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How I judged my celebrity guests

Diva behaviour in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

We often read that famous people are “monsters”, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. James Corden, who flew off the handle in a restaurant because of a wrongly cooked omelette, is only the latest example. You hear about that diva who “can’t be in the room with a daffodil”, or that other one who insists “no one ever uses the word ‘Tuesday’” in front of them. Of course, everyone can “become exasperated when things don’t go to plan” – something I know “better than most”. But it’s easy to lose perspective when you always have a car sent to pick you up, and countless assistants “eager to indulge your every whim”. A friend of mine, who’s in a very successful band, calls the condition “c*** flu”.

When I hosted Top Gear, we’d privately rate celebrity guests based on “how rude and late they were”, and the size of their entourage. There was a pattern: if they’d just become famous for winning a dancing contest, they were often rude and late. Katie Price turned up with “a team of helpers bigger than the population of Bangladesh”. But the “very famous” Sir Patrick Stewart drove himself to the studio and was “so unassuming I thought he was a car delivery driver”. In other words, c*** flu is not inevitable. Another musician friend tells me his band rents a house together for two weeks at the end of a tour, where they do all their own cooking and washing to “normalise” themselves before going home to their families. Perhaps James Corden should try it.