VWill Robert Kilroy-Silk ever achieve his long-cherished ambition and become the leader of a political party?
Having left UKIP after a very public falling-out when they refused to appoint him leader, the former daytime TV presenter yesterday launched a new party - the pompously named Veritas - as this column first reported he would. But bizarrely, according to the Electoral Commission, he in fact holds no official office within it.
The fearsome orange politician promises that his new party will be "straight- talking" but has yet to make any comment on why he is not leader. "The fact that Kilroy quit UKIP so very acrimoniously because they refused to make him leader means this is very peculiar," says one observer. "It's not even as though there are any serious legal implications to calling yourself leader of a party. It's just a case of a bit of paperwork."
Veritas is instead headed by one Anthony Bennett, Kilroy's researcher, whose other claim to fame is a pamphlet expounding the view that the Prophet Mohammed was a paedophile. According to details published on the Electoral Commission's website, Mr Bennett holds three of the party's four official offices. The fourth, that of treasurer, is entrusted to Alex Stevenson, who gave pounds 10,000 to help Veritas get off the ground, having branded UKIP "undemocratic" for refusing to make Kilroy its leader.
Not grumpy now
V THE COMEDIENNE, Jenny Eclair, is not one to practise what she preaches, it seems. Currently performing in a one-woman satire about the cult of celebrity, Jenny, below, is set to leap a couple of rungs on the fame ladder, when she starts shooting a new BBC1 comedy series in March.
"I've never established myself as a television personality, so it's bizarre that the opportunity has come along when I'm in my mid 40s," she tells me at the opening night of her new show, The Andy Warhol Syndrome. "I did a series called Grumpy Old Women for BBC2 a little while ago, but the rest of my television work has pretty much gone unrecognised."
We love Lucy. Not
V THE MAGNIFICENT Sir Peter Hall can do no wrong in the eyes of the theatre world. Things are not looking so rosy, however, for his daughter, Lucy, who acted as the designer for her father's production of Whose Life is it Anyway?, currently playing at the Comedy Theatre in London.
She is the target of some rather unkind sniping from the wings.
"Sir Peter is a lovely person to work with, but his daughter has been a real piece of work," says one member of the crew. "She gives off this vibe that she can act how she wants, just because she's Sir Peter's daughter."
The show's producers tell me that they're delighted with Lucy's work and quite "unaware of any such feeling".
Fuller chagrin at Peruvian idolatry
VTHEY SAY that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the music mogul Simon Fuller would appear to disagree. Fuller, left, devised the phenomenally successful television show Pop Idol, and last year pocketed some pounds 4m as a result.
Pandora hears he has now launched proceedings against another company threatening to "steal" his concept, and export it to Peru.
"The case is being brought in Florida against a company called Panamericana Television," I am told. "The suit alleges that Panamericana's show, called Superstars, infringes their copyright and accuses one of the Peruvian judges of imitating Simon Cowell's caustic style."
This is not the first time Fuller has resorted to the law to protect his show. Last year, he reached an out of court settlement with Cowell, whom he also accused of copying elements of the show. Yesterday, he declined to comment on the latest action.
V Andrew Neil is not the only magazine executive to be messing around with this summer's party plans. I reported recently that Mr Neil has asked for The Spectator's summer bash to be moved to accommodate his diary. Now I hear that Graydon Carter - the editor of Vanity Fair - has cancelled his magazine's annual celebration at the Cannes Film Festival in May so that he can get married to an English lass called Anna Scott. The Vanity Fair party is usually the "hottest ticket" at Cannes and its cancellation will leave all the stars with an evening to kill. Unless Carter, who is notoriously fond of famous company, invites them all to the wedding.