Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Wade vs Kemp - case dismissed
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The Independent Online

So no more snide speculation, if you please, as to whether she can continue editing The Sun, or whether his image as Albert Square's hardest bastard has been in some way faintly compromised. As you will see, nothing could be further from the truth. You wouldn't Adam and Eve it, but - by way of one of those weird coincidences that seem to plague this bizarre tale - the script for a forthcoming EastEnders scene reaches us without so much as an anonymous note.

Grant Mitchell is having a quiet Cointreau and lemonade in the Vic when something distresses him. Grant: "Right, Mum, that's it, I've 'ad it. I'm callin' Old Bill." Peggy: "Whassappened sweet'eart? Whassupset you this time?" "I ain't taking no more, Mum. Pass me the phone." He punches in three numbers. 'Ello? 'Ello? Which service? Which service d'ya think, you slaaaag? Pleece."

Short pause. Grant: "'Ello? Yeah, course it's a 'mergency. Dot Cotton's spilt tomato juice on me trainers. I wanna squad car here - Queen Vic, Albert Square, Walford - and I wannit NAAGGHH." So there it is; not an ounce of damage to the reputation of either the actor or his character, and let's not hear another syllable on the matter.

WELL, PERHAPS just a few. As for the future of one of his other telly shows, Sky One's Ross Wade on Gangs, this too is secure. It's a well-known fact in certain circles that Mad Frankie Fraser once dobbed in a Dagenham Girl Piper who dealt his left shoulder a glancing blow with her baton, while the time Jack McVitie launched a private prosecution against a barmaid who inadvertently trod on his hat remains the stuff of legend down the Blind Beggar. So it seems that, by grassing up his missus for an atttack both agree never took place, if anything Ross has cemented his position as Britain's most respected authority on the granite-tough alpha male.

PERHAPS, ON reflection, there was some kind of inherited instinct in Ross's eagerness to involve the law, since his father was a policeman. Which brings us, clunkingly enough, to another much loved media figure sired by a beat bobby. Sadly, pressure on space means that the latest instalment of Son of PC Gone Mad, Simon Heffer's Alan Bennett-style, poignant memoir on growing up in Southend, is postponed until next week (assuming that the Wades behave themselves until then). Simon has now started back at The Daily Telegraph, and had his return marked by Craig Brown, who introduced us to another new columnist, William Bunter, with the strapline "frank, forceful and fearfully fat". It does the Telegraph credit that it was happy to publish this typically sublime parody without anyone needing to threaten resignation should they spike it. That's just the sort of freedom of speech for which the title has forcefully campaigned for years, and a rousing hats off to all involved.

I GENUINELY hate to say this, but although the programme dwelt rather cruelly on the Wade fiasco, last Thursday's This Week on BBC1, presented by Andrew Neil, was magnificent. Although my mother has had a crush on Mr Neil for years (when I launched a newspaper campaign to find him a girlfriend, she was one of only two respondents; the other was only available on visiting days), I'm not sure I'd want to be stuck in a lift with him for too long. Even so, now that he's ditched the mauve velvet smoking jacket donned for the election, I must admit that he and the show are superb. Nurse, the sedatives please.

FINALLY, A BRIEF visit to Sky News's Sunrise, to check how Eamonn Holmes is settling in (perfectly well, in fact), unearths some remarkable work by the people whose job it is to write the captions that scroll along the bottom of the screen. "Blair Under Pressure," read one last Thursday morning. Underneath, meanwhile, by way of clarifying the concept, another caption in smaller type ran: "Tony Blair is under pressure." Genius.

m.norman@independent.co.uk

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