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Amol Rajan challenges Piers Morgan on phone hacking – but he’s quickly outwitted

From his loathing of the Duchess to Sussex to phone hacking at the Daily Mirror, Morgan batted away all of Rajan's trump cards with ease

Morgan and Rajan chatted over pints in the pub

The worst genre of interview is celebrities interviewing other celebrities. Glossy magazines like to feature these, and they bore everyone but the subjects to tears. “Tell me,” Gwyneth Paltrow might ask Taylor Swift, “Why are you so beautiful and talented?” “Oh, I’m just committed to my craft,” will come the humble reply. “But let me ask you a question. Why are you so beautiful and talented?”

Second worst genre: journalists interviewing other journalists. Which brings us to Amol Rajan Interviews: Piers Morgan (BBC iPlayer).

The first problem here is that journalism is a small world, so these two are a bit close for comfort. They’re both big beasts of the media world and Rajan clearly has a lot of admiration for Morgan. The tone was too pally. At one point they went for a pint. Not that every interview needs to be a Paxman-style savaging, but a bit of tension doesn’t go amiss.

The other problem in this particular case is that you can’t get one over on a man who has mastered the genre. Morgan has spent so long interviewing people that he knows the game. Questions that Rajan hoped would deliver maximum impact just floated to the ground. “Do you pray?” “When was the last time you were kind, or is that too damaging to the brand?” “Are you a narcissist or what?” He asked if Morgan’s well-documented loathing of the Duchess of Sussex was rooted in misogyny, but had no comeback when Morgan said that he was equally critical of her husband.

Rajan did go in with the hard questions on phone hacking at Mirror Group Newspapers. But all he got back were denials, and in the end he let Morgan circle back to criticising the Duke of Sussex.

This is not to say that the encounter was dull. Morgan understands entertainment and has made a career out of voicing forthright opinions. “I like winding up the type of people who I would travel continents to avoid,” he said cheerfully, while claiming that he is hated by people in the Twitter bubble but gets a much warmer reception from people in the street.

Actually, “forthright” only goes halfway to covering Morgan’s thoughts on Alex Beresford, the weather presenter who prompted him to walk out of Good Morning Britain – and ultimately quit his job – during a heated debate about Ms Markle. “Just for the record, I think he’s a treacherous little pr---,” said Morgan, which momentarily startled Rajan into silence.

Morgan was robust on the “woke” culture wars and gushing in his assessment of his employer, Rupert Murdoch (“the greatest media figure of my lifetime, possibly ever, in terms of his boldness, vision, reach around the world”). You were left with the feeling that Morgan would have given the same account of himself while talking to his bathroom mirror, which left Rajan pretty redundant.

Amol Rajan Interviews: Piers Morgan airs on BBC Two tonight at 7pm


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