Worse, the professor had been in strange company: Michael Portillo, right-wing columnist Melanie Phillips and Chris Woodhead!
"It the first time I've ever been to the Carlton Club and it is probably the last," Ted said. "I was smuggled in by Portillo, they normally inspect your beliefs at the door."
It seems he was merely taking part in a BBC television discussion programme called Dinner with Portillo, to be screened on January 28, in which notables discuss matters of the moment over dinner at the Carlton.
Ted said the food ("mousse, followed by a piece of meat, followed by mousse, a kind of mousse sandwich") was a pleasant surprise. The conversation was more predictable, however. "Woodhead talked loads of bollocks," he said.
"In fact, I found the portrait on the wall of Boyd-Carpenter, the Conservative cabinet minister, more interesting than the conversation with him."
But Woodhead was in a serene mood when we asked for his take on the meeting: "I'm sure Ted is being Teddish about it, but a pleasant evening was had by all."