The Richard and Judy way: shifting units from the sofa

Share
Related Topics

Richard and Judy had pulled off a coup: the first British interview with an elected politician who had disgraced himself in office - and secured his survival with a public act of humiliation and contrition.

Richard and Judy had pulled off a coup: the first British interview with an elected politician who had disgraced himself in office - and secured his survival with a public act of humiliation and contrition. Councillor Steve Broomfield, whose disobliging commentary on the Tiny Tigers children's motorcycle display team ("they're crap ... they're boring") had been accidentally broadcast to a large crowd of electors at a summer fair, had decided on a strategy of damage limitation - and Richard and Judy were there to record the suitably abject figure he cut as every one of the Tiny Tigers rode over him on their bikes. And Bill Clinton had popped into the studio too - to sell some books.

If you were wondering why "the most charismatic president since Kennedy" (copyright Judy Finnigan) should have opted for a late-afternoon chat show as, what's claimed to be, his British media debut, the answer is simple. It shifts units like no other programme on the air, and Random House have a huge advance to clear. "In terms of immediate impact on sales, nothing tops Richard & Judy," said Waterstone's chief buyer recently.

It can't have hurt either that Richard and Judy don't exactly have a reputation as Torquemadas of the three-piece suite. Judy opened the procedures with a cautiously quantitative assessment of My Life . "It's an enormous book," she said, before leading into the talk-show meat of Clinton's book - the dysfunctional childhood, family counselling, share-my-pain stuff - which makes him the perfect daytime guest.

He declined Richard Madeley's respectful description of him as having a "split personality" and proposed instead - as he does in the autobiography - that he had merely become adept at living parallel lives, tutored by an alcoholic stepfather who could be loving at one moment and armed and dangerous the next. When he was asked about the Special Relationship, in other words, he could have answered as a distinguished world leader anxious about geo-political stability or as a philandering husband caught being debriefed by an intern. Hardly surprisingly he chose to concentrate on the former.

He was asked about Lewinsky of course - but his answers quickly diverted from the personal failing into the political scandal that he should ever have been found out. "I knew that the whole thing was illegitimate," he said, when Richard asked him how he'd held it together psychologically while lying to everyone that mattered to him - and quite a few who didn't.

Hillary, it seems, was even more indignant at the way in which the American people had been let down by Kenneth Starr. But the former president did confirm that he really had had a sustained relationship with the White House couch - an intimate confession that had aroused scepticism in some quarters here. He couldn't recall the day on which Hillary let him back in the marital bed - "I didn't note it in my calendar," he said, a little ungallantly.

He finished with election talk. John Kerry is unlikely to be overwhelmed by his fellow Democrat's endorsement - "He has a better than 50-50 chance of winning now" - but Tony Blair had no cause to complain: the Prime Minister's tricky relationship with Europe and America being described in sympathetic tones by a man who knows what it's like to keep a triangle in good repair.

And then it was time to deploy the charisma elsewhere. "I wish we could do it for another hour," he said. Judy glowed, but I'm willing to bet he's used that line before.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing