Media: Can a cut-glass Brit cut Kitty Kelley to the quick? Not if she sees him coming

British journalists in the US have a new role now: talking Kitty Kelley or even talking to Kitty Kelley. Our man's moment came on the high- profile Gerraldo show. Stiletto in hand he went off to puncture the sycophancy of her media round. Did she see him coming? Did she see him off? Or did she set him off on a path to new visibility in mobile homes from coast to coast?

The perks of the job. Not only do I have my own copy of The Royals by Kitty Kelley, but I had it two days ahead of the American masses. My copy, moreover, has a personal dedication scribbled in the front by the lady herself. We have, of course, met. Friends, however, we are not.

To explain. For two weeks now I have been nurturing another career, or call it a crash course, in parallel with my job as The Independent's man in New York. I am now a resident Brit talking head, called up constantly by the news-come-chat shows that have spread like mould across the television schedules of America.

The topic used to be the monarchy and its fate post-Diana. Then, starting a week ago, it was dishing the dirt on the book that dishes the dirt: The Royals, Kitty Kelley's trash-trawling biography of the Windsors, which its publishers dare not sell in Britain.

Passing the occasional hour knocking Ms Kelley's cream-puff tome soon became quite fun. Never mind that with every show, whatever the likes of me have got to say, her sales entered another layer of the stratosphere. Then, on Thursday, came The Call. Would I do Rivera Live, a 9pm talk show that tackles legal issues on the cable channel, CNBC? Among the other guests - Kelley herself. Though Ms Kelley had been giving one-on-one interviews all week, this would be her first with a wider panel.

It soon became clear that it wouldn't be quite as easy as that.

In the afternoon, the producer is on the phone: Ms Kelley is willing to appear with two other "experts" booked for the show - Richard Mineards, a Brit royal-watcher who lives in New York, and an English freelancer in Los Angeles called Martin Lewis - but not with me. She, or her handlers, had specifically nixed The Independent.

Almost flattered, I leave for the studio anyway. At the least, I could join the others and the programme's host, Gerraldo Rivera, for the last half-hour, when Ms Kelley would no longer be on. And if, before broadcast time, I could charm Ms Kelley into changing her mind, so much the better.

Charm Ms Kelley? That's a funny one. When Ms Kelley is around there is only one person who does the charming, and that's her. From the moment she graces the "green room" - the holding space for guests for such shows, with stale biscuits and coffee - I am in awe as she casts her spell.

Petite and attractive with great cheekbones and a perfectly sculpted bob of blond hair, it is almost as if she has observed and absorbed every intonation of English nobility at afternoon tea, or at least the cliche of English nobility at afternoon tea. She sits, she simpers and inclines her head. Here is a first-hand glimpse of how Ms Kelley must have worked all those sources she has claimed on her four years of research trips to London. Many a man must have buckled. With flashing eyes and pursed lips, she has that Thatcher capacity to flirt to the point of mesmerising. She closes in on Mineards at once to swap easy chatter about common acquaintances.

My clumsy attempts at ingratiation are in vain. Nothing to do with me, Kelley insists, those eyes working overtime. Blame for my being frozen out is laid with her publicist, Lynne Goldberg, who has settled on the sofa beside me. "I don't want anyone ganging up on Kitty," Ms Goldberg says. The show begins and I remain in green-room exile.

The show is a triumph for Ms Goldberg. Kitty, it quickly emerges, has nothing to fear here. Her three interlocutors - Mineards, Lewis and Rivera himself - gasp approvingly at each "revelation" dug out from the book and vie with each other to offer the next profound remark about the irreversible crumbling of the monarchy.

Forty-five minutes through the show, I am still in the green room - Ms Goldberg is apprising me of the importance of these chat shows and how they have rendered traditional book-signing tours almost unnecessary - and I am in a rage. This is more than a puff for Kitty Kelley, it is a naked infomercial. Perhaps this was the producer's strategy all along.

Suddenly, the make-up lady is back upon me and in the two minutes of a commercial break I am rushed to my own seat and Rivera coffee mug alongside Mineards. My job, with just 12 minutes of live airtime to go, is clear. I must stop all of this.

Rottweiler has never been my middle name, but I did try. Friends, who of course are hardly objective in such matters, are still cheering now. I go on air, armed with page numbers and passages, to show how the sourcing in the book is sloppy and unconvincing. Would this put the wind through her coiffure?

An inquiry as to just what was she doing, in chapter six for instance, so glibly quoting a duke who had been dead for more than 30 years, at least sends her scurrying for the lengthy chapter notes at the back of the book. And why, if she was so sure of this slew of doubtful tittle- tattle and recycled scandal for which she had been paid so many millions, did she not dare to publish in Britain? It is not as if - as had been implied all week - the shelves of WH Smith's and Waterstone's are devoid of unauthorised biographies.

When the red light went off for an advertising break, there I was sitting inches from the author during the advertising break. Eyes still alight, Ms Kelley leaned across and, with delicately pitched sarcasm, urged me to stay on the same track playing the "pompous Brit reporter".

And so I did, further opining somewhat piously in, according to Kelley, my "cut-glass Brit accent". (You would have thought she would have liked it, but never mind.)

In a blink it was all over.

Will I have stalled her sales at all with my garbled assault? Of course not. It was a hopeless effort, except as a little advertisement for myself to producers of other shows who may now want to book me. (Next stop: a live appearance with Nancy Sinatra tonight, who will spew scorn on the book Kelley wrote about her father, Frank.)

Before I had gone on, Ms Goldberg had suggested that we have lunch this week. I am not sure whether that will happen now. I do, however, still have my copy of The Royals to treasure. With author's inscription: "To David. Read each chapter and then push on for a little documentation in the chapter notes. Don't forget to wave to me when you collect your Pulitzer!! Best, KK."

Ouch.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

    Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

    Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

    £10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

    £17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable