Johannesburg-born estate agent Stephen Riley knocked on the door of a posh London home. He was there for a deal.
He was greeted by none other than British pop sensation Cheryl Cole. But his excitement was short-lived.
That’s because the Fight for This Love singer went all diva on him. The former WAG’s crazy antics started as soon as Riley, 32, stepped into the five-bedroom mansion.
The ex-wife of English footballer Ashley Cole did everything in her power to embarrass and annoy Riley, from making him walk through a metal scanner to offering him cold tea made with tap water and pretending to talk to her house.
Cole even went as far as to hire a violinist who played close to Riley’s ear as they had lunch.
The South African – who started Riley Marshall Estate Agency with his friend from their London living room in 2008 – had no clue that he was the victim of a prank for the British television show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
The episode, which aired two weeks ago, also featured other London property agents spoofed in a similar manner by Cole. She wore an earpiece and was prompted by the producers.
Said Riley: “I was out of the office that day when ITV called. My colleagues set me up to go on the show unknowingly and be pranked.”
He was stunned when he arrived at the house to see that Cole was the “owner” and immediately reckoned he would need his A-game to win her business, he said.
He obliged her every request, including removing most of his accessories and belt to walk through a scanner at the entrance. He even silently tried to drink the tepid tea Cole made with tap water, claiming it was her “first cup”.
When Riley told Cole her house was worth about £3-million, she began jumping and screaming with joy.
He later learnt the house had, in fact, been rented for the day.
Cole kissed him on the forehead after playing Westlife’s You Raise me Up, gushing that Riley was one of her top three agents. “Cheryl said she talks to her house and then she asked the house if it liked me.”
At that stage Riley wrote Cole off as “bonkers”.
“I thought she had a weird way of testing real estate agents.”
After 20 minutes of torture, Cole eventually revealed to Riley that he had been pranked.
And his reaction to it all: “I fist-pumped the air and laughed my head off. It was such a strange yet exciting experience.”
-SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER, TimesLIVE