TV is a notoriously fickle medium, which has the power to make or break politicians. Boris Johnson has made his fair share of gaffes, but as James Macintyre points out in his article “The Boris dilemma” (in this month’s Prospect), the London mayor’s “ebullient appearances on the TV quiz show Have I Got News for You are part of his charm.” Here’s a selection of Boris’s finest, weirdest TV moments.
1). Boris Johnson hit it off with soap landlady Peggy Mitchell when he made a cameo appearance in EastEnders. The appearance provoked criticism from Ken Livingstone, who claimed that, when he asked to do a cameo in the eighties, the BBC turned him down. The impartial broadcaster didn’t intend to give Boris an easy ride, though. In the scene before this one, Peggy claims, “if ever I clap eyes on that Mr Johnson, ha, will I give him a piece of my mind,” not a threat to be taken lightly:
2). Boris and Albert Square’s Barbara Windsor got on so well that he enlisted her as his street party czar. She vowed to bring “silly hats” to celebrations across London, inspired by Comic Relief’s “red noses.” True to her on-screen persona, Barbara didn’t let Boris get a word in edgeways, a rare achievement:
3). Unlike Barbara Windsor, Kelly Brook seemed starstruck when she teamed up with Boris to unveil the route for his Sky Ride event. In this clip, she giggles admiringly as Boris extols the virtues of cycling. At the end she adds self-deprecatingly: “And I’ll be there too, not that that makes a difference!” She enjoyed herself so much, she backed Boris for a second year in 2010:
4). Boris finds out he is descended from German royalty on a BBC celebrity genealogy show. Visiting the castle where his ancestors lived, he proclaims: “What a Schloss!” Also notable is Boris’s ability to improvise Basil Fawlty-esque pidgin German phrases, such as “we’ve got the Vater von, er, von Carolin!” and “ich habe der Mystery gecrackt!” Bingo!
5). Boris took no prisoners in this charity football match between England and Germany. Called off the subs’ bench five minutes before the end of the game, Boris charged straight at professional footballer Maurizio…