The Untold Story Of Richard Osman | E188 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "The Untold Story Of Richard Osman | E188".


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Intro (00:00)

my books wouldn't be as good if I hadn't gone through that trauma. You have to reach an Aspen, ladies and gentlemen! Best-selling novelist, television with you, sir, presented. You know, if you have a trauma of any type and you are looked after and you're guided through it, you can come out the other side. If, however, you're sort of left alone in your trauma, your own solutions never work. I never sat and thought, oh, I've got a problem with my life. But I would have addictive behaviours around food. When did you realise that it was their strange behaviour? I mean, it's an addiction. There's no other way of putting it. It's like having a bottle of vodka, then having another bottle of vodka, then having another bottle of vodka. If you see somebody is different, they do not need to be told. I've had that with my height, you know, and I know you're just thinking, yeah, but it's just me. You think, yeah, but it's just you and five other people, every single day, I didn't live the life I should have done for many years. I wish I'd been more myself in those years and I would have taken much less success and much more happiness. What is happiness? Gosh, that's a good question. Well, here's the way I always think about it. That makes a lot of sense, you think? Before this episode begins, I just want to say a huge thank you to all of our new subscribers. 74% of you that watch this channel didn't subscribe before, and we're now down to about 71%. So that helps us in a number of ways that are quite hard to explain, but simply the bigger the channel gets, the bigger the guests get. So if you haven't yet subscribed to the Diaries here, if I could have any favours from you, if you've ever watched this show and enjoyed it, it's just to please hit the subscribe button. Without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the Diaries CEO. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this yourself. Richard.

Background And Personal Development

Early years (01:47)

Stephen. What do I need to know about you and your earliest years to understand the man you went on to be at all the things you went on to do? It's a good question. Well, if you mean professionally, the man I went on to be, I grew up loving popular culture, loving mainstream culture, loving mainstream television. So that's always been in my soul. I came from a big working class family and now find myself in a very middle class world. So I sort of have a sense of what different people from different places in Britain like to watch or like to read. So that really, and I grew up visually impaired, so I don't see the world particularly brilliantly, but I'm always listening to the world and always interested in what people are saying and getting that sort of thing. So I think that combination of things means I've had a career of sort of working out what people might quite like and then finding the right people to help me make those things. Richard. Your earliest years kind of reminded me of mine in many ways, because I almost view my earliest years as two chapters. For me, there was the first chapter, which was really pleasant. I remember it being a very happy home. And then there was the second chapter, which I could describe basically as dysfunctional. Yes. And a bit of a nightmare. Yeah, there's the similarity. So I was nine, my father left when I was nine, and this being the 1970s, we didn't really see him again. It wasn't sort of, it wasn't touchy feely, or everyone still loves each other. It was off he went. And so yeah, I was probably the same, but quite happy, go lucky up to that age. And then afterwards, you sort of have to build a mask for yourself a little bit and pretend you're okay and pretend you're not in pain. Weirdly, that ability to sort of create your own narrative was helpful in my later career career. I'd rather not have had it, but that ability to sort of pretend that everything's okay and to write a different story, which is very much what I did. But yeah, I think that anyone who's had that sort of disconnect, it affects them one way or another. And it was very, you know, an unhappy time and it's later lots of unhappiness since then, but it doesn't make me unhappy anymore, for sure. Absolutely. You come to terms with it, come to peace with it. And you know, I always say trauma is not the problem. It's an inability to deal with trauma is the problem. You know, if you have a trauma of any type and you are looked after and you're guided through it, you can probably come out the other side. If however, you're sort of left alone in your trauma and you come up with your own solutions, your own solutions never work. And so I definitely had that, but I try and use it, you know, I'm very connected still to the nine year old, weirdly, because I've had that sort of interregnum where I was a slightly different person. So I'm always able to, I'm always able to find that nine year old and that nine year old was very interested in new things and what's on telly and, you know, who's paying football this afternoon and you know, what's in the pop charts and you know, that's the stuff that I loved when I was nine. And it's the stuff that I still love now. I'm always always what's next, what's next, what's next. You talk, you talk, I think it was a Sunday Times interview, you did where you said that you had to manufacture yourself a little bit. And I found that really interesting because I've heard this a few times from a few different people I've sat here with that have undergone sort of a tectonic shift in that early years. What do you mean by manufacture yourself a little bit? Well, I think when you get into your teenage years, you are working out who you are. And you know, we could, we, we, all of us change and we change in, you know, in reaction to the world around us and think new things that we experience and new friends and new schools, you know, we become different people. But I think if at the heart of it, there is a lie. So my lie would be everything is okay. I don't need my dad to be around. It's okay that I hear my mum crying at night. You know, if that's my lie, then everything I build is built on a fault line. You know, so everything is built on that fault line. So however big I build the, you know, my personality, there's going to come a point and it happened to me probably late 20s when there's an earthquake because that fault line gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. So it's just that you will build up personalities. And if you build them on truth, if you build them on firm foundations, if you build them on good faith, then you know, you have a chance. If you build them on fault lines, then it always comes out. That makes a lot of sense. Hmm. You think? Yeah, because that's, that's completely consistent with when I've sat here with people who've spent decades of their life or decades of their career even building themselves up on a lie. Or as you've referred to as wearing a mask, the earthquake always comes. Well, here's the way I always think about it. Listen, people tell you there's no such thing as truth. And of course that that's true. I get it. There's no such thing as actual reality. But I think our personality is we sort of have a true north, right, which if nothing goes wrong, or if we respond to trauma well, we carry on our life and that true north goes up through us. And we sort of dance around it and we can sort of wander in and out the fields around this sort of true north. If you deviate from true north, especially very young, then suddenly true north is here and you're heading off in this direction, right? And for quite a while, you're not very far from your true north. But if you're like 15, 20 years in, you're so far away from what you should be, right? Now you don't know that you're telling a lie. Okay, that's the absolute key. You don't know that you're lying to yourself. Right. So what you're seeing is the reality of the world seems alien to you and you can't work out why. You think, why don't I fit in? Why am I not sort of doing the right things? And it's because you're so far away from where you need to be. And lots of people will fill that gap with addictions and drugs and booze and weird behaviours. But eventually, I think most people work out. The reason the world doesn't seem right is I'm not right, you know? And some people, narcissists will try and drag the world to them. Look at Trump, he tries to drag the world to him all the time, okay, because of his childhood and which we get, right? But most people at some point just go, no, I need, I've got to make that leap. I've got a leap back to where I was, which is a long journey, but a worthwhile one. But I think it's just, we just keep going just slightly off course, slightly off course. And the longer that goes on for the further we are from where we should be. If you were to have stayed on your true north throughout that whole period, what would you have done instead? Oh, well, it's a very good question. I sort of think that I would have done roughly the same thing. I think I would have ended up in TV or journalism or writing one way or another. I think that, and especially think this with the books, I think that it has given me an empathy for people and for pain and to, you know, I see pain in other people all the time, and I see denial in other people all the time. And I think those things go through the books. So I think my books wouldn't be as good if I haven't gone through that trauma. And again, I trade the two off in a heartbeat. So I think I would have done the same thing, but I don't think it would have had the same soul as the truth. And therefore, I don't think it would have had quite the same impact or success. You say you trade the two off in a heartbeat? Yeah. What happiness for, because I mean, listen, you've been enormously successful, right? But the question is why? Okay, what are you after? Right? Are you after money? Okay, you're after money. But why? What is it that money is doing for you? It can buy you certain things. Okay, why do you want those things? What are they doing for you? And the answer is always one thing, which is happiness, contentment, right? Just comfort in and of yourself. That's what you want, is to wake up in the morning and be comfortable with who you are, to have enough and to be comfortable with who you are. And I think that, you know, that's the thing. Happiness is the only thing we seek. And if I'd grown up happier, I think I would have found happiness easier to find. And, you know, my happiness has been hard one. And I'm happy. You know, now it's great, because I'm 51 and I've I'm in this lovely place. But then, you know, there's sort of 10, 15 years where you think, oh, you know what? I wish I'd been more myself in those years. And I would have taken much less success and much more happiness. I asked that question because I remember Mogada sitting here and talking to me about the eraser test. They did on people where they asked people if you could remove the most traumatic events of your life, would you do it? And he says that 95% of people says they wouldn't say they wouldn't. Yeah, I think it's interesting that because I don't think people, I don't think it's a real question. Because what you're really saying to people is, would you erase who you are? Yeah, and would you erase? And, you know, of course you wouldn't. Of course you would not erase who you are because it's very dear to you. However, if you were able to live that other reality and live this reality and see which one of these do prefer, I think you'd say the one without the trauma is my opinion. None of us would ever say, yes, I want to erase who I was. Okay, I mean, it's crazy. But actually the truth is if we had the two side by side, like a, you know, a costor and a Starbucks and say, which would you prefer, we would pick the, I don't know, which is the best one. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. Exactly. Exactly. I don't know what it's like costor or Starbucks. They're both fine companies. I imagine there's a lot of people listening to this now that have had a traumatic event happen to them.

