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?
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
- 5 Magna Carta will be 800 years old next year – the perfect reminder of the rights and freedoms we must hold dear
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
The Interview film review: Controversial gross-out satire is broad, bawdy and bad - but undeniably entertaining
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever