A red eyed and tearful Chris Tarrant finally came out from his Ascot mansion this morning (Thursday) to face reporters waiting outside the large iron railings of his front gate eager to hear his reaction to the news that the TV quiz show he presents called 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' is likely to be axed due to a sharp drop in viewing figures.
"Sorry to keep you all waiting out there in the cold," said a surprisingly sincere sounding Chris, "but I've hardly had a wink of sleep since being told about it myself yesterday and am naturally shocked and upset about it.
"The drop in viewing figures clearly has nothing to do with the way I present the show. . . "
He paused as if expecting one or more of the reporters there to confirm his opinion. Nobody did.
"Personally," he continued, "I believe the problem has been the increasingly difficult questions. A show should be either educational or entertaining. Trying to make it both was asking for problems. I don't need the money that came with doing the show - this place is all paid for so I'm not short of a few bob. I told them I'd be more than happy to carry on presenting it for free - but they say the problem is the viewing figures. I don't see any way back for someone of my age. What am I going to do fellas? A person like me has to be recognised in the street. I crave that attention. It's no longer about the money."
It was quite chilly standing there outside his front gates and someone said something about a pub around the corner being open by then. They all went off there to fill out their stories over a pint of beer in the warm pub.
I took a last look at Chris before going to join the others. He was so sad looking as he stood at the other side of those gates clinging to the rails in tears but gradually sliding down towards his stone chippings driveway. I felt sorry for him.
"Why don't you simply buy up one of those free view channels and then present all the TV shows you want to your hearts content?" I asked.
He perked up after hearing that.
He'll be alright. He'll bounce back. Go on Chris -You show 'em what you're made of mate.