New York, Sept. 27: David Cameron’s decision to brave one of America’s most-watched chat shows left the Prime Minister red-faced as he struggled to answer David Letterman’s questions about British history.
The Prime Minister was caught out on the Late Show when Letterman asked him to name the author of Rule Britannia and he answered incorrectly. He also failed to explain the meaning of “Magna Carta”.
After his errors, Cameron — educated at Eton and Oxford — joked: “That is bad, I have ended my career on your show tonight.”
Cameron also faced jibes about his social background and public school accent and admitted he is “not very popular at the moment”.
The interview was recorded in the Broadway home of the Late Show in New York before Cameron flew to Brazil on a trade mission.
American Presidents, including Barack Obama, have appeared frequently on the show, but Cameron was the first serving British Premier to be a guest.
Cameron was following in the footsteps of Boris Johnson, the London mayor, who earlier this year had the worse of his exchanges with Letterman.
Letterman opened the appearance by asking Cameron some “dumb American questions”. The first was who wrote Rule Britannia, the song to which Cameron had arrived on the set. Cameron — wrongly — guessed at Edward Elgar.
After the break, Letterman eventually informed the Prime Minister that the song was actually based on a poem written by James Thomson and set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740.