Knowing the impact not to see your dad would you act differently now? (10:48)

Or, of course, they're going to have traumatic events in their future. What I'm really interested in is knowing the impact that your decision to no longer see your dad and however else you behaved at that time had on you later, how in hindsight do you think it would have been better to act? Better for me to act. I don't think it's a question for me because I'm 10, 10, I live in years old, right? And I'm not, I'm not the sort of significant actor in that situation. You know, you're not able to rationalize the world correctly. You know, it's for the people around you. And there's no disrespect, by the way, to the people around me because you have very, very different times. And my mom had just been through the most extraordinary trauma. I mean, much more than I had been through. And so she was not in a position to act in my best interest there. And my dad wasn't in a best position to work in my interest. And nobody was. No one knew. You know, there's lots of talk about mental health now and isn't it? You know, but no one talked about that stuff. But then I mean, they really, really didn't talk about that stuff back then. You know, it just didn't exist. You know, you, you, it was the sort of hangover from the kind of post war years where you just didn't complain, you know, and that that's still the mindset we had. So listen, if it happened more recently, yeah, it would have been much simpler. And listen, I'd have found a different trauma, you know, is personality type seek out trauma is the truth. And I would have found a different trauma to explain away my differences. But I think that, yeah, I think that had it happened 30 years later, conversations would have been had people would have sat in rims and we'd have worked out what the best thing to do was. But it's the world was such a different place in sort of 1979. It sort of feels very, very recent to me. But you know, the world, the world was an entirely different place. And we didn't even have to have those conversations in 1992 when I was born. Yeah, I think that's right. They started showing up about 10 years ago, I think conversations around mental health and mental wellbeing. Before then, even the prospect of being mentally ill had this like horrible stigma associated with like stray jackets and asylum. Not we didn't think of the fact that we all have mental health. I think that's exactly right. And listen, there's an awful lot run with our this new social media age. But one of the good things is if you are different, then you are supported and you have friendships around you. I'm listening, you're also attacked. That's the problem with social media, right? Because you know, suddenly you're seen as a group. But you are supported and you can find like-minded people, you can find people in the same position. No, we're not my school was from divorce parents. You know, just didn't, you know, when I went to comprehensive school as a female, but not really. And now, of course, you know, you can be online and you can meet a thousand people in your situation in one evening. You know, and that, I think, would be rather helpful. You've talked about how you've come to peace with that resentment that you had with your father. How? Oh, easily, because he's a human being. And I got it. And I got to the age that he was when he left, saw the situation that he had found himself in. And I thought, yeah, I get it. I see why you would do that. You know, I did the same. I left the mother of my children hopefully in a very different way. But you know, I absolutely get it. He found himself in a situation he couldn't get out of. So ran away. And, you know, I met him in later life and he is a right guy. You know, he's a perfectly decent man, but he didn't have the language and he didn't have the brain space for that sort of conflict. He just didn't have it. He just was in a situation he didn't want to be in and ran away, which is which is very common. And again, people, you know, do it less now because, you know, you can talk to people and men didn't talk to other men, then, you know, he found himself at a place in life where he just thought, I'm not who I need to be. You know, I'm unhappy. And so he found an excuse and left. And so I've always, you know, I have no resentment towards him anymore. I get it. I sort of wish that I loved him and I wish that there was that I felt that love and I wish that I had that big sort of family thing. But gosh, there's worse problems in the world. But of course I understand why he did it. You know, it's the age old story. People have been doing it for generations and they'll keep doing it. Empathy was your... Yeah, I think so. And it's an empathy for one's enemies, I don't wish to call them an enemy, but you know what I mean for someone who's an antagonist in your life rather than a protagonist. People talk a lot about empathy and I think they don't have empathy for their opponents or for people who disagree with them or for people who've lived a different experience. And you think that's empathy. Empathy is not just saying, I feel sorry for people or can we help people? You know, that of course is empathy and it's kindness. But empathy is also why does half the country disagree with me? You know, why does half the country live their life in a different way? Why do they not care about what I care about? That's action empathy. And that's that's in short a supply, I would say. But you're learning to forgive someone who's caused you trauma and not just forgive but understand. The French say to understand all is to forgive all which I sort of get. You know, if you're inside someone's head, you go, okay, I see it. I see why he did it. So listen, I'd rather he hadn't done it. But I understand entirely why he did. And yeah, that's that's like a very good example of empathy. The sort of empathy you wish you didn't have to have but you know, it's very useful. You needed more information on his contacts to get that empathy or was it because you used the word learning to forgive? Yeah, which I think is an apt word because it's not easy to do that. It's not just a decision we can. Well, it is, I guess, to some part but it's a very difficult decision to make to really well, I mean, look, in my situation, I hadn't seen him for 20 years and then I did see him. Maybe that's maybe maybe 18 years. And so yeah, I'd had a long time to build that wall around me. I had a long I don't you know, I'd had conversations with him in my head a lot. And you know, the conversations you have people who aren't there become very powerful. And you know, you're constantly have that conversation again. This is what I would say. This is what I would say. And then you meet up and you start saying a couple of those things and you're just there with a guy who's just said, look, I was just unhappy. And you know, I love you and you know, I wish I hadn't had to do it. You just go, it takes the sting out of all the conversations you've had over the years. Now, for me, he didn't have the conversations with me that I needed. You know, there was no, it wasn't really apologetic. I didn't really understand. The first thing you said to me is I bet you wonder what I've been up to since I left. And I thought, not really. You know, I sort of think maybe what I've been up to might be of interest to you. And so he just didn't have, he didn't have the vocabulary to reform the relationship is the truth. And I sort of felt he didn't need it. But I'd said to him towards the end of his life, I did say, have you had a happy life though? Have you had a happy life since you left? And he said, yes. I thought, you know what, that's that's fine for me. That'll do me. Listen, it is I'd rather he was happy. But some, yeah, it's it's a it's a long journey to sort of go. Do you know what I get why he did it? And now the stuff that I built up around it is now my responsibility. And it's and it's my thing to deal with, not his. And in that interview, I think with the Sunday times, you said you you went to his funeral and you found yourself very, you found yourself upset, but not at what one would think. Yeah, I found I went down with my brother, funnily enough, who had even less to do him with him than I did. And my kids were there. And it was so unemotional. And you know, I was very careful. You know, I thought, I can't remember that sometimes these things hit you. And this is your father and he's died. And I couldn't connect with him. I cried briefly at the end because of what could have been because of the relationship I've missed. But I wasn't crying for him. And from the next to the almost, it didn't hit me again. There was no kind of aftershock. And that sort of that that's really upset me that there was not because I'm an emotional, very emotional person. I'll cry anything. I'll cry at the repair shop. And I was sort of thinking, this is not knocked me particularly. And I thought that was very sad because what a waste of love, you know, what a waste of things that could have been. And my brother was the same. Like, you know, I said to my kids, did I'm gonna cry? And they went, no, no, no. So, you know, it's the same thing. And the people around him were crying. And the people who he loved and who loved him. So he'd built that life, you know, without us. But for me, I just thought, oh, that's, there it is, you know, my grandparents, funerals, I was crying. My father's funeral. It was just, I was God I was there. But there was, it just, you can't lie and pretend that it connects when it doesn't. You seem to be more significantly more shaped by Brenda.

Being shaped more by your mum (19:04)

Ah, my mum. Yeah, no, I'm definitely so I'm definitely shaped by her. I didn't have any other option than to be shaped by her because it was just me, me, her and my brother in the house. Yeah, no, I was very lucky to whatever my trauma and listen, we can overestimate these things because I was brought up in a very loving household and brought up in a very smart household. My mum, it became a primary school teacher after my dad left and, you know, just very wise and very protective. And, you know, so I, I really, in the sort of lottery of life's parents, I have to accept that the one I had was an awful lot better than the two that many people have. Give me a flavor of her character and personality and her, her manna. Well, she is a, she's a primary school teacher. So she's used to, you know, if you ever went into a, into a class that my mum's teaching, they'd be silent if she wanted them to be silent. But she's very, very softly spoken and, and where she is now in her retirement village, which is the basis of the Thursday Murder Club books, she's surrounded by people with very strong opinions, very strong personalities. And my mum looks like she wouldn't say boo to a goo. She looks like she's very unassuming. But, you know, I know after these big meetings when they're all shouting at each other, my mum will be the one to stand up and just say, I wonder if we should do this and give the solution to the thing. You know, while everyone else is ego, so sort of blowing themselves out, she sort of slips in and sort of says, I wonder if we do this. And that's not just, by the way, oh, I'm kindly and wise. It's also, she wants to get her own way. And she knows, she knows that that's the way to do it. So yes, she's, she's, she's, she's very bright, very quiet, very unassuming. And sort of is the opposite of, of a tiger mother, you know, these mothers that make sure you're doing, you know, piano practice and French lessons and you're learning Mandarin and all this kind of stuff. She just, she let me watch TV. She let my brother play his guitar and sort of trusted that we'd find our way in life. And that's, I think, certainly for me and my brother, often the best way to bring up kids is to, is to let them find what they love and just let them get on with it. That decision to just let you watch the telly.

Watching the TV when you were younger (21:03)

Pretty formative, I guess. Well, yeah. And, and, and, you know, listen, we can always look back and hindsight and go, she was a genius. She knew that that was going to be my career. But I think that she realized when I was watching TV, that I wasn't doing it passively. And which is true, when I was watching TV, I was always looking at the credits. Who does what on a TV show? What are the names of these people? And, you know, if there were jokes on a sitcom thinking, oh, that's interesting. Why, why did that make me laugh? But that, that bit doesn't make me laugh or formats, you know, how do, why do they always end on a round in a quiz show where you can catch up loads of points? What's that about? So I was never watching passively. I was always, I was fascinated with that. I was always interested with it. And I think that she, I sit with my son on computer games, he plays games all the time, but then he, he's talking to me about the industry, and he's talking to me about how they monetize it. And he's talking to me about, you know, different forms of games. And I just think, great, you could keep playing games then, because that's the thing that you love. And so long as you're interested in how it's put together, then, you know, that can become a career. And I don't think my mum thought that I ever would have a career in Teddy's. We didn't know anybody like that. But I think she just sort of trusted that something was going in. And that, you know, I was never interested in schoolwork. I just not, it wasn't my thing at all. I could get by, but it never sparked my interest, really. But TV always did and stuff I was watching and sport always did. You know, I'd watch and watch and watch. And that's, you know, almost all my lessons would take, you know, again, with someone who's very visually impaired, I can sit up very close to the telly. So, you know, so many of my lessons are from TV, not from the real world, because they're real world. I can't really see it, you know, you can't really see it. Well, everything's in a fog. I mean, that's the, that's the point. So I never noticed details. If I want to see a bird in a tree or a cricket ball going towards a bat, I can't, that's not something I can see. Never will do, can't drive or anything like that. It was on TV. The whole world is out there. I can go in, you know, I've never been a big traveler, anything like that. I want to stay at home, but I can watch any country in the world on television. You know, that's the thing that I can see. And I'm interested. The reason I don't want to travel is I don't want to travel. I don't want to get on a plane. I don't want to I don't want all of that. But I want to learn about places. I want to see things and TV. You just, it just shows you everything and it showed me everything and it introduced me to people. And, you know, even now I watch daytime TV, I get so much information about human beings from watching those shows and seeing people's reactions, which I don't see in real life, you know, because I'm up close to it. I get to see it all. And TV's given me all of that, you know, and I think TV is so huge and such a huge part of our culture. We sort of, I think we forget it exists. I think we forget quite what a powerful thing is. We talk about cinema and music and all this kind of stuff. And this is the age of television. You know, this is my generation. I think perhaps the your generation, the next one, it's going to be much less so. But television is the thing. It's in the corner of everybody's rooms, you know, and it shows us so many things. It teaches us so many things. But it's so organized. It became too successful that we sort of take it for granted. And now we'll say, well, TV's collapsed. You go, yeah, but country fans getting six million viewers. You know, that's like, it's a lot of people, you know, and I've so much of what I know about the world and what people like and politics. And that comes from TV and what people watch. Nastigmas. Is that how you pronounce it? Nastigmas. Yeah.

