Parties: Who said this was cheesy?

It was cheap but cheerful at the crisps company Walkers' "Do us a Flavour" party at London's Paramount Club on 8 January, where the outlandish finalists in a public competition to create a new variety were unveiled. Canapés were replaced by crisps, but, with plenty of bubbly to go around, the crowd – a heady mix of B-listers – didn't seem to mind.

Gary Lineker, the long-time face of Walkers, was the first to make his way to the private members' bar, accompanied by his underwear-model fiancée Danielle Bux. He set about working the room while she flitted off to spend the evening with new best friend Tara Palmer-Tomkinson – much to the delight of the waiting paparazzi.

Lineker's fellow football star Theo Walcott batted off advances from wannabe Wags (couldn't they see girlfriend Melanie Slade in tow?) and journalists alike on his way to the bar, though Blur bassist Alex James was not nearly so bashful, presiding over gaggles of girls. The broadcaster Claudia Winkleman slunk in late, all little black dress and long legs. Flashbulbs popped as she posed until, alas, she was interrupted by news that the party's most credible guest had turned up.

Heralded by the appearance of 6ft ducks, squirrels and chillies, each representing one of the six flavours vying to end up in a Walkers packet, enter Heston Blumenthal to properly introduce the contenders, including such delights as Cajun Squirrel (but, oddly, given the nature of the occasion, nothing remotely cheesy). What did the master of culinary alchemy have to say about the concoctions? "We're celebrating the best of British food!" he cried. A cheer went up, followed by applause – and, finally, the faintest hint of a snigger.

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