May 27 2009, Rome. It is a hot day and thousands of tourists flow in and out of the Colosseum. Many are dressed in red shirts, the colours of Manchester United. Others are in scarlet-and-blue stripes, the colours of FC Barcelona. Today, Rome hosts the final of the Champions League, Europe’s greatest sporting prize.
From the west side of the Colosseum, taking the short walk towards the Forum entrance are two familiar figures from the golden age of television, Sir David Frost and Sir Michael Parkinson. At first, the vast tribes are a concern to men past their 70th birthday, until those in the red shirts – hundreds, maybe thousands of them – stop, stare and begin to part as if Moses had demanded it.