Your disability (24:11)

Nastigmas. Yeah. Stagmas. That's the condition you've had since birth. Yeah. So you wouldn't you wouldn't know any otherwise. Yeah, exactly. I've always, you know, my assets always been blurry. And it's like an uncontrollable moving of the pupils. I did once I never use AutoCue on television so I can't see it. And once when I did have I got news for you, they because it's all gags that are written, you have to and I was hosting, they said, you're going to have to use it. Usually I can learn stuff, but that is a whole script worth of gags. So couldn't. So the game, they said, look, this is the AutoCue that Bruce used this. So you'll be fine. And even that wasn't big enough. I said, you've got to move it nearer, make it bigger. In the end, we got a big enough. But when people were watching it, they said, Oh, it's Richard Osman drunk because they could see the effort of having to focus on something. My eyes were going absolutely crazy. So people think you're drunk. And so I never hosted it. I just went, you know, I'll be a guest where, you know, I don't have to do it. And I never use AutoCue on any shows. And again, that's one of those city things where what feels like a disadvantage is a huge advantage because, you know, so many TV shows and we were talking just what we came on air about about how shows are edited and I think about house of games and about dragons den that edited in a very sort of mid-it tree way, you know, they got the same shots each time. And the one thing I've got controlled over is what I say. And the second something is on AutoCue, you say the same thing because the producers put the same thing in because they've got other things to be worried about. And the fact that I don't have it on AutoCue means I just say different things each time, you know, and it's loose certain it's freer and people can watch five episodes in a week and I haven't introduced any of them in the same way to the others. And so I've turned that thing of not being able to see to an advantage, which is, you know, I present television shows differently in a way that's hopefully a bit freer and feels a bit more natural. The other thing you talk about and I've seen this in a few interviews is your height being something you've always contended with.

Being too tall (25:58)

And it's interesting because a lot of short men want to be tall men. And here are tall men say, yeah, speakers, if you'd rather be a little bit shorter is quite surprising. Well, I'm six foot seven, which is too much is the truth. And, you know, it makes you extraordinary. Look, my eyesight is not people can't see that. Right. Okay. So that's mine. And that's internalized. And, you know, I deal with that. I want to. My height is something that people can always see. And I find it, I find it fascinating. And in this world of social media, when people talk about microaggressions and stuff that you must have seen, your entire life, which is if you're different in any way, like you're reminded of it, nonstop. Yeah, mostly in a people that are not being cruel. Sometimes they are now I have a height. So I'm not being discriminated against because of my height, right? That's not, you know, I'm not, it's not costing me anything. But I do know that every single day of my life, I'm reminded of it every single day, just nonstop. And so I know that to be a person of color, to be differently gendered, to be all of these things, I know that the microaggressions I get, you are getting nonstop every day of your life and in a much more harmful way. So I've always, hopefully, really, really understood the idea of microaggressions. And that idea that, please, I hear this every single day, even if you're trying to be kind, you know, if you see somebody is different, they do not need to be told. They do not need it pointed out every single day because everyone has told them their entire life that they're different, you know, and I know you're just thinking, yeah, but it's just me, you think, yeah, but it's just you and five other people every single day for ever. And you know, I've had that with my height forever and ever and ever and for incredibly self conscious. And most people are perfectly nice. Some people are horrible because some people, it's a really good radar for what people are like. I call it a C word radar sometimes. This being different in any way, which perhaps you'll agree with, which is so many people are sort of lovely chat. But then, you know, a couple of times a day, there's just someone who wants to shout you out of a window or just wants to make you feel small, ironically, you know, that's what they want to do. And you just think, why? What's someone's a bit different to you and you've got to shout something and make yourself a bit better, you know, and so being different in any way whatsoever, I think really teaches you about people and about the hate that's out there and about the unhappiness that's out there because that's where it all comes from. And so being tall, yeah, has taught me about microaggressions and has made me try and fight for people who are different and has made me just say to people, if someone is different, right, just talk to them normally you don't need to. We never had the word, but sometimes I'll sort of tweet something about, oh, I love this film already. I went to see this gig of blah, blah, blah, and like 10 people go, I'm glad I wasn't behind you. And you know what? It's a perfectly harmless joke, right? Perfectly harmless. I get it, I understand why people do it, but I get it every single time someone does it. So just think for one second, has this guy ever heard this before? Has he heard this thing before? Is it a fun thing to say to him? Because to me, if I go to a gig or a cinema, it's a nightmare because I don't want to be in front of anyone. I go out of my way to be as far back as possible, which when you can't see, it's impossible, or sit on the island and sit on the island. I take it seriously. And every single time, they say it. Now that's just a tiny example, but recently people say, they've started saying, oh, you mustn't body shame. I thought, well, that's interesting because body shaming is sort of something that certain people would say that, or that I've got a snowflake talking about body shaming. But actually, I think, yeah, that's what you're doing. That's what people have done to me for the last 30 years. They've body shamed me. Because they've talked about my stature, and I felt ashamed. That's body shaming. I mean, that's what that is. I would never have thought of it as that. I just was embarrassed. It just made me feel shy and made me not want to go out. But it's body shaming and actually having it named, you just think, oh, good for you. And it's the younger generation. You do it. They're so great. And they're just saying, no, come on. That's body shaming. And you think, oh, that's such a lovely sort of thing to have in my armory. They're going to go, yeah, that's exactly what you're doing. And again, 90% of people, they mean nothing by it. And I get it. But it's just boring. And 10% of people, you just think, oh, you're very unpleasant. I never, I'm so glad to hear that because it's really changed my perspective. And I mean, genuinely mean that. I wouldn't sit here and just go, yeah, I agree. I genuinely have learned something. And I think it's because of how I phrase the question at the start, in the sense that a lot of people feel a ton of shame for being slightly shorter, which is, again, it's a point of being different. And I've never heard, in my experience, someone say, but it's completely right that wherever they go, they must be continually reminded of the fact that they're taller than everybody and how that might make them feel. When did that first start happening in your life? Well, sort of in my teenage, I was sort of very tall from about 17 probably. I was always tall, but kind of nice. Oh, you're the tallest in your class. And that's, you know, which is quite a fun thing to be. You know, and that's what you want. You want to be 62, right? That's what, you know, anyone who's five, nine or six, seven, we all want to be 62. And yes, as sort of 17, 18, and when I was off to university, which again is very, you know, so I'm sort of this guy who is much too tall and is awkward about being tall, who can't see anything. And he's quite an introvert anyway. And so, and sort of had this full self anyway from when he was nine years old and his dad left and everything's okay. So, you know, there was a real sort of storm of things brewing there. As I say, all of which have brought me good things in the end. But, you know, I think meant that, you know, I didn't, I didn't live the life I should have done for many years, because I was sort of hiding away from things. Some things I have to hide away from, because with my eyesight, I just can't, it's not safe for me to do various things. And some things just my height and sort of thing, I'm going to look stupid. Oh, I'm going to look stupid, going on a rollercoaster thing. And also what if I can't, what if my legs don't fit on that? And, you know, just silly, silly little things. And, you know, the world will not, the world is not shy in letting you know that you're weird, you know, that there's something weird about you. And so, that's what I felt, I felt weird. And of course, as soon as you feel weird, you have to sort of, you know, you live with it and your behavior sort of changes and you're going to go, I know I am a weird person, so I have to hide that away or explain away why I'm weird. You know, I'm very grateful that the one thing I always had was I was good with words, I was able to put things into words, I was always able to make people laugh. And so, for years, I've been able to paper over the cracks of all of that because I had all this stuff. But I knew that I could sit and remember make people laugh and I knew I could say the right things to people. And so, I sort of, I got away with it for years and years and years is the truth. Bitcoin, I have some exciting news. This episode is brought to you by Mercedes Benz, who recently got in touch to support the Derivis CEO. Thank you. I've been quite the fan of their cars for some time now, so I jumped at the chance to work with them as one of the most well-known luxury brands out there. And through getting to know their brand on a much deeper level, I came to learn about our shared values on innovation, striving to create a better tomorrow. Some of you may know, if you follow me on Instagram, that this year we invested in a Mercedes Benz of our own and honestly, it's transformed my life. But not only that, we also use Mercedes Benz to pick up all of our guests on this podcast. This way, the Derivis CEO experience really starts from the moment they're collected and we can be in total control of how that introduction looks and feels. Over the coming weeks, I want to talk to you about Mercedes EQ, which is their all electric car range and how their innovative next generation technology and sustainable benefits are changing the game in terms of their electric driving for businesses. But in the meantime, if you'd like to stay up to date with the full range and find out more about how Mercedes Benz can work for you and your business, such Mercedes Benz fleet, and let me know how you get on. Quick one from our longest standing sponsor here. I can't tell you over the last, and say over the last, really, it's been about two and a half years. It was really post pandemic, how much my health has become such a huge priority in my life. Heal has been probably the most important partner in my health journey because I've been in the boardrooms, I've been to their offices, tens and tens and tens and tens of times. I've seen how they make their decisions on nutrition and I trust it. I trust the brand to keep me nutritionally complete. That is something that I fight for every single day in the chaos and the busyness of my life. That's why it's such a wonderful thing to be able to talk to this audience about a brand and a product that is so unbelievably linked to my values and the place I am in my life are valuing the gym, exercise, movement, my mind, my breathing and all of those things and most importantly, my nutrition. That is the role heal your place. If you haven't already tried your and you've been resistant to my my pasturing, then give it a go and let me know how you get on. You referred two times now to this storm in your 20s where I guess this was the point about your true north.

