John Gibson: Max is far too busy to watch TV

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I take people as I find them, understand, and I found Max Clifford pretty much a decent, affable sort of a guy. He had come to Edinburgh to talk at the Television Festival, 65 then, and he wanted me to meet his fiancee, Jo Westwood, 45, a volunteer at a children’s hospice in Surrey.

It had been a good week’s business for him. He had clinched the lady with a solitaire diamond and signed Chris Hoy.

His Glaswegian wife, Liz, died of lung cancer in 2003. That’s where they met, four years previously. Jo was helping him recover from losing his wife.

At the time of writing he had three houses – two in Weybridge stockbroker country and one in Spain.

Max himself had been poorly over Christmas. “I had an enlarged prostate and last autumn, when they discovered some malignant cells I thought ‘Christ!’ Apparently it had been on the cards for five years. I was lucky. I had an intense course of radiotherapy for weeks on a wonder machine at Cromwell Hospital in London and they managed to pinpoint my problem down to a tiny particle.

“I urge every man over 50 to get a PSA, have their prostate checked once a year. The trouble is that too many men are literally dying of embarrassment rather than have it done.

“I don’t ‘sign’ anybody. Never have. It’s all done on a handshake. That’s a how I worked with all my clients, among them Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Simon Cowell. I was very friendly with Simon’s late father, Eric.

“Besides being a world-shattering talent, Chris Hoy, I’m finding, is a nice guy.”

For the Television Festival he had been in a debate on I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me on TV.

“I don’t see much TV. I’m out a lot.”

You said it, Max. He was 71 on Sunday. Last time I saw him, pictured in national paper and mired in a party hosted by Diana Dors. Good luck to you, Max. That had nothing to do with me, of course.

The trial con-tinues.