My wife and I try to watch programmes we can talk through. We have two small children, so by the time we’ve put them to bed and sat down, it’s our time to catch up with each other. We like Homeland but we have to do our talking first, then put that on,because you have to concentrate. If it’s Gogglebox, which I find addictive, you can talk all the way through.
What makes you switch off ?
Jeremy Kyle. I can’t abide it. It’s appallingly exploitative. Talk about airing your dirty laundry in public. Any soap gets turned off. Just the theme tune of EastEnders is enough. I hold soaps responsible for the death of the sitcom. All the best slots have been taken by the soaps. The actors are doing their best in an impossible situation, with so many lines to learn in not enough time. They have my professional sympathy.
It’s just a factory turning out not very good drama. I get why people get hooked on them, but like anything mass-produced, you’re not going to get as nice a meal in a fast food place as when a chef has time to prepare it properly.
Your show As Yet Untitled is basically you chatting to your comedy mates. Aren’t they worried you’ll blurt out their secrets?
I suppose that’s possible. Many of the guests are people I’ve known a long time. My favourite anecdotes are Ben Miller going to the Cannes Film Festival and being mistakenly given Ben Stiller’s hotel suite. Or Patrick Kielty nearly dying in a helicopter crash with Neil Armstrong.
Do you and your wife ever disagree about what to watch?
I’ll watch anything with Sandra Bullock in, and that just makes her laugh. Normally, if a film’s not very good she’ll lean over and say, “Do you wish Sandra was in this?”And I’ll say,“Yes, that would improve it.”
You’ve been on Top Gear a few times. What do you think of Jeremy Clarkson?
I like Jeremy. He really takes it hard when he cocks up and people are after him. He’s really good fun, but he does represent a bit of an old-fashioned view of the world, slightly unreconstructed. But what do you want? Do you want everyone to be like Ed Miliband, to be “on message” and PC? No, you don’t.
You’re an Arsenal fan. Are you in the Arsène Wenger or the Piers Morgan camp?
There is no one more detestable in life than Piers Morgan. He is one of the great embarrassments to Arsenal fans. What does he know about football? I’ve met Wenger and he’s hugely impressive.