The 'Storm' in your 20s - your addiction (34:46)

You must have realized that you were far from your true north and you needed to kind of turn back or get across towards your true north. What was this storm in your 20s? Well, I don't know. It's an interesting one really because, you know, professionally, I was doing the thing that I loved. I started working until I hadn't had a day off since and I was being successful because I came from a home where I watched TV and I was in an industry for the people who didn't watch TV. It was very, very easy for me to rise through the ranks and to make shows and to invent my own shows and to sell them because I felt very, very at home. And so I was being successful and I was exact producing shows and all sorts of things. And I had kids very young, which I'm delighted I did because I'm 51 now and they're like both in their 20s, which is amazing. You know, my big presenting issue was a food addiction and weird behavior around food, which I can sort of see would be what a nine-year-old would have set up for himself. And what do you mean by that? Well, I think if you are going to be an addict, which is almost always, how do I run from this pain? How do I run from the fact that, you know, I'm not where I need to be. When you're nine, food is probably the only thing that's available to you. Food attachment maybe, you know, there's only a certain amount of things a nine-year-old has their disposal, Hot Wheels. I mean, there's not a lot you can get addicted to. And so, you know, I would have addictive behaviors around food and that I never sat and thought, oh, I've got a problem with my life. I never thought that. I never thought, oh, you know, I'm not who I'm supposed to be, but what I definitely thought was, why do I have these eating behaviors? That's weird. And then a way to explain my weirdness away for me. I mean, you're weird because you have this weird eating patterns. That's the thing that makes you weird. And you think, no, that's lots of things that make me weird. And so, that's the thing that I went to get helpful, you know, so that's the first time I went into therapy, which again, for my background, is not something I would have considered. But it got to such a stage and I'm so tired of this behavior of how weird it was and how dumb it made me feel. What was the behavior? Just overeating and binge eating and all that kind of just inability to control food in any way whatsoever. Or if I was controlling it, just being incredibly strict. So either sort of dieting or being out of control with food, which is much more common than I think we allow as a culture. I think, you know, alcoholism and drug addiction we get, we understand and there's pathways to sort of getting better. But I think food addiction is the sort of last taboo. But, you know, I haven't spoken about it before. The messages I get from people just saying, yeah, that's me. Or, you know, my husband came into the kitchen and in tears and just said, that's me, that's been me for 20 years. And that's the thing that I've got and has never spoken about it to people. So I think it's really, really, really common. Also, why wouldn't it be, you know, given the food industry, right? Why wouldn't it be? Why would food addiction not be a thing? And so I think, yeah, those behaviours, where you just go, you know what, I've got these wonderful kids. I've got this great career. And yet I'm still secretly eating and feeling deeply ashamed of myself. You know, what's that, right? And after what you think, oh, maybe it's not the food. Maybe it's me. You know, maybe the food is a symptom of something rather than the problem, which of course is the case. You know, booze is never the problem. Is it drugs and never the problem that what you're running from is the problem. So yeah, I went to therapy. And honestly, from the first session I did, that's my path to getting better. You never not be an addict, but that's my path to kind of going, okay, I get it. I see what this is. - Most people I don't think will understand when you say binge eating and overeating. I think a lot of people listening think, well, I overeat. You know what I mean? But I've read from what you described is a very, very different to just overeating a big meal once in a while. - Can you give me some detail as to what you mean by? - Yeah. And again, look, it's shaming for me to do so. But a good example would be, I remember one of the first years, I'm talking to the therapist about it. And it was sort of mid- December. So I wasn't going to see him for a few weeks. And he said, look, I hope that, you know, I hope Christmas Day is not too triggering because people eat so much on Christmas Day. You know, the classic thing on Christmas Day, oh my God, you know, all this and all the chocolates and the crisps and we had a meal anyway and then there's cheese at night and blah, blah, blah. And I said, honestly, I've eaten like it's Christmas Day every day from my 20s and 30s. That's what I've done. When I'm in an episode, you know, everything is like Christmas Day. I'm not eating because I'm hungry. I'm eating because the food is there and because I need to not be sitting by myself, you know, and thinking about whatever I need to be thinking about it. So, you know, it's that idea is that it's that sort of, it's not, oh, aunt I naughty. I had a cream cake. You know, it's aunt I naughty. I had a cream cake and then I had the other three and then 20 minutes later when there's even a tiniest amount of space, I went out and got some more food. You know, it's that it's it's I mean, it's an addiction. There's no other way of putting it. It's like having a bottle of vodka, then having another bottle of vodka, then having another bottle of vodka. It's the same thing. And the second you shine a light on it, this is some people listening will will won't believe it exists. That's by the way, absolutely fine. You know, listen, we believe what we believe, but I'm talking to the people for whom this behavior might feel familiar or who've got friends or relatives to whom this behavior might feel familiar. It's real, you know, it's a real thing. And it's quite hard to get your way out of because you have to eat, right? But there's ways through it and the first way through it is to shine the light on it and just say, oh, no, no, no, that's that's me. And to and to try and take that shame away from it a bit. When did you realize that it was a in your own words, a strange behavior? Because I've got a friend who's been through a similar well, I've got two friends who've been through very similar things. One of them's I mean, they're the two close people. And you know, I know they've both talked about it very publicly. One of which in a podcast, one of which does talks she talks about it all the time on her Instagram and I've the two closest people in my life went through that. And if one of them who again, she's talked about this publicly, that resulted in bulimia and a bunch of other very destructive eating patterns. How did you figure out that that it was different? Well, I think you can you can you can fool everybody except yourself, you know, finally. And just you know, a lifetime, you know, when I was a kid, I thought I would secretly eat and I would find ways to get food and to you know, and my mom would go, where have they all those crisps gone? That's weird. And you'd be like, and you know, then she started hiding the Christian places because she thought they kept going missing just every day of every month of every year since then just just hunting down and finding the food that I wanted and feeding a shamed about afterwards. So I I knew amongst the success I was having and the friends I had and the lovely time I was having with people, I knew I had this weird secret thing that wasn't going away and that made me unhappy and certainly made me unhealthy. And that probably at some point I was going to have to do something about but it took a it took a long time. I'm shocked about how long it took before I finally went, do you know what? This is I need to do something about it. But we often understand how normal our behavior is by comparison. Yeah. Were people saying things to you like, like making little jokes and comments and stuff like that? No, not really. I mean, I could tell there's over weight but but like most addicts, you know, you can it's amazing how secret you can be about things is the truth. You know, how you can buy things and secret consume them in secret lock yourself away, you know, not be around people just so you can eat, you know, and plus, of course, don't forget, you can then go out for a pizza with all your mates who were just having their one meal of the day and you've been eating all day, but you think, great, I get to have a pizza as well. So, you know, socially, you can eat a lot as well and then go home and eat more and eat more convenience foods and and what have you. So yeah, I always knew I always knew it was I knew always knew something was wrong. But again, I think probably I'd added it to the list of things that were weird about me that I'm tall and I can't see and I got this weird food thing. So I just thought, you know what, you're not really fit for this world. It's the truth, you know, and you have all of these things that are up with you. So I think I just put it in the list of things that I wasn't probably I wasn't built to live the life that other people were living. And again, of course, these days, you realize everyone is everyone's not built. Everyone goes home and does something weird, not everyone. But you know what I mean? So many people have got their thing. But I didn't know that in those days. I didn't know. I just thought that I was uniquely, you know, not fit for these times. Being a kid born in the 1970s from a working class background, as you've said, is, you know, the idea of therapy, that the notion of mental health is quite an alien one. So that that day where you decide to make the call to a therapist, what's what's going through your head on that day? Honestly, I was I was I was really ready for it. It's the truth. I wasn't even kind of I wasn't even I was I was praying that was going to work rather than thinking it wasn't going to work. And from the second I walked in, this guy called Bruce and he's brilliant. And he you know, said, talk, talk me through the problem. Just, you know, and I said, Oh, this is the problem. And I'm, you know, I'm overeating, but you know, maybe it's okay because, you know, you know, I was giving it all this. And I said, but actually, it's sort of fine because you know, I'm doing this. And you know, I can I can control it. And let me talk for about 10 minutes. And he just said, and how's that all working out for you? And he thought, yeah, what you're right is working out terribly for me. And from that moment he had me, I just said, okay, let's go on this journey. And like a personal trainer, you just think, okay, I trust you, you know, absolutely, you've seen it all before. You understand all of these things. You can use my cleverness to your benefit. And it's just been a I'm so immensely grateful for everything that he's done and the wisdom he showed me. And one of the things I try and do in the books and in everywhere is is try and pass the arm because I was lucky enough to be able to afford this guy who's not, you know, he's not saying that, but it's difficult to find a therapist. And part of my job is any bit of wisdom he passes to me is I try and pass on because that's I feel like that's something that I can do and try and give people the thing that I've been given. What are some of those ideas that he, those kind of unlocking? Was there it, because I'm thinking, I assume there was like some bit of eureka moments where someone says something, you kind of, you detailed one there where he says, well, how's that working out for you?

Unlocking ideas from your therapist (45:16)

