Cries & Whispers

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TO THE launch of Comic Relief `95. A lively affair. For the first couple of minutes anyway. Peach and blue neon flashed around the Empire cinema in Leicester Square to announce the arrival of the stars: Lenny Henry and Jonathan Ross leading the pack, Annabel Giles and Mike Smith skulking at the back, with good reason in Smith's case - he has adopted the Mickey Rourke-does-daytime-TV look. The event's PR people, Freud Communications, were fine with the technicals and hospitality, but sure kept the assembled hacks waiting for the celebs, led in paralysingly slow two-by-twos to the front of the cinema for a little Q & A only at the end. One radio reporter loudly likened the pace of proceedings to "a prison camp". The stars certainly did not sparkle. Harry Enfield (my illustrious colleague) got all defensive about Rwandan family ties, whilst Jonathan Ross apologised meekly for wearing that skirt: "I know I looked ridiculous, but I couldn't help it - it was the leopard-print drape." Vic Reeves had the best line. Why did he and Bob Mortimer do Comic Relief, someone asked. "Well it's not to do with famine, we do it for the fun mainly," Vic said snorting into his coffee, before looking behind to the blank cinema screen: "I saw the new Star Trek here last week. Good that".

GARY LINEKER'S new career continues to suffer from teething troubles. After sacrificing his nice-guy image for the greater good of Walker's Crisps, the former national hero has found a berth presenting the Sunday-afternoon sport on Radio 5 Live. When Jurgen Klinsmann, his successor in Spurs' No 10 shirt, scored a surprise goal against Blackburn last Sunday, Lineker should have been in his element. The commentator cut straight back to the studio for his verdict. "Actually," he confessed, "I was in the little boys' room." That was a bit of bad luck. But what sort of an expression is "the little boys' room" for a grown man?