Man About Town: How I finally cornered Ricky Gervais

Premieres can be like extremely well-dressed celebrity battlefields

I was standing on the red carpet, in the cold, trying to grab Ricky Gervais.

Making it there in the first place was a victory in itself as I had been told that I wasn’t allowed to leave the journalists’ pen. The organisers didn’t really want me there, but I wasn’t going to move. In the end, they were too busy (and, ultimately, too decent) to put up much of a fight.

I’ve complained here before about how members of the print press have a tougher deal when it comes to red carpets. As they are regularly stuck, unloved in a corner, the poor, freezing hacks are often bypassed the major stars who make beeline for the cameras, and get cosy under the broadcasters’ warm lights.

But on Monday I changed sides, and got to see how the other half live at the premiere of Muppets Most Wanted. I was covering the premiere for London Live, the new TV channel launching in the capital on Monday. And  every evening London Go, will be bringing viewers news from the big events in the capital.

Premieres can be like extremely well-dressed celebrity battlefields - hostile publicists, grasping fans and competing egos (mainly from the journalists, that is) – can all knock you off your stride.

The broadcast hacks have their own code too, I discovered when I selfishly (in hindsight) interrupted a Radio 1 interview with a British actor. To Matt Edmondson, I am very sorry.

But still no Ricky, everyone wanted to chat to him. He came and spoke to the crew next to me before being whisked away. I spoke to the Ty Burrell (of the brilliant Modern Family fame) and the director James Bobin.

I had a conversation off camera with his publicist (which may have involved some considerable begging on my part), but it seemed like it might be all too late. Just as I was giving up hope, Gervais appeared.

When he arrived he was a generous and enthusiastic interview subject. He laughs generously at your jokes and, unlike plenty of others actors I’ve encountered, is infectiously enthusiastic about the film. And made me look forward to interviewing even more on the carpet.

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