Yeah. Were there any like thoughts that he's given you, that Bruce has given you, that you can, that we can all apply to our lives that will help us understand ourselves better or free ourselves from whatever we've imprisoned ourselves with? Yeah, I think his key thing, is this idea of shame and the things that make us feel ashamed. Because here's the thing, if you start feeling ashamed, you then start feeling ashamed of being ashamed. In the same way anyone has ever had a panic attack will tell you, if you stop panicking, you then panic about panicking. Or if you start feeling anxious, you're then anxious about your anxiety. And that's the absolute thing you have to stop. That's the cut off. So if you're feeling shame or you're feeling panic or you're feeling anxiety, let it be. Okay, stay for a reason. It's looked after you for many years. Okay, and that was just another thing. You've got to make peace with this way that you've tried to protect yourself through shame or through panic or anxiety. Right. Just let it be what it is. And once you do that, it burns itself out. And listen, it'll come back tomorrow and it'll come back the next day. But what it doesn't do is spy on a spy or an aspiring and lead you to self-medicate. You know, if you can just let shame be what it is, if you can let panic or anxiety or however you experience what it is, however you experience the thing where you just realize that this ain't right. You know, this is not who I want to be or how I want to be. Whatever that feeling is for you, let it be what it is for a while, because it's not going away anytime soon. You know, if you want regime change, right, that's slow. You know, that boots on the ground, you know, it's bit by bit. So let it be what it is. Allow it. Shine a light on it. And you'd always say, you know, if you're in a moment of shame, and you can become conscious about it in some way, right? So say I've just eaten some food and I've feeling ashamed about it, because I just was sitting there and just thinking that was so dumb. Why have I done this again? Have a conversation with yourself. You say, right, now that conversation, that's you talking to you. Okay, that both of those bits are perfectly valid. Now, one bit is the one that's harmful to you. That's you. And the other bit is a bit that's trying to save you. That's you as well. And the key thing is, is just stop practicing the muscles on the one that's trying to save you. You know, just give it a bit more airtime each time. Just give it a few more arguments each time. The other one's never going away. And it never will any addict or tell you that's never going anywhere. It's power. And some days it's like so powerful, you know, but you have to let the other side of the argument. You've got to give it some strength. You've got to send it to the gym, you know, and that's that's the thing. It's it's saying, you're always going to have this, right? Because most people's addicted behaviors or whatever it is, come from chartered and come from a self that we built up almost always to protect ourselves from something. Okay, so you have to love it a bit. You have to love this thing that you set up to protect yourself. But also you have to talk to it. And when you're talking to it, you have to understand that there's two sides of yourself and you've got to build up the one that's talking to it. You've just got to build it and build it and build it and give it strength. And it's hard to do and you'll find different ways of doing it and different people will find different ways. But just remembering that the one that's saying, hold on, maybe I shouldn't have a drink, you know, that that is equally valid as the one who's saying I should have a drink. The one who's saying you should have a drink, he's got a point. Of course, he's got a point, you know, it kind of works for you. It numbs things that you know, listen, you wouldn't do it if it hadn't worked, you know, and you like it. So that's it's valid. But this other one is also valid. And maybe maybe listen to it a bit more often and just give it a bit more airtime. And then over the years, you might find that it's got more power than the other one. Is that what you found? Yeah, I have found it. And listen, it's really, really hard is the truth. And I get it with alcoholics and drug addicts, you can just cut off drinking booze and taking drugs. It's incredibly difficult. And I see the struggles that people have with it. And again, it's a lifelong thing. And every day you think, I'm pleased today, just let me drink today. I would love to have a drink. You know, you never meet an alcoholic who wouldn't just love to have a drink today. And with food, you do have to eat. So you have to put in a slightly more different set of rules. But you know, you just have to give yourself boundaries and know that you mustn't cross those those boundaries. But yeah, I think that honestly shining a light on things is the thing. Talk to people about it. Talk to people you love. You know, you'd be shocked. And I was shocked when I opened up to people and the people closest to me, I opened up and they went, you know, of course, I know, of course, I know that. But once they know about it, they can help, you know, and that's very powerful and it's very, very important. And then, you know, it's nice for me to be able to speak publicly about it. Because I do think probably there aren't enough male role models saying that food can be difficult and food can be an issue. And so I'm happy to be one. I'm sort of not, I'm embarrassed. Don't get me wrong. It's embarrassing for me to talk about. I absolutely put that on the record. You know, I'd rather not be talking about it. But the things that come from it are more powerful. And the more I talk about it, the less parrot has over me. And hopefully the more I talk about it, the less parrot might have over other people. Well, one of the things I've learned from sitting here with people from all walks of life that have been through a variety of different traumas is I used to think that we could cure this stuff. Like we could go to therapy. We could read this thing, read this quote, spin around, tap our head and it's gone. And I've come to learn that it's never gone. Now I almost view it, my head is almost the scales. And what you're trying to do is in fact, make the, allow the decision to be made by the better side. But the trauma or the beliefs that you've built as a child about the world and yourself and your relationships, whatever, is always going to be there. And it can be triggered and infled like a flame with oxygen. I think that's it. And the key is not to panic when it rears its head again. The key is never to think, Oh, I'm never going to be rid of it. The key is to go, Oh, I'm never going to be rid of it. That's the thing. As soon as the second you go, Oh, it's always going to be there. It's very freeing because you kind of go, Okay, this and every now and again, it's going to flare up. But I don't need to panic. I don't need to go all this work I've done, all this work I've done on myself, all these books that I've read. And it's still there. It hasn't gone away. And the second you go, it's staying. Right? It's like I've so far you don't like in your living room. Right? It's not going anywhere. Okay, you just have to learn to live with it. You know, sometimes you can look around, you don't even notice the sofa anymore. And sometimes you go, Oh my God, look at that sofa. Right? It is staying. And if you it gives you a lot of power to know that it's staying and that when it's in charge, which it will be sometimes that it's okay just to go, no, listen, just let it, let it do its thing. And the one thing that that addicted part of your personality wants you to do is panic. You know, that's the one thing it wants because that's where it thrives. You know, it thrives on the chaos. That's what it wants. It wants you to be off balance. So you have to sort of occasionally just go, I get it, you're in charge for a few days or for a week or so or a month. You do your thing. I'm going to try and just live in good faith in the rest of my life and just sort of let you burn out. 20 years in the TV business, roughly. Yeah. Is it 20? Yeah. So it was 30 really. If I still count as being your TV business now, which I sometimes I forget I am. That's a long time to be in TV. Tell me, tell me about that face of your career and really like what it, what I guess the question, the question I wanted to ask you is, how come you were so successful in TV?

Why were you successful? (52:35)

I know no one ever likes blowing smoke up their own ass or whatever, but you were very, very, very successful. You produced some unbelievable formats that, you know, go beyond luck or chart, you know, so in hindsight, why, why you? Well, it's a good question. I mean, I love and one I feel more comfortable talking about now, I've sort of stepped off that carousel now. I think that I love television, you know, and I loved seeing what entertained people and I've got quite mainstream taste. So it was in my DNA. I wasn't having to leave university going to television and think, right, what do people like? I've never, I've never, ever had to go into work and say, what do people like? Right? I sort of know that something I like, enough people will like that it's a TV show. So I've always loved that. I've always loved creativity. I've always loved, you know, sitting down with a pen and paper and knocking things into shape and I've always loved sport and the formats of sport and knockouts and stuff like that. So in jeopardy, that's very, very natural to me as well. But then I also, for reasons unknown to me, I love sales. I love selling. You know, I absolutely love going and pitching and the thing I love about it is working at what people want and why and how they're going to respond and how to give them the thing that they want. And so that combination of I would come up with things I was proud of and then I would try and sell them. And you know, that's the thing that I love. If I've had any success, it's been thinking of ideas that I would like to watch and then packaging them in such a way that someone at Channel 4 or the BBC will give you 4 million quid for it, which is a big ask. You know, selling a TV shows quite a big ask. It's like being a car salesman, you know, you don't need to sell that many cars to be successful. You know, the TV is the same way you've just got to make sure that you've got the best car out there. And so, yeah, I think I think a mix of the introversion of loving sitting down and working things out and working out formats and then the extra version of being able to say to people, I think this is really going to work for your channel. You know, those two things together have always driven me. I'm creatively, I'm incredibly ambitious. I love to create new things. And in business terms, I'm also incredibly ambitious, which I like to build value and I like to make money for people. There's two thoughts there, which in my head almost sit in conflict. One of them is I make things that I would love to watch and then figuring out what other people want. Well, that's the thing is I've never really, I've never bothered thinking about what people want. And I think the second you do that, that's a lie actually. So, in the mall, which I ran with a group of people for many years, after Big Brother and various things, there was a point probably sort of 2006, 2007, where we got so huge and so powerful that we could sort of sell anything, if that makes sense. Or not that we could sell anything, but people were so desperate to have product from us that they were buying substandard things. So, you know, there's a couple of times where I went in and we sold shows that actually, I was thinking, I don't know about this. And it's very rare that I would go into a pitch meeting thinking, I don't know about this one, but they would buy it in the room. And then you go, and then you got to make it. And guess what? It's really hard to make because no one cares. No one watches it because they can tell it's not, doesn't come from anyone's heart. So, you don't get a second series and TV business is all about second series and third series. You make no money from from a first series. So, we've definitely been in rooms where I pitched stuff that I didn't care about. But every time there's something you care, you really care about, and you can sell, and then you will give it your absolute best shot making it because I sort of, I know how to make it because this is the thing I want to watch. It was like books, books that I would like to read that I didn't see out there. And with TV programs, it's just, oh my God, you'd have an idea in the morning just go, I would love to watch that. I would love to watch that. Then you sit down, you workshop it, you work it out, and then you go and pitch it. And, you know, that was my entire career. I never really got involved too much in the real business side of things and, you know, in exploitation and rights and foreign sales and distribution and all of that. I was just sat in a creative hub, really, just coming up with ideas, just sort of feeding the engine. And I was able to do it because I would sort of be doing it anyway. I would sit at home and do that if I wasn't in that office. I would be thinking, this is the thing I would love to see on TV. And I was just lucky enough to be in an environment where I could have an idea on a Tuesday and we could set it on a Thursday. And it comes from, I loved it, but the second, the second new second guess yourself or the public will go, what would people like? I don't buy it. I don't buy it when people write books like that. I don't buy it when people make TV programs like that. And I was surrounded by people in that industry early on, not so much at Endamol, where we were TV lovers. But earlier on, where it was full of people who were just in it for the lifestyle and he didn't watch Telly. There's people even there who don't watch Telly. You just think, come on, do something else. What is creativity to you then? So you've described a few things there.

