Rod Stewart refused to share a photo of his model railway

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The BBC series Have I Got News For You! returned tonight as the panellists reviewed the biggest stories of the week. However, host Jess Phillips admitted Sir Rod Stewart turned down a request from the BBC to appear on the show in photo form.

Rod, 76, was part of a segment where the presenters had to guess the odd one out in a picture.

He appeared alongside Emperor Nero, Alexander the Great, and Henry Ford.

Guest host Jess then explained what the link was: “The answer is they’ve all built a city apart from Emperor Nero who was accused of destroying the city of Rome.”

This was in reference to the model city Rod had built around his train set.

However, Jess then later left the panellists surprised when she explained he’d turned down their request to show it.

She asked Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Hannah Fry, and John Richardson: “What did Sir Rod Stewart spend 26 years building?”

They got the answer right that it was his model railway when Hannah asked: “Have you got a picture of it?”

Jess replied: “We asked Sir Rod if we could use a picture of it and he said no.”

Instead, they jokingly showed a cartoon of what it might look like.

Sir Rod kept his hobby secret for many years, only unveiling it to Railway Modeller magazine in 2019.

Speaking to Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 show at the time, he said: “I would say 90 per cent of it I built myself.

“The only thing I wasn’t very good at and still am not is the electricals, so I had someone else do that.”

His city is based on New York and Chicago in around 1945.

Rod added: “A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it’s a wonderful hobby.”

The Maggie May singer also told Railway Modeller magazine how he used to work on it during his tours.

He often requested an extra room in a hotel so he could do this.

He explained: “We would tell them in advance.

“They were really accommodating, taking out the beds and providing fans to improve air circulation and ventilation.”

His train set includes everything from sky-scrapers to hand-painted brickwork.

Earlier this year, it was suggested Sir Rod had shipped his train set to the UK from his home in Los Angeles.

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