westminster movies

My greatest luxury is my Foundation, the charity fund that lets me give away money to whoever I want, whenever I want.

It may never be as heavily bankrolled as Bill Clinton’s foundation, or build a national library like Ronald Reagan’s, but it’s perfect for me. I receive donations from wealthy, generous men and women — at charity auctions, for example, where a signed bent spoon can fetch thousands of pounds when the bidding gets competitive.

For most of my career, my brother-in-law Shipi has kept a record of our incredible everyday lives on camera. To start with, we made Super-8 cine movies. Shipi built up his biceps lugging those big cameras around Europe and America, and when we wanted to run the movies we had to set up a projector and a screen.
I wasn’t the only star exploring celluloid freedom by making home movies. Peter Sellers had been taping everything he saw since the start of the Sixties. Maybe he got the idea from director Blake Edwards on the Pink Panther film-set… or maybe it was something to do with being married to Britt Ekland!
As videotapes got smaller and storage got easier, we archived more and more home movies. By the time Hanna and I were married under the traditional Jewish chuppah (or canopy) at our home in 2001, Shipi was using a palm-sized digital camera. These days he records hours of footage with his mobile phone.
Much of the Seventies material has been archived onto DVD. It brings a lump to my throat to see Hanna and me as we were back then — it looks like another planet. And then Daniel and Natalie came along, and that really changed our world. Like all parents we love to watch films of when the children were young.
After Michael Jackson died, I reviewed a lot of the movies we’d shot with him. Initially it was part of my grieving process, a way of bidding farewell to my friend. And then I realised that what I had was rare, probably unique — a glimpse of Michael as he really was.
Cameras usually brought out the performer, the entertainer in Michael. It was a defensive reaction. But our friendship was so close and natural that he didn’t feel inhibited by Shipi’s incessant filming — in fact, he loved it, and he teased Shipi about getting the best angles, especially with the fans and outside Harrods.
That camera was rolling from breakfast till bedtime, wherever we went.
And it was rolling when we visited the Palace of Westminster. We had a guided tour of the Commons, and Shipi captured the moment that Michael sat on the front bench.
“Don’t sit there!” Greville barked. He began to explain that only cabinet ministers were permitted to park on those pews, but Michael was wearing his mischievous grin. I could see he’d spotted a way to have some fun.
“How about there?” he asked, pointing to the Speaker’s Chair. “Can I sit up there, Greville? No? OK… can I buy it?”
It’s all on tape. So is our visit to the Lords’ library, with its magnificent leather-bound volumes, hundreds of years old — Michael was fascinated by their antiquity. He searched their spines, looking for titles that hinted at forgotten mysteries.
When I revealed this footage for the documentary, I believed the programme-makers would recognise it as historic and candid. But I had reckoned without the iron statute that no recordings may be made inside the Houses of Parliament, apart from limited shots of the debates.
So to everyone who tuned in expecting to get the whole story, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to hold anything back. But sometimes, you have to press the ‘pause’ button.


When we bought our home in England, back in the Eighties, one of the big attractions for me was the swimming pool. Every day, even on icy January mornings, I loved to dive into the heated water.
For 17 years, my daily swim was part of my meditation routine.
And then one day, I stopped. I suddenly lost all desire to swim. I can’t explain it — there’s no rational reason. I simply didn’t want to… and not once in the intervening years have I ever felt an urge to swim again.
Over the years, our pool has fallen into disrepair. We kept it covered, but we stopped bothering with maintenance. Until one day, when a party of children with cancer was visiting our home, a little boy spotted the pool and asked if he could take a dip.
I felt sad as I explained the pool was empty. And I vowed that next time a child asked to swim at my home, the water would be ready.
So a local firm, Buckingham Pools, are relining a

nd paving my pool. And since we were doing that, I thought we’d get the bathrooms in the house replumbed too.
That meant digging under the marble floors… which got me thinking about the carpets. I took a deep breath and decided to replace those as well.
The strange thing is that the carpets don’t seem like an extravagance — because the bathrooms are costing us five times as much. The plumbers’ bill is unbelievable.
My son Dan is flying in from California today. I’m going to tell him he made a mistake in training as a lawyer — he should have gone for the big money and become a plumber.


left to right – Roy Zaltsman, Uri Geller, Ben David and Eran Raven

It’s great to catch up with contestants from my international TV series. These three mentalists — Roy Zaltsman, left, Shlomi Ben David, and Eran Raven, right — visited my London apartment this week to talk about the power of the mind.

Shlomi, in fact, has never been on the show, though he would make a fascinating guest.  Roy was part of my very first series, in Israel, and Eran appeared in America. He’s now working for Google… I suspect he’s developing a search engine that can read your mind.

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