Prince Philip: I've gone into hiding in case BBC want to talk to me about the time I met him – Susan Morrison

Thought I should say something about Prince Philip, but then thought, nah. Everyone else has. Even Penelope Keith. Was there anyone they didn’t speak to?

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 4:45 pm
There's only so much Nicholas Witchell the nation can take amid rolling news coverage of Prince Philip's death, says Susan Morrison (Picture: Adrian Dennis/WPA pool/Getty Images)
There's only so much Nicholas Witchell the nation can take amid rolling news coverage of Prince Philip's death, says Susan Morrison (Picture: Adrian Dennis/WPA pool/Getty Images)

It’s always the same when the Great and The Good depart. Rolling 24-hour coverage constantly needs new faces. And there’s only so much Nicholas Witchell a nation can take.

The first talking heads are the people who probably had his mobile number on their contacts list.

Naturally, for Prince Phillip, this included grumpy ex-military men. Always good value for money, they glare at the cameras as if they were harbouring snipers, bellow at male newsmen like they’re slightly dim subalterns and try to be gallant to the ladies.

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Then there’s the non-specific Great Man, perhaps once a captain of industry who worked with the Important Dead Person on a project bringing wifi connections to penguins in Antarctica.

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And, of course, the courtier. The sublimely smarmy Lord Mega Important, who insists on referring to the Deceased Celeb by their nickname and launches into long pointless anecdotes about just how marvellous they were.

As the news rolls on and devours more time, the backstage boys and girls get desperate. They’ve had the admirals, the CBI and the entire House of Lords.

Fresh fodder is needed or Witchell will start talking again. Now it's a bloke who saw a wave on a drive past, or the woman who’s mum spoke to him on a walkabout.

Two elderly chaps appeared talking about doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the 60s. Character building, they said. Even though they both got pneumonia after being lost in the rain above Halifax. No, they hadn’t met the Prince.

In the evening of Phillipfest, I got a feeling of dread. They’d just interviewed a woman who cleaned a hospital he’d opened in 1975.

They were getting desperate for talkers. And it suddenly hit me. I’d met Phillip. The garden party a few years back. Quick, I said to my husband, lock the door. Switch everything off. Don’t look outside.

There’s a chance a BBC crew are on their way on a snatch-and-film mission.

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