What is creativity to you? (57:42)

But at its essence, what is creativity and how does one, can one go about being more creative or becoming more creative? Yeah, it's a tricky one that is always just been the way that my brain has worked. I was talking to a husband of a friend of mine who is a working class French guy who is a maths genius. So he grew up in the Bandio Paris and at about 11 years old gets plucked out of the school system and taken to this like a call for mathematicians because he's a genius. And since he's made a fortune in the city, it's just algorithms. That's just in trading algorithms, right? Because it's the maths. As I was talking to him, we were on holiday recently and I said, so you come up with stuff that's new that other people haven't spotted. He's like, yeah, he does a French. I went to his accent. It's very, almost comically French. And he was saying, yeah, that's exactly what I do. And I say, how do you experience that? I said, because I know how I experience it and I experience it. There's five or six clouds of things going around the outside of my head at any given time. Something I've just seen on TV, something I just read in the newspaper, something somebody said to me, something my mum said to me, something that's happened at home, five different things. And occasionally, two of those things will bump into each other. And you go, whoa, I never thought of that before. And so without saying that, I said, how do you experience creativity? And he said, well, I just, I got all these concepts sort of, they sort of rush around the outside of my head. And occasionally, two of them will bump into each other or three of them will bump into each other. And suddenly, I've got something new. And that's how I've always experienced creativity. Now, is that useful to people? I don't know, other than to say, keep your eyes open and your ears open all the time and be listening to the world. Just see how the world is spinning, see how it's working. And sometimes there is, if you're in TV, it's seeing how a particular television program works. That's sort of a very direct bit of copying. But almost always, it's then you're on the bus and someone says something to their kid or someone's late for school and they're running. And you kind of go, wait a minute. That reminds me of something. So it's, it's eyes open, ears open all the time. And just allow things to bump into each other, I would say. There's a point, there's another piece there, which I've just noticed from you saying this, which is, I love the analogy of the clouds. So I was thinking, okay, so I need more clouds in my life, which is more points of inspiration. And the second thing is, well, there's loads of people have got loads of clouds, but they don't have the intent to connect the clouds, which is like, you have a, you've designed a life where you have, you actually have commitments to make the, to when the clouds bounce to turn it into something. A lot of people's clouds are bouncing and they're just going, Oh, look, the clouds just hit each other. Yeah, I think that's probably I've never thought about it. I think that's incredibly wise, two different things. Yeah, firstly, increase the number of clouds, which is increasingly a amount of people. If you want to be created by the way, you don't have to be, it's overrated. But increase the amount of clouds increase, increase the data points that are coming into you, you know, the people you're seeing, or you know, just go and do something different, go and learn Japanese, whatever it is, is something that gives you a different cloud. And then, yeah, it's, I guess, yeah, professionally, they've had to be bumping into each other for my whole life. So it's completely natural to me. But yeah, if you can force yourself sometimes to, to sort of think of the things that have gone around you here, think of the things that happened to you today, think of the things you watched, think about a film you just saw and why you liked it, or a film you just saw and why you didn't like it. You know, think about an argument you just have with your mum and what she said and why it's annoying. And you know, is it the same argument you keep having? Is there any way of fixing that in a different way? So just keep those clouds going and then, you know, occasionally let them just sort of intersect. And that's, yeah, I think by and large, that's where ideas come from. You know, and it's, you talk about it a lot on this podcast as well. Hard work is also a thing. You know, actually putting the hours in, you know, it's all very well to go, oh, no, just had the idea on the bus. And then I came in, but you only have the idea on the bus because you spent four hours the previous day with a blank piece of paper in the office, just thinking, oh, God, I got nothing, you know, because that's dislodging so many things in your head. So yeah, you have to work on it and then occasionally, occasionally, the gods give you a little gift. I thought so much, you know, because I think we're all artists in some respect in our own way, whether it's blogging or DJing or it's writing or making TV. I think that, and I also think expression is so, it's almost therapy for us. So I really, I really, I've got behind this idea over the last year of like, we all have our own form of art. And when we express ourselves, it's good for our minds. So the advantage that I think, I mean, you've both had is we've been in careers where that art has been monetized or there's been a real reward for it. So it comes so there's an incentive to drive it out of us. But if you for someone driving a lawyer up and down this country, walking the dog this morning before they go in, you know, go and go and work their job in a factory or, you know, I see all the tags we get on a Monday when the episodes come out. How do they go about creating that incentive to, to, when the clouds to connect to turn it into something? Or do you even write it on a piece of paper, you know? Yeah, you're quite right. We both have very short roots to monetization. But I sense that's important to both of us as well. And so we probably sought that out, you know, and found a career where that, where that happens. And it's interesting, you know, if you're a lorry driver, the greatest invention of the 20th century, the thing that changed the world more than any other invention is the lorry driver who, when he was sort of dropping off his load at the docks in Boston, and you know, he's got all the kind of Steve Adors taking everything out the back of his, you know, lorry and then putting it in another sort of big container to put on the ship. Just went, what if the container on the back of my lorry was the same container that went on the ship, you know? And what if you take that off and you take the container from the ship and you put it back on my lorry and then I drive it back down to San Francisco? What if you did that and invented the technology for, you know, the container crates as we see them now and opened up all the world trade, right? That's one lorry driver just having one idea on one day, you know, and absolutely changed the world. So there's no industries where you can't be creative, because if you're a lorry driver, you really, really know your business, right? And you know what causes delays. You know, when your work is harder, you know the five minutes you can knock off here, there are the other, you know, when you turn up at a place, the paperwork you have to go through, you know that three of those forms could be two forms, you know? You know that if people knew you were arriving 10 minutes earlier, you could leave half an hour earlier because, you know, break patterns could be changed, you know all that stuff. And so work on that if that's the industry you want to stay in. And if you want to make TV programs or write books or write social media stuff, then just consume it a lot, you know? And I just think you can only be creative in an area you're interested in. That's the truth. You cannot be creative in an area you're not interested in. It just doesn't, that's not how creativity works because creativity has to sort of be buzzing around all the time and be curious. So work out what it is you're interested in and then surround yourself with it as much as you can. It's hard if you're, if the area you're interested in is not your job because that's something you have to do in your own time. But if it's something you're serious about and you're curious about and you have the abilities, then just think about exactly what you said, which is intent, which is surrounding yourself by more things and then making those connections. The intentionality, I'm always trying to understand it because it links back to what you've done with your books, which have been just the most insane smash hit I've ever encountered in the studio with TV formats.

How intentional is success (01:05:02)

How intentional? How much is that sort of, I don't even know if intentionality is one intentionality versus like luck and chance and serendipity? You could, you've seen this for your entire career. So how much can you predict the success of these things? Oh, you can never predict. Funnily enough deal, I don't know, deal, which you just mentioned is the only show where after the pilot, I thought this is a hit. I thought there is no way this show is not going to be a hit and it was a huge hit. But it's the only time and there's been shows I've done before where I think, oh, this has got a good chance and they've disappeared and shows where I thought, I don't know about this and they've been huge. You can't tell at all and that's why it's important to trust yourself and do stuff that you love. So the intentionality is that if I put a lot of work into something and a book is the hardest I've ever worked on anything, if I put a lot of work on something, I want the upside, if it works to be, I want there to be an upside, if it works. If I do this properly, I want there to be no limit to what can happen with it. Because I like output for input, I like output to come out. And with TV, it's easier because, as you say, you can invent something on Tuesday and set it on Thursday with a book, you've got to spend two years. And so all the way through, I thought, if I do this well, I think this has got a chance. So my creative mainstream brain was thinking that, I wasn't thinking, I need to make it more like this, I need to make it more like that. I 100% wrote the book, I wanted to write. But as I was writing, I was thinking, if you do this properly, if this properly hits, then people will really like it. If no one had bought a single copy, or if I'd have shown it to an agent and she just said, this is not for us, that would have been fine too, by the way, because I've written it and that's creativity in and of itself is a thing. You know, you can paint a painting in your attic and it's like the Mona Lisa because you did it. But the fact that when it did come out, people liked it was a, yeah, I'd say it was a huge bonus.

Groups making creatives ideas vs individuals (01:07:06)

I read a quote and it said, there's a reason why great books become blockbuster movies, but blockbuster movies never become great books. And he says, one of them is written by committee and one of them is written by a solo author with their own ideas and inspirations. And I remember thinking that, fuck, that's so true. Yeah, that's interesting. J.K. Rowling yourself, you know, Spielberg bought your book? He has bought the book. Yeah, what the rights of the book, I hope he's bought the actual book as well. You never know. No, it's true. And there's some publishers of very interesting industry. Haven't come out of television. I know you had a big hit book. And it's a very, very, no, this is a big one. Mine was a pebble in the ocean. But it's an interesting industry. And if you bring any sales techniques into the world of books, I think it's a site shock to their system. And it's a very, very, you know, I love it. It's such a nice, kind, friendly industry. But you know, I come at it from a TV angle, which is, you know, TV, you look at the overnight, and there's millions. And, you know, that's what I've always judged things on. And in books, it's a slightly different market. So I've loved being able to apply some of the things I know and some of the techniques I know. So the book itself, listen, like with anything, you have to be proud of it. And I'm so proud of these books. I love them. Okay, that's the, that's the absolute base point of all of this. But once we've got that, I've loved the selling process, which I think a lot of authors don't love. I love it. I love the marketing process. I've got something I'm really proud of. I want as many people as possible to read it. That's what I want. I want as many people as possible to enjoy this book, want to entertain as many people as possible. And that's a process that I've loved. And a process I think publishing is not quite set up for is the truth. And it's been fun sort of finding, finding a way through that.

Writing Process And Philosophy On Happiness

You wrote this book without showing anyone (01:08:53)

And when you wrote this book, you didn't, you wrote it all before you'd showed anybody from what I understand. Then the first book. Yeah, the first one. Well, because only because I'm on telly, and you know, that thing of celebrity authors, and you know, it'll be easy to write a chapter and say, would you like to publish it? And of course they would, you know, because then again, you'd have to set a whole lot of books to make make a profit in that industry. So I thought I and I think that they would just say yes, and I wouldn't have any clue if it's any good. So I wrote the whole thing just to, because I wanted to prove that there's a good book, sent it to an agent who I trust very, very much, who comes from a very similar background to me. And I said, listen, you've got to look me in the whites in the eyes and tell me, would you represent this book if I wasn't on TV? And she said, listen, I would 100%, easy for her to say, but she did. And then before, just as it was going out to the publicism in the UK, we sold it immediately in Germany, right? And Germany is a big market Germany, they love crime fiction. And from that moment, I just thought, Oh, okay, I can now, I sort of believe, I liked the book, but you know, well, sometimes I hated it and sometimes I liked it. But I thought, I think it's got something. But the second Germany bought it and Germany have no idea who I am, you know, couldn't care less who I am. And they bought the book just on the strength of the manuscript. And I thought, from that moment, do you know what, everything now I'm just going to go full steam ahead, because someone who doesn't know I'm a celebrity has just bought this book and it's public and it's been top 10 in Germany for like two years. It's like, it's like non-stop out there. And they don't know who I am. I'll go out there and do press and they're like, they have no idea who I am. They just know the books. And yeah, so I was glad that I kept it secret because I never had that worry of, are people just publishing this because of who I am? Because I could see straight away from other territories that people who had no idea who I am. And Spielberg, again, within, I mean, we don't literally only just sold it. So, you know, there'd been no hoopla, no announcements. And he bought the rights immediately because he'd read it and liked it. And he didn't know who I was. So then from that moment, I just thought, I have the right now to really put my foot down on the accelerator and sell this because I because I because I believe in it. You said sometimes you loved it. Sometimes you hated it. Talked me about doubt and as it relates to your creative work of your career, generally.

