When I made my speech (has to be done), I felt overwhelmed by life – so much so, that I didn’t even recognise one of my oldest friends, Tina (twice!), who I saw just three weeks ago. I greeted one couple at the door like long lost relatives, only to suddenly clock their confusion when they realised they were at the wrong party.

She bore her illness with the same fortitude and resilience as she did everything. Despite being a conductor, she was a very private person and, unless pushed, would not outwardly want to delve too deeply. ‘Ah, well, there we are then,’ she would say, when I went into major self-analysis mode. But she did think deeply and she was always intuitive, understanding and sympathetic to me. I hope I was to her, too.

WHAAAAAAAT? Pass the Parcel is fixed? Why had it taken me over 40 years to work this out? Was that the real reason I never got the prize when I was growing up? Because, having won everything else (Musical Chairs? My arse could hit a seat at 50mph), I was prevented from winning yet another game and outdoing the Also Rans?

I’ve spent most of my life alone as a writer, which has undoubtedly diminished my gang potential. But I get on really, really well with gangs when I get the chance. I think you’d be hard pushed to find any TV crew who would say I was anything less than a joy to work with – and I them. I love the camaraderie, the bonding, the endless laughter. I’ve yet to do a shoot on which we were not all in tears at the end.

At my maternal grandparents’ pub, there were many rules, but my grandfather introduced an air of unpredictability to the place. He was a born entertainer. A natural musician, he played the mouth organ and the banjo for customers, while my grandmother, between trips to the kitchen, looked on admiringly.

Mitya and I got on very well from the start; so much so, that he invited me back to talk more about TV – which would, of course, involve more drinking. We both enjoyed red wine, lots of it, and Mitya had the cash to pay a couple of hundred euros a bottle for it. Who was I to turn it down? I returned for another three weeks when, between bottles, Mitya tried to make sense of what was, to him, the nonsensical workings of British TV; but there was excitement in the air, as one of the ex-talent show producers was due to start work on a new “secret” show, and talk of other ideas was filling people with optimism. Or would have done, had Mitya known the first thing about TV