I've had some colourful invitations to the beds of strange men. Whispered in my ear at the back of the number 37 bus; elaborately articulated and plopped into my Twitter DMs; loutishly barked across the busy counter at Chicken Cottage. So, compared with what I'm used to, to be summoned to bed through my work email inbox via a programme publicist felt most dignified – an offer I couldn't refuse.
And so it came to pass, two weeks ago, that I found myself In Bed with Jamie Laing. He is, as many will know, the most ubiquitous of the Made in Chelsea massive. As well as brightening our Monday nights with his luminous halo of flaxen hair and extravagant travails around SW6 on the stalwart structured reality series, the 28-year-old heir to the McVitie's fortune has made appearances on panel shows like Would I Lie to You?, 8 Out of 10 Cats and The Big Fat Quiz of Everything. He's had a go on First Dates, and even tried out acting – on Murder in Successville, Drunk History: UK and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. For a Christmas treat, he's bringing his All 4 series of short interviews, 'In Bed With Jamie', to E4. And now, I am myself In Bed with Jamie.
It's 1pm, and we're in the Radisson Blu in Seven Dials. Business hotel, central London – it has that perfect 'paramour rushing in for a quickie on her lunchbreak' ambience, which is fitting, as we only have 20 minutes, which Jamie assures me is 'MORE than enough time, Sarah'. (Back yourself, Jamie mate). He, of course, wants to discuss his new show, and his guests Pamela Anderson, Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore, and Jay Hutton from Tattoo Fixers. I, however, have been briefed to undertake "a psychoanalysis of Jamie Laing". So I'll try my best.
I kick off my shoes and get under the covers. Jamie has dressed for the occasion, and is scantily-clad in a pair of very tiny short pyjamas which leave little to the imagination so I try my best to maintain eye contact at all times.
When I am in bed with men I've never met before – as is obviously so often the case – the pillow talk tends to turn into a bit of a therapy session, as the anonymity (and the spoils from a trip to the 24-hour off-license) strip away inhibitions and leave men's souls bare.
I tell Jamie this, and ask him to open up to me about what's on his mind – what's making him tense, or edgy. "My only excitement at the moment – my MAIN excitement," he corrects, "Is that I have my own chat show. I can only have one focus at the time, I think it's some kind of ADD – and this is what's dancing around my head at the moment. This show is the best thing in the entire world!" He's very convincing on that note, but I beg to differ – he's clearly never been to Cadbury World.
"Did you ever throw parties with your teddy bears when you were a child? I would do chat shows with mine – they were the audience, my brother was the guest, and I was the host. I've always been the centre of attention – I'm one of eight children, and you have to be loud and energetic in that situation."
Eight is quite the litter. "Yeah, and I'm third bottom in the running order – you forget third bottom. If the focus wasn't on me I used to run away from home and say I was going to Toys 'R' Us but nobody gave a sh*t, I'd just end up sitting at the bottom of the drive for half an hour."
So that childhood dream of his own chat show has become a reality – though presumably he never envisioned it with quite so much pink velvet, which we're cosily embalmed in – with four publicists as our audience. "When you interview someone in bed," he says, "it's intimate – they become your friend." (Are we now friends? Can he get me free entry to Embargos Chelsea?)
"I'm fascinated by people, I love chatting to people – as much as I talk myself and don't stop talking, I'm so interested in how other people work. That's why being in bed with people is so amazing because I genuinely love it. Even us being in bed now, I love it! Truly! It's like a thrill!" One of my better reviews, as it happens, which I'll be adding to my Tinder bio.
He's as open, exuberant and energetic in the flesh as on-screen. I ask if there's a more secret, private Jamie who he feels the need to protect, after spending the past five years playing out his life on-camera. "I'm completely myself all the time. Everyone says you have four different personalities – one with your parents, one with your girlfriends, one with your friends, one by yourself. I just gel all four together. I don't think I could play anyone else."
"You've played a few girls though?" I point out.
"I mean... I feel like... the cameras lie..."
Onto the subject of romance, and I'm ever-poised to probe a new victim on the perplexing intentions of men. He's currently dating fellow Chelsea castmember Frankie Gaff. I mean, at the time of writing he is – corroborated by an Instagram stalk. You're never quite sure how fast things can change with the MiC lot, who are notorious for partner-swaps and theatrical carnal overlaps. "I love going out with my buddies – that's the key, right? When you're already friends you have the best relationships. I normally pursue women for a long time until I wear them down... They find me hugely irritating."
So once he's worn them down, what's The Morning After With Jamie Laing like? Am I to see myself out in the dead of night while he pretends to be asleep – or will he pay for my Uber home? Or – rogue one – are we spending the next day together?
"I will do everything in my power to make you like me," he asserts. Where does he think that stems from? "I dunno... massive insecurities when I was a kid..! If you spend the night with me, I will spend the rest of the next day trying to make you like me because you won't have liked me the night before, I can tell you that!" he laughs.
"Breakfast in bed – room service – scrambled eggs and everything. James and the Giant Peach on the TV – epic movie, that or Homeward Bound, a nice tearjerker in the morning. Plus it shows that I'm a family guy."
So he says he wants to be my buddy, yet I'm also getting that (familiar) 'you want kids with me' vibe... Confusing...
"Kids are the most awesome thing in the entire world!" he enthuses. So he's daddy material? "I want so many that at Christmas I'm gonna attach them to a sleigh and they can drag me down the road." So he wants all his conquests to see him as their future husband – and get their hopes up that he's up for more than just a one-night stand? "If they do that's awesome... Because then they like me and that's all I want! I want them to be my friend – if someone's awesome and interesting and great, they're there for life right? If they're amazing and interesting to chat to, they stick."
If true, that's a fairly damning indictment of my performance and charisma, given the men who've ghosted me in the past. I point this out, but he thinks I'm joking.
We've had breakfast, he's forced me to sit through a dog movie, nothing new there to be honest, which should tell you something about my standards. What's next?
"Let's go ice skating, let's go to the Natural History Museum, let's get in a hot air balloon!" (I should point out – he doesn't actually take me to any of these places; there's already a girl from Now magazine waiting downstairs for her turn with the stallion. But the offer's there–- and marginally better than a Nando's.) Grand gestures do nothing but raise a girl's expectations that a fling could be more than a weekend's fancy – he should be more careful with emotions, I warn. But he says it's not about letting her down. "I just want to have adventures every day – don't sit in bed, force yourself to go and DO something, and amazing things will happen. LIKE THIS TV SHOW!"
Yes, right. The TV show. "I was given a golden ticket when I joined Made in Chelsea, and I'm not gonna get another one. I've had to work hard for the opportunities that have come after," he concludes – and I'm being turfed out in favour of that girl from Now mag. Double kisses from Jamie, I resist the urge to ruffle his hair, and toddle out into the streets as he, (I expect) reclines to ruminate with a post-coital cigar.
In Bed with Jamie is on Boxing day on E4 at 10pm.