But a trip to the wilds of Scotland saw him reveal what terrified him – the possibility of wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan having ketchup on his breakfast roll.
The legendary spin doctor’s freakish fear reared its head as he headed out with Scot for a new BBC series, Into The Wild With Gordon Buchanan.
“He was open and willing to talk about all areas of his life,” said Gordon, 43.
“Even his battles with alcohol and depression were up for discussion.
“But the thing that surprised me most was when he talked of having a phobia about tomato sauces.
“It’s a pathological condition, with ketchup being his number one concern. He’d avoid places he might see sachets or bottles of sauce.
“He told me about it on the first morning when he was relieved I had brown sauce on my roll and sausage.
“We were camping on Mull, so we just stayed away from cafes.”
Gordon, whose other hit series Tribes, Predators And Me is on BBC 2 tonight, reckons a shared Scottish island background helped ease the concerns of the former No 10 Director of Communications. But he admits that their relationship didn’t get off to the best of starts.
“The first thing he said to me was he didn’t have a clue who I was.
“Then he got on his phone and checked me out with a mutual acquaintance and seemed to relax when he got the word I was OK.
“You could see how his upbringing shaped him and we struck up this great relationship. It was a very peculiar bromance.
“But he’s definitely not someone that suffers fools gladly.”
Returning X Factor host Dermot O’Leary, broadcaster Sara Cox, BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson and comedian Ed Byrne are the others in Gordon’s charge.
He tries to track down rare wildlife for them, pushing the famous faces to build hides, climb trees or go diving to encounter the elusive creatures.
“Everyone turned out to be really great company,” says Gordon, who is better known for his work getting close to big cats, bears and wolves all over the world.
“You’e spending three days with someone you don’t know, and they are very long days.
“To see wildlife you need to get up before sunrise and stay up way past sunset.
“John Simpson and I had a huge amount in common. Our work is very similar, if you substitute war for wildlife.
“We both travel all over, working in difficult, uncomfortable situations just with different things we are trying to uncover.
“Dermot was luckiest with the wildlife. We saw otter, golden eagle, about 30 dolphins and got into the water to swim with basking sharks.”
The Cairngorms and the Isle of Skye were a couple of the other wild spots chosen for filming.
Gordon is back to far-flung filming over the next few months, heading to Kenya for a major series on elephants due to be screened at Christmas.
Into The Wild With Gordon Buchanan starts on BBC 2, April 11, 6.30pm.
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