Pandora: The press preserves William's modesty

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There are further signs that, barring the odd blip, relations between Clarence House and Her Majesty's press are much improved compared with a few years ago.

Staff working on the picture desks at several Sunday papers were shocked to discover last weekend that a number of snaps had been sent in from Prince William and Harry's charity motorbike ride across Africa.

The revealing pictures, taken by a freelance "pap", appeared to show a close-up of Britain's second in line to the throne answering a call of nature.

While the contents of the picture would no doubt have caused much titillation among some of his legions of female fans, the photos, I am assured, were dragged straight into the trash. "There is no way we would have even considered using them," one newspaper source told me. "Besides, proving the old 'public interest' angle might have proved a wee bit tricky. In any case William would certainly have had no reason to worry – he has nothing to be ashamed of."

Clarence House apparently knew that intrusive photos were being taken of the princes during their 1,000-mile trip.

"We are aware there have been some paparazzi photos of the trip and we have advised against them being used," said a spokesman.

"It is a private holiday. We publicised it at the beginning because we wanted the charitable aspect to be known, but really it's a private thing."

Hearst confronts Murdoch's 'Post'

There's a cracking row brewing across the pond over at Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, where newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst's great-granddaughter Lydia has just resigned from writing her party column.

Hearst, pictured, claims the paper added an extra line to her copy in last week's edition in which she criticises the family businesss, the Hearst Corporation, for cutting back on this year's staff Christmas party.

The Post has now responded by claiming that the column was never written by Hearst in the first place, and instead was put together by a ghost writer. "She was interviewed by a reporter, who put her thoughts into cohesive paragraphs," said a spokesman.

Meanwhile, an e-mail has been leaked in which Hearst appears to voice concern about the refinement to be expected at the party. "It's like the joke in the Scrooge films," she writes.

'Green Wing' star is not musical

The actor Julian Rhind-Tutt has been doing his bit for charidee by recording a short film for Amnesty International. The foppish star, best known for his role in Channel 4's The Green Wing, was at Monday night's launch of a three-minute short, Everybody, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

That is likely to be the only time he will see the film, however, since it is only being shown in cinemas as a trailer to the drippy teen flick High School Musical 3.

"I've never seen High School Musical, and to be honest I'm not sure it would be one for me," Rhind-Tutt told me. "I was at a lunch with Gordon Brown the other day and he mentioned having to explain who Amy Winehouse was to Nelson Mandela, after she sang at his concert. "I probably understand High School Musical about as much as Gordon Brown understands Amy Winehouse."

Ross and Brand sidelined by BBC

Never let it be said that the BBC would try to just sweep the whole Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand phone call saga under the carpet.

Yesterday, the latest edition of the corporation's in-house paper Ariel generously decided to run the story.

Although several national newspapers felt the scandal was worthy of exposure on their front pages this week – and it has since become the subject of an Ofcom enquiry – Ariel felt a short, page-three article about its well-paid stars would be sufficient.

Instead, the same page carried a lead story on the "acres of rave reviews" which have been afforded to the Beeb's recently-finished Electric Proms concert series.

Cable waltzes through a crisis

It's reassuring to know that, in between all those opportunities he uses to remind Gordon Brown how to run the economy, Vince Cable is still finding a few spare hours to indulge his favourite pastime. Despite the economic crisis, the deputy Liberal Democrat leader is still managing to make it to his dancing lessons.

Writing in this week's House magazine diary, he says: "On Friday, arrive just in time to get across London for my weekly dancing class and results (okay) from the previous week's ballroom exam."

Following John Sergeant's heroics on Strictly Come Dancing, can Cable's long-desired appearance be far off?

Allen keeps schtum about his latest film

Time was when Woody Allen was hailed as a film producer's dream, on account of his uncanny ability for bringing in his films on schedule and under budget. Getting him to promote his work these days, however, is another matter.

Take his interview with The New York Times to publicise Vicky Cristina Barcelona, during which Allen was tossed the easy opener: "Shall we talk about the film?"

"I don't care about talking about the film. There's nothing that I particularly want to talk about, not even the film," Allen replied. "I only talk about the film out of help to the film, to the producers of the film." Allen is quite the curmudgeon.

Last week, I told how he refused to attend the film's London premiere as he only travels during school holidays.


Tonight's premiere of the new Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, is turning into a right old song and dance. Attending journalists are under instructions to abide by a strict dress code and arrive in black tie, particularly if they are likely to be on camera.