The City Diary: A show to promote? Don't worry, all's fair in love and PR

Slackbelly exposes The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of The Square Mile

There's an old trick in the entertainment publicists' manual that allows PR folk to promote all kinds of projects – all they have to do is create a "real-life" sub-plot involving the stars of the relevant show, spread the story, and retreat to a safe distance.

The tactic worked when disc jockey Chris Evans and pop star Geri Halliwell were supposedly courting – a sweet tale made only slightly less believable by the coincidence of the stars sharing their PR man, Matthew Freud. At the time of the "romance", Evans was plugging his radio show, and Halliwell had a fresh tune to promote.

If that seems a touch cynical, then consider how this fortuitous PR break seems to repeat itself – most recently when an awful-looking film called the Bounty Hunter got a timely boost from co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler reportedly having an affair (it now seems they did not).

All of which brings us neatly to BBC2's reality business show, Dragons' Den, and the spat between James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne over the former's non-dom status – even though both have co-invested in seven businesses on the show. You'll be amazed to learn, then, that the Beeb has just started filming the programme's eighth series, meaning we'll all be desperate to discover if this animosity transfers to the screen.

So, does the row exist? Says a BBC spokesman: "As far as I know, the issues raised are for real". So, it's all down to propitious timing, once again.

Picking winners: Fashion ‘genius’ spots talent

Jaeger owner Harold Tillman is a brilliant man – just ask him, he’ll tell you. Speaking to some glossy freesheet called The City magazine, Tillman muses: “I do have the knack of picking winners. I went to a fashion show the other evening, with maybe 50 students showing their collections, and turned to my wife, and said, ‘Shall I tell you which one will win?’ “She said, ‘Oh, how would you know?’ “But I picked the winner. That pleases me. Not because I’ma smart-arse. I just have an eye for the well-made, stylish and commercial. And you can’t teach that.” So modest.

To every party supporter there is a season

Sir Peter Gershon, Labour's former efficiency guru who's now working for the Tories, believes controls on public-sector recruitment could save up to £2bn, while IT spending cuts might do the same. Standard Life chairman, Gerry Grimstone, who's advising Labour on efficiency savings, reckons the Tory plan is "just not credible". So far, so predictable. Yet Grimstone has talked privately about how he'd be willing to serve under a future Conservative government, thereby emulating Sir Peter's flexibility. Has he suffered a sudden attack of loyalty?

Is there a crystal ball in the Prince's office?

Henry Angest, the publicity-shy Swiss-born financier who controls Arbuthnot Banking Group, is one of the Tories' biggest financial backers, and also funds a network of obscure Eurosceptic groups. One is run by Lord Pearson, the leader of Ukip, who warned earlier this month that a Tory election victory "would be the end" of Britain.

That irritating chain of events has caused a bit of a fuss, but I can't help thinking that somebody saw this entire kerfuffle unfolding. Back in March, Sir Michael Peat, the principal private secretary to the Prince of Wales, quietly resigned from the Arbuthnot board after just two years. Is the man a prophet?

If you want to get on, get fined £750,000

The FSA's insider dealing probe is causing some to take a sideways look at City history. In 2006 hedge-fund manager Philippe Jabre was fined £750,000 by the regulator for market abuse. Has it hindered him? Not at all. In 2007, he opened a new fund – one of the largest launches in recent years. A hedgie explains: "The FSA fine is a great marketing tool. Everybody wants their money with Jabre; they think he knows things others don't." Expect promotional literature for the Calvert Absolute Returns Fund imminently.

Short shrift for women's claims of sexism in the City

Has the great City sexual discrimination scam been rumbled? A certain type of City woman has long benefited from joining an investment bank, and waiting to be the butt of an inevitable sexist comment that makes staying in her job simply impossible. The only thing that can soothe her pain is a cheque for millions – and petrified banks have been happy to sign them.

No longer. I read that the £3m case brought against Nomura by Maureen Murphy and Anna Francis has been thrown out after a Central London Employment Tribunal panel ruled the "incidents and remarks were trivial". About time too, some might say.

postmaster@slackbelly.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones