Cameron boldly goes where Boris has gone before: Letterman

Sep 25, 2012

British PM will emulate his Tory rival Boris Johnson when he appears on the Late Show but is this wise?

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DAVID CAMERON'S decision to appear on the long-running US TV programme the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday night is being hailed as a brave and somewhat foolhardy move by commentators in the UK.

Cameron will be in New York to attend the 67th general assembly of the United Nations. A No 10 statement said the PM is taking time out from "a busy schedule of bilaterals and diplomatic work" to be grilled by the veteran chat-show host Letterman, 65.

The CBS show, which is taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in central Manhattan, is in its 19th year and regularly attracts an audience in excess of three million viewers.

Cameron hopes to send a message to that large viewership. Downing Street says he will "seize on the legacy of the London Olympics to further promote Britain" and "highlight all that Britain has to offer and encourage more Americans to visit or to set up a business here".

But while the PM thinks that he will be on the show to "bang the drum for British business", the risks of crossing swords with such a consummate pro as Letterman moves The Guardian's chief political correspondent Nicholas Watt to suggest that Cameron is making a "brave, if slightly foolhardy" decision.

Watt notes that the PM is following in the footsteps of his great Tory rival, London mayor Boris Johnson, who graced the show in June to promote the Olympics and was asked if he cut his own hair with a knife and fork. Cameron, who Watt says "believes he has a sharper wit than his fellow Etonian", thinks he will have less trouble.

However, with gategate offering Letterman's writers such juicy fare as a red-faced Conservative cabinet minister on a bike called 'Thrasher' effing and blinding at police officers, some fear the PM is walking into a trap.

The Sun's associate editor David Wooding told Sky News this morning that the venture was "high risk" and that the PM "might have a hard time".

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My God! What a waste of an expensive education!!!