How We Met: Matthew Cain & Will Young

'It went horribly wrong: he thought I was over the top, I thought he was haughty'

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The Independent Online

Matthew Cain, 35

After a 10-year career as a documentary-maker, Cain moved in front of the camera as culture editor at Channel 4. He has just completed the series 'What Makes a Masterpiece?', which airs in January. He lives in north London.

We didn't like each other when we first met. It was at the South Bank Show Awards in about 2004. I was producing and he was booked to perform. We met because I sat him on my table as I was a fan and wanted to get to know him – but it all went horribly wrong. He thought I was over the top; I thought he was haughty.

A few years after that I got to thinking he'd be a great subject for a documentary, and approached his record company. I thought he was interesting as although he was the first musician to come through a reality TV show, he didn't fit the mould – he was too clever, too posh and gay.

The idea was that I would follow him round for six months with a hand-held camera. I remember the first day of filming, afterwards I said to my assistant, "He's really difficult, this is going to be a nightmare." I didn't realise at the time Will had also gone straight to his assistant and said, "I've got to get out of this."

Looking back I don't understand how we could have got off on such a wrong foot because we absolutely love each other. What I like is that we have a whole range of experiences together. We can have really intelligent conversations and we can have idle banter.

He's also really emotionally intelligent. When I started my new job stepping in front of the camera for the first time, it also went horribly wrong and my confidence was destroyed. I phoned Will, who was doing something glamorous like lying by a pool in LA, and he talked me through it. Afterwards I was raring to go.

I always tell Will I'm a huge fan but he never believes me. I say to him, "Sing to me, William, sing to me," but he never does. I always end up singing to him, doing songs from the Evita soundtrack. Sometimes, begrudgingly, he joins in.

I call Will my sister. When you are gay, growing up as an outsider, I think your friends come to mean more to you.

I'd dearly love to see him meet his prince, fall in love and settle down. He says the same about me. He has promised to sing at my wedding, if I ever find the right man. I'll hold him to that.

Will Young, 32

After winning the inaugural series of 'Pop Idol' in 2002, Young has gone on to have numerous hit singles and three UK number-one albums. He has more recently branched out into acting; his TV credits include 'Skins' and 'Bedlam'. He lives in east London.

I didn't like Matt much at first. We met at an awards show – I think he was on our table or was helping with our table or something. He was quite loud, all, "Hi darling, how are you," and I was like, "Oh my god, who is this person?"

A few years later he said he wanted to do a South Bank Show programme about me. He asked a few times, but I was very wary, because it was him. But eventually I agreed and the first time we properly met was when we started actually filming. He came to my dressing-room and kept asking questions. I think I said something like, "When I'm on stage I still feel shit about myself," and he was like, "Why, darling, why?" He was so probing; I thought I'd made a terrible mistake.

But he actually came into my life at a great time – I'd just become a lot happier. I'd written an album coming out of a relationship and was enjoying work. We spent six months doing the documentary and because we were spending so much time together, because he wouldn't get off my back, we became closer. When it was finished, I remember thinking now it's over, will we remain friends? We just carried on as before. We started going to the theatre and talking a lot on the phone. Weirdly, having thought that we were so different to begin with, we discovered we were actually quite similar.

At the end of last year I became an executive producer on the Coriolanus film. I asked Matt if he would do a documentary on it. So we went to Serbia together and the whole thing was hysterical. I remember being there with Ralph Fiennes, obviously an amazing man, and there were me and Matt and I'd be there sticking my finger through my jeans and pretending it was my knob – just really the most immature thing – on the set of this very powerful movie that I was investing in. We just made each other laugh the whole time.

I don't think it's weird Matt's a fan. Maybe it was when we first met, but it's not like he's writing me letters or stealing my underwear. He's so supportive of me.

He's a great communicator and a very good listener. He may also be one of the cleverest people I know. You could easily underestimate him as he's very sparky and friendly. But he knows everything about everything. It's really annoying.

The Will Young album 'Echoes' is out now on RCA. 'What Makes a Masterpiece?' airs on More4 at 9pm on 14 and 21 January