Piers Morgan on Mel B: 'We've never had an interview that's generated so many headlines before it's even aired!’

Mel B on Piers Morgan
(Image credit: ITV)

We sat down with Piers Morgan at Television Centre, where he films Good Morning Britain, to find out who's in the hot seat for the latest series of his hard-hitting interview show Life Stories, which kicks off with a spicy chat with pop star Mel B...

In 10 years of hosting Life Stories, Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan has subjected nearly 100 famous faces to his distinctive style of no-holds-barred interview technique. And he reckons the line-up for the 16th series, which starts this Saturday on ITV, is one of the strongest yet...

Spice Mel B is first up. What was she like?

Piers Morgan: “We’ve never had an interview that has generated so many headlines months before it’s even aired! Mel’s early life in Leeds was tinged with lots of racism and family difficulties. Yet she fought her way to become one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Then you have her terrible marriage and divorce, and it turns out the great love of her life was [Hollywood actor] Eddie Murphy. She talks openly about all that.”

Spice Girl Mel B on Lorraine

Mel B is 'an amazing Life Story" says Piers Morgan (pic: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

TVT: How pressurised was it interviewing talk show legend Michael Parkinson?

PM: “Parky is one of my heroes, so I wanted to do a good job. During the interview, he cried openly about something that happened years ago. Michael was an only child and very close to his dad, who was a miner. When he was talking about his father dying and people coming to take the body away, he completely broke down. You’ve never seen Parky like that, and it is very interesting to see how it plays out.”

TVT: What did you make of Michael Barrymore?

PM: “This interview was raw, combative and hilariously funny as Michael showed us what made him the most popular guy in TV. Of course, he had everything and then lost everything. He lost his marriage and career, nearly lost his livelihood, but ultimately was never convicted in relation to any of the events people know him for. He feels raw anger that he’s not been allowed to rebuild his career, because people don’t want to accept that he was an innocent man. It will be the most powerful show we’ve ever aired.”

[Check out our TV Guide with all the top shows to watch this week]

TVT: And you interviewed your Soccer Aid partner in crime, Harry Redknapp!

PM: “Harry’s a very open book, but not the cuddly guy everyone assumes he is. He’s survived in the pressure cauldron of management for a long time at a high level. You don’t get to do that by being a soft touch, and he definitely fell out with lots of people."

TVT: And finally, you've had your disagreements with Lord Sugar over the years. What was it like having him on the show?

PM: “It’s taken me 16 series to get Alan Sugar, and I’ve finally persuaded him. I was thrilled, because he’s got a great story.This guy came from a very working-class background, absolutely zero money in the family, pretty poor education in the East End, and he worked his way up to becoming one of our most rich, successful and highly respected business people. He’s a Lord now, but at heart he is a great family man, with good old-fashioned British values. He’s a very honest person, and this is a really intriguing encounter.”

Piers Morgan's Life Stories returns to ITV on Saturday 25 May at 9.15pm

Ian MacEwan
Senior Writer

Ian writes about TV and film for TV Times, What’s on TV and TV & Satellite Week magazines. He co-hosts the weekly TV streaming podcast, Bingewatch.