David Cameron fails British exam on David Letterman show – but gets thumbs up from US audience

The chat show host stumped the PM with some questions on British history but his audience found the Prime Minister "likeable" and "entertaining"


US talk show host David Letterman gave David Cameron quite a grilling on his programme last night. Yes, they talked about the Arab Spring, the funding of political parties and Cameron’s current popularity (or lack thereof) but what really stumped the Prime Minister were some of Letterman’s questions about Britain.


While Cameron did know when and where the Magna Carta was signed, the Eton and Oxford-educated politician couldn’t tell the host what Magna Carta actually means (Great Charter) or who had written Rule Britannia, the music that had accompanied his entrance to the show (as we all know – ahem – it was Thomas Arne, with words by James Thomson).

“This is bad. I have ended my career on your show tonight,” said Cameron.

The American public, however, appeared impressed. Asked afterwards, a number of Letterman’s audience (many of whom had previously been unable to recognise a photo of Cameron) thought he had come out of the ordeal well.

“He came off as very bright and very likeable,” said one audience member, while another called him “very well spoken, and very relaxed and entertaining.” Yet a third said the the PM was “fabulous,” adding “I think it was really good for the American public to be able to see him.”


Tony Blair is among previous guests on The Late Show with David Letterman but David Cameron is the first serving British Prime Minister to appear on the long-running chat show.