Boris Johnson talks to Kirsty Wark

What it was like to interview Boris, by Richard Danbury, age 35 and a half

Boris the Turk

The location was the tricky bit. Boris was quite clear that he didn’t want to be recorded in the Carlton Club, suitably Tory but unsuitably stuffy for him, but it was the best location. He offered the library at the Spectator which was splendid but tiny. He then offered his office in Parliament, which was splendid but painted an institutional grey with a white electrical conduit just at eye level – on camera, it would have looked as if his head had been skewered. I tried the Saatchi gallery but they were too expensive, and anyway didn’t allow in cameras on tripods, so the Cabinet Room at the Carlton Club it was.

I think he thought I was trying to stitch him up, but I wasn’t. I was just trying to make it look interesting enough that someone would want to spend half an hour watching. He got more nervous when he noticed that his chair was right underneath the gaze of Margaret Thatcher, and around the room were oils paintings of other Tory grandees through the ages. But I was just after the dash of gold from the frames to match his hair, and the deep colour of the room to create an atmosphere.

The make up was also tricky, come to that. You need make up on camera or you look shiny, and we’d hired a make up lady to help with Boris. He didn’t like it at all. She tried to brush his hair and almost immediately his hand un-brushed it. She tried to dust him with powder but he squinted up at her as if she was trying to empty a Hoover bag over him.

And then the interview came. Kirsty likened Boris to Arnold Swartzenegger, and he compared himself with Alexander the Great. He told us he was passionate about the arts and we wondered whether it was possible to be Front Bench spokesman on the Arts and Editor of the Spectator without compromising either. And when asked about Tory policy on immigration, Boris revealed his guilty secret. What is it? Watch BBC4 Tuesday at 23.30 to find out. Listings here.

17 thoughts on “Boris Johnson talks to Kirsty Wark”

  1. > And then the interview came. Kirsty likened Boris to Arnold Swartzenegger

    I understood Arnold Schwarzenegger’s interview technique has on occasion extended to grabbing the breasts of female interviews – allegedly. I trust Boris hadn’t tried that on Kirsty.

    But perhaps she meant “politically” rather than “in an interview”.

  2. Boris TV interview tomorrow!

    Boris interviewed by Kirsty Wark for BBC4. Don’t miss it – Tuesday 22nd Feb, 11.30pm, BBC4. More info here on….

  3. Don’t go insulting Kirsty Walk, she’s the epitome of modern womanhood: Intelligent, well-informed, sophisticated, sexy. She knows what she wants, and she isn’t afraid of asking a couple of really probing questions in order to get it.

  4. Of course while not missing this programme. I would like to point out that there is on BBC TWO a documentery on The Spectator at 9 Pm saturday.

  5. Is Boris really going to reveal more about his guilty secret 😉 ?

    ”My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive…”

    This must be the out of this worldest (sic) sound bite ever! Love it!

  6. I dont think Boris really managed to pull this one off, he did not know much regarding current Tory policy about asylum seekers and at times seemed rather flustered. I do understand that this was not his choice of venue, indeed I can only imagine the jitters one gets when there is a portrait of the Iron Lady stairing down upon you. However if Boris cannot handle the conversation when being interviewed by Kirsty Walk I dread to think how he fairs against Paxman.

    Boris if you are to win over the rest of the country you must do better than this – at least know your own partys policies.

  7. Agree with the previous comment. Boris appeared to be as affable and intelligent as ever but not well-informed on a couple of key Tory policy issues.

    Top marks for his honesty, there’s precious little of that around these days, but that’s not enough in itself.

    It might also be an idea for Boris to work on a better response to future questions about his leadership ambitions. He came across as being far too disingenuous for his on good on that one.

    Good fun to watch though.

  8. Glad it was fun – still time to bone up on all the policy issues before the General Election…

    Thanx for your tips and comments – all noted

  9. In answer to RIT, if the estimable Maggie were to stair( stare) down on anyone, they would fair(fare)precisely as badly as anyone not behaving impeccably. Boris did,however, behave precisely so, and his decorum was noticeable. He must, nontheless , bone up on some of the Party’s mainline policies, in order to preclude embarrassing, multifarious repetitions and variations on a questing theme from that oleagenous stuffing merchant, Paxo.

  10. ..don’t listen to any of it, Boris. Re Stef’s comments. Honesty should, indeed, be enough. If lying through your teeth at every available opportunity and being super smarmy at just about every juncture, you’ll do alright…and anyway, your hair’s just lovely as it is dear! My vote (if I could be bothered) would be yours!

  11. …sorry, missed a bit in my last post!,”…at every juncture…blah, blah,” gives you power, just imagine what being honest might do. you’ll do alright…etc.etc.! Hope this makes sense!!

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