“I am not afraid of dying.” An emotional last conversation with the great Sir Clive James

Clive James was dying when I met him. Everybody knew it, because the great writer and broadcaster had said so in print. He was embarrassed at not having gone already, he said when we sat down to talk. And talk. And talk. Never meet your heroes, they say. They’re wrong.

“I wasn’t a great boyfriend”

Gary Lightbody has not had a girlfriend in eight years. He’s a handsome rock star, the lead singer in Snow Patrol, known for great anthems of love and longing like Run and Chasing Cars, but still he’s single. “Yeah, it doesn’t really make sense, does it?”

“I deeply regret having been in this business.” Sir Jonathan Miller rages against the dying of the light

Subterfuge won an interview with this brilliant waspish man who was candid, confessional and railed against everyone from the “idiot” Prime Minister to his old colleague David Frost.

“I totally saw how you can start to go mad.” Into the mind of the master illusionist Derren Brown

Derren Brown looks deep into my eyes and smiles. ‘Being a hypnotist is the ultimate fantasy of control really, isn’t it?’ I can only agree with this master of manipulation, who appears to have the power to read the minds of strangers and make them do outrageous things.

“Those were my pals.” Listening to Henry Allingham, the boy who saw the Somme from the air in 1917

Watching the movie 1917 reminded me of meeting Henry Allingham. He saw WG Grace bat. He saw the battle of the Somme from the air in an aircraft made of wood, cloth and wire. He was the oldest man in the country when I met him in 2007 and he lived to be the oldest man in the world, dying just over a year later at 113.