Famous, not just as a “former potential prime minister”, as he graciously put it, but now as a terrific TV presenter, Michael Portillo enraptured a packed-to-the-rafters Guildhall on Tuesday night with stories of political intrigue and hilarious moments from his time in the Commons and television, reviews Paul Thomas.

The former Tory MP and Secretary of State for Defence blistered though more than an hour-and-a-half of great tales in a self-depricating fashion of admiring candour.

Debonair and elegant, the sophisticated and sartorially elegant Portillo, of Spanish, Scottish descent, wearing trademark colourful jacket, told the audience King’s Lynn was “magnificent”.

I have to say, so was an evening in his company for Life: A Game of Two Halves.

The Great Railways presenter’s “I’m not used to a live audience, because of the House of Commons”, had us in stitches as did his reminiscences about Margaret Thatcher, who he told not to resign, and a lighthouse keeper telling a battleship captain his vessel would have to move as he could not while the ship got ever closer. Other moments were more politically heavy as was some of the fantastic Q&A at the end. But, as ever, his truly gentlemanly behaviour in signing books for all those who wanted them, nearly made him late for the train home. Choo choo was brilliant.