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Rebecca Tyrrel

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Who knew that Charlie Brooks' ideal weekend would involve dinner with Jeremy Clarkson?'


Who knew that Charlie Brooks needs not one wink of sleep? You might have guessed that his duties as husband to Rebekah, riding chum of the Prime Minister, columnist, novelist and recent arrestee on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, would infringe on his bye-byes a little. But hardly to the extent he revealed two years ago in a newspaper feature entitled 'My Perfect Weekend'.

In the light of what has been going on in the life of this key member of the Chipping Norton set, some of the words that follow are unbearably poignant. So hankies at the ready as we take a brief trip to that other country that was the perfect Friday to Monday of yesterday, way back when David and Sam Cam could pop by the barn, which is just not something they do anymore. Tell us Charlie, tell us:

"Any ideal weekend would involve a dinner in our barn [in the Cotswolds] with Jeremy Clarkson, as he makes me laugh a lot..." Aaah, and who knew that insomniacs could be so very easily amused? "We would stay up till 4am discussing something like whether Sheryl Crow would fancy Keeley [the glamour model]."

But Charlie, that is such a late night. You must have had to lie in pretty late the next morning to catch up on your sleep? Apparently not. "I find it most productive," he says, "to get up at 4am and write till 8am." Blimey, that is impressive, staying up until 4am and then getting up at 4am – to think that we were in awe of Mrs Thatcher and her four hours a night.

Other high points of Charlie's perfect weekend include riding to hounds when he would "...accidentally chase a fox – accidents do happen, after all... for 10 miles over about 30 hedges". Oh Charlie you are a one, accidentally defying the hunting ban like that.

Incredibly, and I think that this is rather sweet, Charlie believes there is still time in this fantasy weekend, for "a whirlwind trip to Venice... for lunch at Harry's Bar".

Well, let's hope so, but in the meantime we must think about Norman Stanley Fletcher in HMP Slade – why oh why is he suddenly called to mind, I wonder, whose only whirlwind trip would be not to Harry's Bar, but to Genial Harry Grout's cell.