Tell me about your doubts (01:10:54)

Well, I think I mean, anyone who's sitting at home and writing a book right now, you know, half the time you're just thinking, what is this? This is absolute nonsense. Or you know, this is, that wouldn't happen. Or you just think no one's going to be interested in this story. And you know, I still thought it was a book to and book three, both when they came out, I just thought, I know you think maybe you've lost it. And then the reaction is sort of reassures you each time. Listen, I'll lose it at some point. Yeah, it's it's it's impossible to you know, I'll read it. I'll read back scenes the next day and, you know, something will make me cry, I'll make me laugh or there'll be a nice line. I think, oh, that that's that's something. But you're you're so close to a book that if you were thinking it was good, something's up, you know, you have to think it's awful because, you know, it's like, it's never going to be the beautiful shiny thing that's in your head. You know, when I'm right in the fourth one at the moment, in my head, I know that I know the story. And it's so you would not believe how gleaming it is and how intricate and beautiful and like perfectly crafted and toned it is. And I know that the thing I handed in what I handed will not be that, you know, because I'll be compromises and I'll make mistakes and there'll just be stuff that's wrong. So I'll always be comparing it to the thing that's in my head, you know, and everyone, every writer in the head has the perfect novel. It's all up there. And the thing you you you give is not that thing. But the key with the key with novels, I think, is if people are engaged with your characters and love your characters and the nice thing is in this book, people, the character speak to people, which is which is great. If people love your characters, then the rest is just craft, the rest is just getting the story down. You know, the rest is just sort of putting them on a journey because if people love your characters and they care what happens to them, so you can make stuff happen then. And you know that the stuff that you may happen, people will care about. Quick one. I'm both extremely honoured and excited to announce our brand new sponsor for this podcast, American Express. I pretty much use my American Express business platinum card daily. So many benefits. It comes everywhere with me. It's an absolute no brainer. There's now a new range of benefit. The first benefit is that you get 10,000 bonus points each month on top of what you're already earning when you spend 10,000 pounds per month. And those points are then exchange for rewards for anything from holidays to flights, to tech, to designer purchases. And finally, the one that's had a real impact for me and our team is you can make use of their company expense management tool, AMEX Expense. It's free to use simple to set up and even integrates with your accounting software, which our finance team are very happy about. So with that said, if you'd like to find out more about how you can get hold of American Express's business platinum card, then search American Express business platinum card. And if you've already got a business platinum card, let me know how you get on. When you look back at the success of this book, and we talked earlier about these clouds that you can piece together, what are the clouds that you connected in order to produce this book? Yeah, it's well, a number, a number of clouds for a love of prime fiction.

What clouds did you connect to create this book (01:13:54)

That's a that and that just sort of vibe, but that idea that I sort of love a puzzle. And I think so just that's that kind of thing of that that's an itch. That's kind of thing. I would like to do it. Then I had an idea about a former civil servants putting off a massive bank heist. And there was a former civil servant who worked in a very boring job in the civil service, but it was so boring that people assumed that he was a spy, because no one's job can be that boring. So you work in white, I bet you're a spy. And he wasn't, he was just a logistics guy. And so I had that idea and I'd had it for ages, just this older guy who'd got this plan that he wanted to pull off. And then my mum lives in a retirement community, retirement village down in Sussex. And I was just down there, just looking around, I think I said, this would be an amazing place for a murder, you know, like Agatha Christie, Esch. And suddenly those things of look, you want to write a book and you had that idea about that, the civil servant or sort of spy who had this sort of big plan. And then you thought, Oh, there's this, there's this place and this group of people that they're, they're all a bit older. And this place would be perfect for a murder. And then in that community, they have every day is all sorts of different clubs, this French conversation club on a Tuesday, you know, Wednesday art history. And literally the name Thursday murder club came into my head with another cloud. All the clouds come together, they go into your brain, and you just think, Okay, let's start tomorrow. Because when the clouds come together in the right way, when the things connect together in the right way, you sort of, it's interesting, you sort of, you kind of press your foot down to see if it holds, it's like, it's like a sort of plank of wood has suddenly appeared underneath you, or like a little rope bridges appeared. And you sort of tread on the first plank of wood, you think, Oh, that's quite solid to that plank of wood. And then you step on the next one, you think, Oh, that's solid. And you step on the next one. And most ideas by the third or fourth plank, your foot goes through, they think, Oh yeah, of course, I can't do that because xyz. But sometimes, and you'd have experienced this, sometimes you keep walking on the planks of wood. And you're like, I mean, these are, these are solid all the way to the other side. As far as I'm going to walk across this bridge, you know, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna take the chance I'm going to walk across this bridge. And you know, that's that that's what happened, really, and that's how, and that also is how I experience new ideas and creativity is that that idea of you just try and put a bit of weight on them and it holds, you put a bit more weight and it holds. And you know, if it keeps holding, then it's worth persevering with. I've been through a really interesting journey with some of my ideas where I've thought of an idea, tested the planks all very solid. I've got very close to doing it. And then my gut has just gone, don't do it because like, you know, and then I've had, obviously, as I said, many other ideas where I've had an idea that wake up the next day, I think, Oh God, get that on the shelf. And it's funny, you know, it's funny how you can go on a quite an emotional journey, a conviction journey with an idea in at the very last minute you can go, do you know, something's just not right here? But I tell you the other reason for that, I think, is because you because you have walked the walk and you've built businesses and you know, when it takes, you also sort of know, if you press the green light on an idea, there's a huge amount of work ahead of you and responsibility. And sometimes you just think, I am not prepared to do that. There's not enough upside in this from me creatively, whatever it is for me to do it. And that's the same. I know, for example, that idea, like a novel, I knew two years before I wanted to write it, but I just didn't, I knew I didn't have the, I knew what it would take. And with this social media idea, I know at the moment, it would be all consuming. And that's not where I am. You nailed it. That's exactly what what happens. I get right to the point of pressing the button. And then I'm staring the cost in its face, the cost I've known so well. This thought of, okay, this is going to be five years and everything, which when I think of costs now, I think, okay, that means my relationship with my partner is going to get significant worse. My relationship with my friends is going to go anywhere. All my businesses are going to see less of me. And is that really worth it? And what is the upside there? Yeah, but it's exactly that. But again, that's not something you worry about at 21. It's 21. You just think, you're great, bring it on, bring it on. And now you, you know, you have the luxury of, you know, you, and that's the odd thing about having 10 ideas. The sooner or later one will come along, you just think, hold on, I really like it. It feels monetizable. It's not going to take up a massive amount of my time because of the way it's structured. And you know, my, my, my relationship will, will survive and my friendship will survive. And I still got this thing that I'm going to love. And you just, you just have to sit and wait for that idea to come along because, you know, you can't, no one wants, no one wants to be that guy is working 24 hours a day their whole life because it's honestly the truth is it's not that hard to succeed if you're willing to, you know, do everything and to work 24 hours, you know, it's not, it's doable with an idea and hard work. But that's not, that's not how your life should be. So the success of this book, you know, there's, there's a monetary element to it. You don't have an expensive taste.

How has it affected your happiness? (01:18:49)

So that's not really moved you much. There's the, the kind of validation of your own create singular, creative vision, which has been validated sincerely. How has it impacted your happiness at all? I think, you know what, I think it's, I think it's a reflection of my happiness, rather than a sort of a source of my happiness. I think it's a book that I have only been able to write from a happy place and from a place where I feel comfortable with my demons and comfortable with myself. And, you know, I think it comes from that, you know, the characters, the four main characters, all of him are sort of quadrants of my own brain. I think you can tell that I love those characters and they love each other. And that's probably not something I could have written 10, 15 years ago that comes from happiness or it comes from, it comes from self acceptance, you know, it comes from, I am, there's bits of myself, I'm very prepared to sort of put out there to entertain and to, you know, so I think, I think it's, I think it comes from happiness rather than being the source of it. Obviously, it brings me an enormous amount of joy and it's a load of fun and it's fun that it's a hit in other countries so you get to go abroad and you know, talk to them about it and, you know, that's fun. But yeah, and you know, and this, but the third one, there's, you know, there's, there's, there's lots of love there and I'm getting married this year. And so it's all little things where you just think the books, listen, they're crime stories, so there's murders and that, you know, there's, you know, there's red herrings and there's clues and all sorts of stuff. So that, that sort of got, it's got that agatha-christi thing. But the spirit of the book is hopefully a spirit that can only come from having, you know, having found some happiness with yourself. What is happiness to you? Because it's such a, it's such a small, simple word to describe so much. Yeah. And it's, yeah, it's, it's a really tricky one.

What is happiness to you? (01:20:33)

And the key thing is, is, is to know that you can't be happy all the time. You know, it's not like a kind of, you wake up every morning with a huge smile on your face. You know, there's still going to be parking tickets, you know, and the drains are still going to be blocked, you know, and there's still, you know, there's just, there's always going to be trouble. I think it's a, I think it's a, am I, am I content with myself? Am I, when I sort of close the door and I'm with either my partner or by myself, do I feel contentment? Do I feel there's a nagging, I think I've had years and most people do have just, there's nagging questions all the time. It's just something or something's not right, or am I in the right place or, and just that feeling that, no, hold on, I think, I think I'm in the right place, which I think you have when you're a really little child. And I think probably we lose over the years and I've been very, very lucky. And yeah, you have to fight to regain that, which is I feel happy and safe and secure and that I'm in the right place. Are there any questions still? Oh, goodness. Yeah, of course there are. I mean, my one, you know, I want to, I've always, as I say, because I don't see so well, I'm because I'm taught, I've always been a observer of life. I've always been an outsider, but I've never really got my hands dirty is the truth. And you know, I see, I see the problems of the world and, you know, I try and help financially and all that kind of stuff. I try and do good things. You know, I've never really got my hands dirty. And I think probably in the next decade, I should get my hands dirty a little bit, you know, just helping and, you know, making people's lives a little bit easier. That's the thing. And that's the thing I've always been frightened of. Well, because, because, you know, I've never really took part in life quite so much as other people, because of my height and because of my eyesight and because all of those things, I always felt I needed to be on the sidelines and I needed to just commentate. And I've been very, really happy doing that, by the way. I'm an introvert. I love, I love, I love to do it. But I do think you have a responsibility to leave the world a better place than you found it. Listen, there's not much point to us being here. But if we've got anything is to do that, is to sort of say, well, look, for whatever reason I was put on this earth, you know, the one thing I can do is try and leave it in a better state. And so that, that's, I think, the question for the next 10, 20 years, that sort of service, what can I do? How can I help? What about any personal questions you have about yourself and your, you know, you talked a lot about not feeling, especially when you were younger, not feeling like you were right for the world or that you fit in the world. Do you have any of those personal questions left remaining? No, I think, you know, I do think that I'm probably not quite fit the right for the world. But I think lots of us do. I think that's the, that's the thing, you know, the world is a, it's a weird place. I mean, it's weird that we're here, right? I mean, it's odd, right? It's peculiar. I mean, it doesn't make it makes no sense because we can look for a higher purpose if we want. And that's great. But even with that, it's weird, right? And it's weird that we have this civilization. It's weird that we have this consciousness. It's weird that we're millions and billions of people around the globe, or, you know, different countries, or thinking slightly different things with slightly different consciousnesses. It's weird, you know, life makes no sense. And so the key is to stop trying to find the answer to what is life. That's not something you're ever going to find. And I think the question is, is, how can I, you know, how can I help? Either how can I help if you find yourself in a position of power, or how can I ask for help if you find yourself in a position where you don't have power? And those are two very difficult things to do. These are questions that I think could only come from an introvert. Yeah, I think that's probably, I think I've got an alpha introvert. But yeah, listen, I love going home and shutting the door. That's my favorite thing. Family at home. Two kids. Yeah. Well, they're not at home anymore. They're old.

