Monday 13 December 1999
VOTER APATHY was not the only thing to mar Michael Portillo's return to Parliament. Portillo's minder during the Kensington & Chelsea by-election, Michael Morley (son of the ex-Miss World boss Eric) is facing police investigation into his conduct at a meeting during the campaign. The gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who hounded Portillo during the run-up to the by-election, claims to have been manhandled by Morley in an episode caught on film by Channel 4 News. Tatchell saw Kensington police last Friday for more than three hours, to give a seven-page statement. The long arm of the law is understood to be keen to pursue the matter.
Mais non! Associated Newspapers has surpassed itself with un grand faux pas over the weekend. The Daily Mail has re-started its Just Say Non campaign against buying French goods, in defiance of France's continued ban on British beef. Saturday's grand effort was a piece headlined, "How you can make champagne go flat". But the bubbly battle cry was somewhat undermined by a promotion in The Mail on Sunday offering - surely not? - "A free bottle of champagne for every reader."
FEW PEOPLE will have read Jeff Randall's description of how he saved the world, or at least acted as an intermediary between two billionaires in solving the Ashcroft-Times libel dispute, since it was printed in his own Sunday Business. It was stirring stuff, an international tale of suspense and intrigue. Pandora particularly enjoyed the part when Randall told Murdoch to accept Ashcroft's draft of the settlement statement. Poor old Rupe saw little option but to comply meekly. "Fine," he told his saviour. You can't help but wonder whether Jeff made any demands of his own - reading his account, you suspect a mere editorship would not enough for such a fine diplomat. The UN, at the very least, beckons.
England are the football world champions; the trophy was lifted in London last week. But the venue wasn't Wembley, or even Highbury - it was Clerkenwell's splendid Cafe Kick, where the great and the (very) good of the bar football world were gathered to slug it out to become world baby-foot beaters. In a competition organised by the bar, pros and amateurs were randomly paired under equally random national team headings. But England couldn't do it with home-grown talent alone; Alan Cribbs, the top scorer, was in fact American.
MILLENNIUM EVE may prove to be the mother of all soul-searching evenings. Some celebrities, such as Kelsey Grammer of the US sitcom Frasier, have already got that part out of the way. Spending time alone on one New Year's Eve early in his acting career, Grammer (who plays a radio psychologist in the show), experienced something of a revelation. "I suddenly had this intuition that I had to stop being a loser," recalls Kelsey, prescribing the most obvious advice for the blues since "cheer up, it may never happen".
John Cleese is carving out a niche for himself in US television by developing a series for the ABC channel. The Monty Python legend will write and produce a pilot programme for the station, though there are no plans for him to star in it. The show is set in a law firm in which some partners have made deals with the devil. Might they have strange ways of walking, too?
Arts & Ents blogs
One Direction urge fans to lobby George Osborne about corporate tax avoidance
What are the best first lines in fiction?
EDL Girls: Don't Call Me Racist, BBC3 - TV review: EDL Angel gets into a right muddle
Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
Call The Midwife: Jessica Raine leaves in series three finale
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 Bad cattitude: Family call police after crazed and 'hostile cat with a history of violence' attacks baby before attempting to 'flee custody'
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow