Poor old Peter Jones hasn’t had the best year so far. Firstly, he’s been plagued with illness: "I’ve had a rough year. Flu followed by pneumonia" and secondly, he’s being plagued by members of the public to call the Christian O’Connell breakfast show.
"A guy in a huge van just rolled down the window and shouted: ‘Oi! Jonesy! Do us a favour and call Christian!’ So, here I am," he admitted.
The Absolute Radio DJ has been running his "Who’s Calling Christian" competition. Listeners get celebrities to call the show in return for a possible cash prize of £20,000 plus a further £20,000 for the celebrity’s favourite charity.
It’s a worthy cause, and an excuse for some great radio banter between the Dragons’ Den star and the DJ. "If you were to put together a graph which showed when Peter was off with man flu, that’s when the economy took a nosedive," joked O’Connell.
Jones was on top form. He talked frankly about the economy: "This thing about the banks has been tough. But I wrote an article for a magazine last year saying that by March/April time we’d start seeing a recovery.
"My fellow dragons have criticised me for being too optimistic, but someone’s got to be. I believe that 60-70 per cent of the businesses that have failed probably deserved to do so. I’ve had enough doom and gloom. The sun is shining, so I say get off your backside and get on with it."
Jones called the show hoping to secure the £20,000 prize for his charity, Forgotten Children, which helps kids with terminal illnesses. To get the public to vote for him, he also offered to "put more money in the pot myself: 50 per cent more."
But, ever wily O’Connell had a better idea. He challanged the Dragon to persuade Simon Cowell to call in. And without a moment’s hesitation, Jones replied: "I”ll get on the mission straight away."
O’Connell replied: "If anyone can, PJ can!"
And, true to his word, at 8:30 this morning, Simon Cowell did indeed call Christian! The star is currently in LA filming the latest series of American Idol. It was 2am his time and he’d stayed up all night.
What convinced him to give up his beauty sleep?
"I have to say, Peter Jones sends the most persuasive text messages," he said. "Perfect grammar and everything."
If you’re as impressed as RB by this speedy coup, vote for Peter Jones’ charity on the Absolute website.
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