he needed the breaks.”

The Coventry-born producer, who built a career as a DJ before turning to music management, also spoke about learning to read and write for the first time in his 30s.

He recalled an incident when he had to ask his bank manager to write out a cheque for a Ferrari he bought because he could not spell.

He said: “I had a secret friend. He was called my bank manager. And the first Ferrari I bought, I said, ‘I need a cheque for 33,000 pounds making out to this company.’ And he wrote it out for me. I could probably spell thirty, but definitely I couldn’t spell the rest of it.”

He added: “I never felt shy of [my illiteracy]. I never was ashamed of my education. It gave me a passion, and when I did find books, I devoured them.”

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Pete Waterman airs 25 October 2013, 9pm, ITV