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Beef Of The Week #409: Piers Morgan v Andrew Ridgeley

By | Published on Friday 22 June 2018

Andrew Ridgeley

Andrew Ridgeley, formerly of Wham!, appeared on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ earlier this week in order to discuss a charity bike ride he’d taken part in recently. But when presenter Piers Morgan tried to move the conversation over to Ridgeley’s former bandmate George Michael, things turned awkward, resulting in Morgan later calling his guest an “insufferable dick” on Twitter.

Yes, you read that right. Piers Morgan called someone an “insufferable dick”. Piers Morgan. The Piers Morgan. You know him, the diskish insufferable one. Piers. Morgan. That’s what he called another person. Even though that should probably be his very own Twitter bio. Nevertheless, he called someone else an “insufferable dick”.

But, hey, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. We should really examine exactly what happened here before laying into any insufferable dicks.

First off, I’ve already been somewhat unfair. The Dallaglio Cycle Slam is a bit more than a charity bike ride. It sees 200 participants cycle 18,000km over the French and Swiss Alps, around the Italian lakes, and across Slovenia and Croatia, over eighteen days. This year the event has raised over £1 million for former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio’s RugbyWorks charity, which supports young people who have been excluded from school.

Having been one of this year’s riders, Ridgeley was invited on to ‘Good Morning Britain’ to discuss the project. During the interview though, Morgan – perhaps unsurprisingly – attempted to nudge conversation over to Wham! and George Michael. Asked about his former pop success, Ridgeley said that this was “not pertinent” to what he was on the programme to discuss.

So Morgan then instead focussed on the death of Michael, resulting in this spiky exchange:

PM: How have you and all [George Michael’s] friends dealt with the period since he’s died?

AR: I would imagine much like anyone else does. There’s a period of grief, and it’s a difficult adjustment. You know, the loss of a great friend is traumatic and emotionally tough. Almost as emotionally tough as the Dallaglio Cycle Slam.

PM: You really don’t like talking about the past, right?

AR: I wasn’t sure that was why I was here today to be honest with you. I’d much rather be discussing the Dallaglio Cycle Slam and its good work for people who haven’t had privileges of you and I. I think that’s rather more worthy subject matter.

After completing the interview, Morgan apologised to viewers for Ridgeley’s behaviour, saying: “Sorry it was a bit awkward, that interview. I never really understand why people come on if people don’t want to talk about whatever. If you were one of the biggest pop stars in the world, I’d imagine you would talk about it. If anyone was offended by me asking about pop music and Wham! stuff I can only NOT apologise”.

On Twitter later, he put it in more blunt terms, saying: “Many thanks to Andrew Ridgeley for being such an insufferable dick today – much appreciated!”

Ridgeley got in a more subtle dig on Instagram, saying that it had been “a pleasure to speak with the charming Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway”, while leaving out Morgan’s name.

Affronted, Morgan responded: “Sorry for mentioning the only thing you are famous for – how unspeakably rude of me”.

Fending off critics on Twitter, Morgan said: “You think he’d have been booked on ‘GMB’ today to plug his charity cycle if he wasn’t famous? He knows the game but chose not to play it. Very dickish move”.

Another Twitter user accused Morgan of trying to make the interview all about himself. “All about me?” he spat. “I tried to make it about a pop star who was able to raise money on the back of his fame with Wham! He chose to show his gratitude for the airtime – in which the charity was heavily promoted – by being a dick. And now you’re doing the same”.

Now, I think we can all agree that it’s never easy to side with an insufferable dick. By which I mean Piers Morgan, obviously. Though, while this Beef Of The Week has probably so far sided with Ridgeley on this one, maybe… well… as much as it truly pains me to say so – particularly as it won’t be the first time – perhaps Morgan has a point.

After all, there is no way that Ridgeley would have been asked to do this interview if it weren’t for his fame as a member of Wham! and his relationship with George Michael. He also wouldn’t have been put forward by RugbyWorks as one of the faces of the cycle ride without those claims to fame.

Would it really have been so hard for Ridgeley to drop in a little Wham! chat? No it wouldn’t. And it wasn’t. Because this wasn’t the first interview he’d done about the Dallaglio Cycle Slam on ‘Good Morning Britain’.

Last month, he appeared with Lawrence Dallaglio and actor John Hannah, who also took part in the project this year, shortly before they were about to embark on their journey. In that interview, he brought up George Michael entirely unprompted. Asked why he wanted to get involved with the event, he spoke about wanting to help young people who hadn’t had the opportunities afforded to Michael and himself.

That reference to Michael was in the context of the charity event I suppose, which is what he wanted. But he was also asked about Michael’s death during that interview, and specifically whether or not he thought there should be a permanent memorial to the late musician, which he then discussed seemingly quite happily.

The difference on that occasion was that Morgan wasn’t there. Instead he was interviewed by Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway. So perhaps the issue isn’t so much that Ridgeley doesn’t like “talking about the past”, maybe it’s more something to do with Morgan’s interview technique.

Whereas in the previous interview the topic of Wham! had arisen organically, and for the most part was contextualised within discussion about his charity work, this time Morgan arrived and just tried to sledgehammer George Michael into the conversation. And then afterwards carried on bashing his metaphorical tool around the studio and social media.

Anyway, if at this point you’re still on the fence about who the bad guy is in this particular beef, well, frankly, it doesn’t fucking matter and would you please stop making me think about Piers Morgan now?