Love him or loathe him, Simon Cowell is arguably the most influential player in the British entertainment industry and one of Britain's most successful exports. After a humble start in the post room at EMI, his meteoric rise began when he became a top A&R executive, signing huge acts from Westlife and Five to Robson & Jerome. Fame and a television career followed when he became a judge in the TV talent shows Pop Idol and American Idol and subsequently created the hit shows The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, watched by millions every year. His trademark blunt honesty coupled with his extraordinary business savvy has made him a household name – but what do we really know about this charismatic and sharp-tongued man? In Simon Cowell Chas Newkey-Burden finds out, interviewing friends and old colleagues, and lifting the lid on the professional and private life of one of Britain's most eligible batchelors.