Thursday, 5 July 2012

Sugar v Rao - a match made in heaven?

One of the fantastic things about my job is  you never know who you might end up in front of.

A national tabloid reporter has fun with all sorts of stars, politicians, I've even 'done' Prime Minister David Cameron.

I have a blossoming relationship with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby and have interviewed mega stars including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sir Tom Jones and they have all been pleasant and friendly.

The bubbly British institution Barbara Windsor was brilliant as was her husband Scott Mitchell who went out of his way to accommodate me when we worked together on a Daily Express project.

All these experiences are so much fun, and remind me how lucky I am to do what I do.

Then there are the other times when you come away feeling that however hard you worked, however professional you had been, you fell flat.

That (thankfully rare) feeling of walking out of an interview drained and slightly demoralised.

This sort of thing is more likely to happen if you are the last in a press junket of interviews which have clearly bored the interviewee.

Which brings me onto my encounter with Lord Sugar, business tycoon and star of the Apprentice.

Now, he is not known to be the easiest man to get along with, and let’s face it you don’t get to where he is through being ‘nice’ to everyone you meet.

And he certainly lived up to his reputation when I met him, definitely one of the most difficult interviews I have ever done.

Despite being well-prepared, primed and confident, within seconds I knew I just wasn't going to make that connection.

That has happened to me very rarely in almost 10 years of doing this job. But the Rao - Sugar love-in was just not happening.

As the interview progressed, painfully, my enthusiasm grew to rectify the situation.

That is the job of a journalist, to engage and excite the interviewee, this elicits the best lines, and the tastiest quotes.

It is also important to build relationships from the very first meeting, and make as good an impression as is humanly possible.

Smart, clean, smelling nice, fresh breath, clean nails, smart hair, eye contact, firm handshake - every single time, NO exceptions, you never know who you will meet who could take you to the next level.

Thus was my desire to impress Lord Sugar, or at least get him to spill a great line, or engage in a discussion with me.

Nope – wasn’t happening.

But I am not put off that easily, and I still managed to get my story, but blimey was it hard.

It has, however, left me fizzing to have another go at him. 

Yes, I am now more determined then ever to crack this hard-shelled nut. 

Until next time Lord Sugar.....

In the meantime, here’s the picture that just sums it up, the expression on his face is priceless.

(Picture: Jonathan Buckmaster)

1 comment:

  1. Did he think you were auditioning for the apprentice? The clue would have been in "Rao, you're fired" Sounds a most uncomfortable encounter - I'd have been squirming in my seat!

    I do however think it's possible to treat people well and be successful. That final pic is hilarious and thanks for sharing it but - truth be told - his demeanour is the height of bad manners.

    Good luck with the next one!