Eddie Izzard

Transparent and inflatable, Eddie Izzard's sofa is not so much a piece of household furniture as a plaything in a crche. It's a bouncy sofa. A comedy sofa. One that makes rubbery squeaking noises whenever you move. I've been invited to sit on it by the enigmatic blonde who answered the door, explained that 'Eddie is running late' and then left. As I'm waiting, I try to work out a technique for rising from the sofa with dignity. There isn't one - you're either pitched violently towards the floor Read more [...]

Des Lynam

On the seventh floor of the Café Royale in central London, in a room unheated despite the wintry night air outside, a door creaks open. A callow youth in overalls stands hesitantly, framed in the doorway, chair in hand. He takes in the long mahogany table and the tape recorder that rests upon it. He looks at the back of Des Lynam's head, at the silvery collar-length hair, then at me. The BBC's sports anchor turns in his chair and gives him a quizzical arch of his eyebrow. 'I. Chairs. Move. Told Read more [...]

Dave Lee Travis

Driving towards Tring on a drizzly morning with the radio tuned to 828 Medium Wave is like travelling back in time. On the M25 the signal is still too faint and crackly to make out that sonorous, diluted Mancunian voice once so familiar. Then, as you turn off at Junction 20, it really starts comin' atcha through the windscreen wipers: 'But just to get serious for a moment, folks. Let's not forget that the police do a really great job...' It ebbs again, lost to the atmospheric hiss as the four-wheeled Read more [...]

Clive James

The dimly lit back room of the Japanese restaurant is empty save for some scruffy codger hunched up in the corner, sitting sideways on, lost in his thoughts. At 56, it seems, Clive Vivian Leopold James has become smaller than life. Only when I am opposite him, face to face, do the features of the man on the box lurch into focus. And this is just as unnerving. After we have been chatting for a few minutes, picking over a salver of sushi, I forget that we are mid-conversation. I have been watching Read more [...]

Charlie Higson

It's not just ducks and overweight people who waddle. As Charlie  Higson - 5ft 10in of solid but unfleshy television personality - heads towards me across the floor of an Indian restaurant in Soho, I see he does it, too: feet splayed, hips forward as though bearing the weight of a pot belly, arms flat against sides. The 41-year-old comedian, producer, novelist and one-time pop star is wearing an open-neck shirt, moleskin suit and black, Michael Caine glasses. If this is a disguise, it works: Read more [...]

Bob Monkhouse

If Bob Monkhouse had bludgeoned his own mother to death with an entrenching tool, calmly burnt down an orphanage and then experimented openly with cannibalism during a Royal Variety Performance, it is doubtful whether the poor chap's critics could have come up with stronger words of disapprobation than those they have already levelled at him over the years. 'Despicable', 'slimy' and 'chilling' are typical examples. While it is a pretty serious crime to spend a lifetime irritating people in the Read more [...]

William Hague

On the wall of William Hague's office in Smith Square hangs a large oil painting of some friendly-looking sheep. It's by Mackenzie Thorpe, a Yorkshire artist who found national fame in 1998 when the Hagues reproduced one of his canvases on their Christmas card. 'Everyone psychoanalysed the dark clouds in it,' Hague recalls with that weirdly hypnotic loud-quiet, long-short, flat-vowelled speech pattern of his. 'They said it meant I was depressed. But I think if you like something you have to stick Read more [...]