Family (01:24:22)

Early twenties. Yeah, 24 and 22. Wow. Yeah, crazy, right? Do you ever worry that because of that, that what happened with your father that you're, you talked about your first marriage didn't work out. Do you ever have concerns or worries? Like, because I often wondered when we've had like somewhat dysfunctional homes, how we then either continue the cycle, or sometimes it seems that people go very much the opposite way and really put measures in place to make sure they are the exact opposite, the antithesis of the experience they had. Have you found yourself reacting when you became a dad yourself? Yeah, listen, I obviously, I did the same thing my dad did. So I carried on the circle. But with the intention of breaking the cycle, I mean, that's the point. I mean, listen, our intentions are one thing. What actually happens is, is something else. And again, I think I was on a fault line. I think anything I'd chosen to do in my twenties would have collapsed. But I have a relationship with my kids that I didn't have with my father and I love them and they're hilarious and they're brilliant. And I love what they do for a living. And that's all wonderful. You can be held prisoner by trying to fix the sins of your childhood. It's the truth. Because here's the truth. You're never going to fix them. You're not going to fix them. You need to build something for yourself. And I think by thinking, no, I want a family because I wasn't able to fix mine. So I'm going to make sure that this next generation, I fix it in the next generation. And of course, it's doomed to failure. You're not going to create the thing you wanted to create, I think. So yeah, you just have to, whatever happened to you and whatever you're trying to prove, you have to do something for yourself, not to react against other people, I think. Not in a search for justice or... But of course, you search for justice. And I was, of course, I searched for justice. And I was searching to fix things. And I was not able to do either. And neither would I ever be able to. But in order to try and do it, I made my own mistakes. You're getting married this year, December? Yeah. It's exciting, isn't it? For me. That's so for you. I was not... You're like that fuss.

Monogamy And Book Impact

Monogamy (01:26:40)

No, it was nice to read that you're getting married this year. I've been thinking a lot later, been talking to my best friends about this idea of one partner for life. And I'm going back and forth. I'll be honest with you, because I'm here to be honest. I got girlfriend, she's up to death. But I was on... Don't tell her this. She might listen. Yeah. She probably will. But she... I'd say the same... She's not the same. She can listen to you all day. I think there's so many podcasts. I don't know if she actually listens to them. Exactly. Because we're good for someone. I was on Google this weekend looking at chimpanzee's mating patterns. Because I'm trying to figure out... I'm trying to come to my own. This is great. Listen, I hope she looks good for this video. Looking at him, wow. Chimpanzee mating patterns. This guy loves me. I'm trying to figure out if... Because they've got 99% the same DNA as us. If they stick around with the same partner forever, or if they mate within groups, what's your take on this? I know this is such an obscure question to ask. What's your take on whether we're meant to be with one person for the rest of our lives? Listen, I'm sure some people are not meant to be with one person, but it's very, very hard to do that and not hurt people. If you genuinely decide, "I am not made for that," enough of this human beings aren't monogamous. Forget that. Because lots of us are. Forget it. If you're not made for it, if you don't want to be monogamous, take responsibility for that. And taking responsibility for that means not hurting other people. And it means not being in a relationship with someone who thinks that that is a prospect or a possibility. And an awful lot of people take that get-out thing of, "I just don't think... Is it natural? I don't think it's natural." And if you think it, fine, don't impose it on everyone else. Don't impose it on the women you're with. Don't impose it on partners. Let them be who they want to be. Because it really suits a lot of people very, very well. I'm in this relationship now that I pray with all my heart last forever. I'm absolutely certain it will because we're made for each other, completely made for each other. And lots of other people at home will tell you that as well. And lots of people say they're in the wrong relationship. But don't universalize it. Don't say, "Oh, listen, everyone should just chill out. We all have multiple partners. It's just the natural way. Listen, I've been Googling chimpanzees. Listen, it's cool. That's all fine, but it's you. It's your responsibility. And if you're not ready to do it, you've got to stop wasting people's time. And perhaps when you are ready to do it, you'll be like, "Okay, this is... My heart was so ready and open when I met Ingrid, my partner." And hers was as well. And we both had our misadventures. That's the truth. We really have. But we absolutely were both ready. And perhaps you're not ready to be monogamous at certain ages. Perhaps you're not. But you have got to stop putting on other people and stop putting on chimpanzees and just say, "What am I prepared to do?" And perhaps there's compromise. Perhaps there is sacrifice. Perhaps that's something that you'll measure against other things and you'll feel that you don't want to sacrifice and don't want to compromise. But don't for a single second say, "As human nature, it's not as you making a definitive decision at a definitive time in your life." That's such good advice. And I think I needed to hear that. But part of it is because, and I've said this in the last two episodes or so, as it's been front of mind for me, is seeing of my close six best friends total failure in relationships over and over again. And me being earlier in that and going, "Why are 50% of these things breaking? If I've gone to the shop and bought a TV and the guy said, "Oh, by the way, there's a 50% chance that's not going to last." Probably wouldn't have bought the TV. But at the same time, you spend years coming up with creative ideas and 50% or then will fail, but you do them anyway. It's not a TV. It's a life. And actually, 50%, that's not the worst bet in the world. Obviously, for a 50% chance of lifelong happiness, you'd take that bet. But also, you know, by and large. So the odds can swing in your favor. I always think the best dating thing anyone ever said to me, and it's true for politicians and all sorts of things, they say, "Literally, the first date is when people tell you who they are." And then everything after that is backpedaling. So on your first date with your partner, you would have told her who you were and what you want from life and where you want to be. And ever since then, you've been backpedaling or saying, "Oh, actually, no. Actually, now I think about it. I want this." But listen to what someone told you on the first date. You know, that's who they are and that's what they want. Well, other than the storylines and the narrative and everything that's in this book, what at the very fundamental level do you hope that this particular book, the third installment is doing for the reader at a very fundamental level?

What is this book doing for people? (01:31:24)

Yeah. Well, you know, my job is always entertainment. You know, that's my thing. And in this book, honestly, it's the very act of starting the next chapter. That's what I aim for. You know, you finish one chapter, you think, "I've got to read the next one." I want people to start a long plane journey thinking, "Oh, God, I've got eight hours." And at the end of it going, "Oh, my God, that's great. I've got to read that whole book." You know, I want people at night to go and scream one more chapter. I just want to read one more chapter. And I want people at the end just to go, "You know what? That was a thumping good read. You know, that really, really entertained me. I'm going to tell my friends about it." That's the thing you notice about. I mean, it's so true in your business, but in books as well. Everything is after the first little initial flush, everything is word of mouth. Everything. You know, and it's like people telling people, telling people, telling people. And if you've got the right product, then, you know, it spreads because people tell their friends. But all I want to do is entertain people. You know, I'm not going to be, you know, Shakespeare. You know, I want to give people a great read that entertains them. They make some laugh, that makes them cry. I want them to try and work out who the murderer is. You know, that's what I want their lives to be miniscule-y improved by having read the book. Richard, as you know, we have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest asks a question for the next guest.

Closing Conversation

The last guest question (01:32:55)

And I only get to see it when we open the book. So here we go. What was the most valuable lesson you've learned in the last year and why? Oh, who's that question from? Can't tell, yeah. That's part of the mystery. What's the most valuable lesson I learned in the last year? Gosh, that's a good question. I think that, I'm talking about my kids. My son was working at Wagamama and hated it. It wasn't well-treated, is my view. Really didn't enjoy it, but he's a grafted. And he's now working at a computer games museum, which is so far up his street. It's amazing. And I think the lesson that I've learned is, I should have said to him two months before he quit, you should just quit. This is not, do you know what? This is not making you happy. They're not looking after you. This is not you. You know, I don't know, working hard is important, but you have got to quit and go and do something else. It's the truth. And I think if you're not being looked after and you're not enjoying yourself and you don't see this as a path to riches, you're allowed to just say, I need to find a workplace where I'm respected, which is what he's done now. Richard, thank you. Thank you for your time. And thank you for, you know, you've done so many amazing things in your career, especially on, you know, TV for the first sort of 20, 30 years of your career. But writing a book that has touched so many people in such a profound way, that is, in every corner of the world, that you wrote yourself, as you've said, it takes word of mouth to make a book reach these heights. And that in and of itself is a testament of how amazing, profound, resonant these books are on so many levels. So it's an inspiration to me, you know, I was, I got so because I'm writing a book at the moment with Penguin, understanding, especially the creative journey, how you write, where you write, the discipline, that it's also excruciatingly painful to you. And you describe it as a marathon has inspired me so much. And there's something really, really special, I think, throughout this book, but also just the way that you create in trusting yourself. And really in building anything, it's like what you said earlier about, make something that you would love. Yeah. Sometimes in my life, I've not done that. And it's never gone well. And that's really sort of made me reorientate myself towards focusing on that, that true alignment in my creativity, in what I'm building in my work. So thank you for that. I think people are going to absolutely love this book. Well, I know that for a fact, to be honest. And I hope to be back here with you someday and have continued this conversation. Thanks, Stephen. My pleasure.

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