How We Met: Jamie Oliver and Justin Lee Collins

'When I get with him, I'm worse than I am with anyone else - pathetic in fact'
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The Independent Online

Jamie Oliver, TV chef, entrepreneur and saviour of school dinners, is 31 and lives in north London with Jools and his two children, Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo

He's a lovely boy. But he brings out the worst in me. Around him I go all childish and overexcited. Before I met him I saw him on TV and I thought he must be related to the Giant Haystacks. Then I guest presented The Friday Night Project with him. To get to know him and Alan [Carr] I had them round to my gaff, Fifteen, for dinner the night before the show, gave them some nice food, nice wine, looked after them. We agreed to go hell for leather on the show, to take the piss out of each other and not worry about it. And we ended up having a real laugh that night, getting drunker and drunker. They are properly funny people. In actual fact I don't advise going out to dinner with them because you're constantly laughing so much you want to throw up.

We kept in touch after the show, had a few nights out; he came along when I took eight boys away on a 4x4 weekend at Babington House, for my 30th - though I was actually 31 by the time I did it. It was great, just food and booze and filth, driving massive tanks and eight-wheel things through mud and water and shit. JLC was great - totally up for it - and he made friends with my friends easily, like my school mate Andy the gas man and Dexter Fletcher. They all keep in touch now.

When I get with Justin I become worse than I am with anyone else - pathetic in fact. The other night he had the idea for this prank where he rang up the senior producer and said, "Jamie's just got offended and stormed off set, says he's not doing the show." The producer went mental. Then we were meant to be filming the other day but without telling the producer I wrapped Alan and Justin in plastic sheets and put them in the back of my car. I just drove them up these bumpy roads and hilltops. There was a cream cake in the back and it was flying everywhere.

Every evening out ends in lots of drink and Justin taking his clothes off. Bad behaviour. Not strippers-and-drugs bad, cos at heart we're both quite good boys. Bad in a childish way. Kinda secondary school.

Does he have good taste in food? Dreadful. He loves curry, curry and curry. I don't know if he even knows what curry he likes - he just likes the format of rice, some kinda protein and a browny-reddy sauce. But he will try new things. He's like: "What's this?! I've never had this before. This is lovely!" I like going out with people who haven't tried that many things, because that's the joy of food, really, isn't it?

Dare I say it, a lot of famous people or people in the public eye are not interested in anyone else. They don't really listen. But he does. He's such a nice, gentle guy. There's a lot of knobs in entertainment, people that are really funny but that you wouldn't want to hang out with. JLC is different.

Justin Lee Collins, 32, worked as a double-glazing demonstrator before establishing himself as a stand-up comic. Now a successful TV presenter, he lives in Bristol with his wife Karen and son Archie.

We just clicked when I went over to his restaurant, Fifteen. That was where we made a proper bond, not in front of the cameras. We got on famously. The show we recorded the next day was probably my favourite ever.

Then shortly afterwards we went to his 31st birthday party in Essex, a 1960s fancy-dress party. That was the first time I'd been invited somewhere by him as a friend and I didn't really know what to expect. I thought Brad Pitt and Tony Blair might be mooching around. But in fact I got to meet his mum and his dad, and his school friends. It wasn't celeb central - it was just lovely.

That's what I love about him, I guess, the fact that he's just a normal guy, a lovely, decent, warm person who happens to have this phenomenal success.

We're both very energetic - hyperactive, even. He's got a very creative mind and he's always on. He finds it hard to switch off and so do I, so perhaps I see myself in him a little. Except I can't cook.

Jamie takes a sick delight in putting me in uncomfortable positions. I would laugh too if only I weren't rolling about in the back of his Land Rover covered in cake. Another time we were filming this "Meet The Parents" sequence for The Friday Night Project, and I went to round to his mum's. But she kept putting her hand on my knee, saying "Jamie's dad's away... Shall we have fun later?"

I smelled a rat but I was just like, "Oh yes, I'm sure we'll all have a very fun day today!" Then his real mum came out - the other one was an actress.

Jamie has compromising pictures of me. That weekend away at Babington I woke up and I could hear this little clicking noise. Well, my room was on the ground floor and Jamie had climbed up at the window and was taking pictures of me. I was stark naked, I do sleep naked - call me a pervert if you like - and there he was, snapping away. I didn't stop to ask whether it was a Canon or not, that's for sure.

He's the most generous person. He gives so much and seems to expect nothing back. I was in New York back last summer and Jamie rang me by chance, when I was trying on some shorts in Abercrombie and Fitch. When he heard I was in New York he pulled some strings and got us into this restaurant Babbo for dinner that night. When we got back we saw this list of top Manhattan restaurants. Number one was Babbo. You don't even have to be with him and he's still doing lovely things.

I wanted to get him a present but it's hard to know what. My mum said, "Why don't you give him a nice bit of Bristol glass." Did I? No, I didn't.

Justin Lee Collins hosts 'The Friday Night Project' on Channel 4, this Friday at 10pm

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