Media Diary

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The Independent Online

Sex, class and money

*** A glowing review appears in May's edition of Tatler for a new book, A Much Married Man. The author? Nicholas Coleridge. The novel, about the thrice-married scion of a banking dynasty "is modern day Trollope, a social comedy of manners that tells you all you need to know about sex, class and money at the end of the 20th century," opines Tatler's books editor, Sebastian Shakespeare. The praise continues: "Coleridge's socially nuanced narrative offers a wry commentary on our times and is packed with incident and scandal." Unfortunately, with so much sycophancy needing to be expressed, Tatler ran out of space when it came to mention that Coleridge was the managing director of Condé Nast, the publisher of Tatler.

One-to-one on 4

*** The Andrew Neil roadshow continues. BBC News 24 has just succeeded in re-upholstering Straight Talk, one of its more watchable politics programmes, with yet more of the ubiquitous boulevardier. Gone is the lively discussion between political pundits of various colours. Instead, it is being turned into a one-to-one interview show fronted by Neil and his weave hairdo. "The idea seems to be to revive the old On the Record format," sighs one Beeb staff member. "Brillo in conversation with the great men and women of our time. Spare us." Straight Talk's old presenter, James Landale, is probably well out of it.

'I will not be moved'

*** Does Sarah Smith (right), husky voiced More4 news anchor and daughter of the late Labour leader John, have itchy feet? According to my sources, talent agencies in London were recently sent an email saying she was moving on and asked to offer suggested replacements. Smith is also understood to want to try her hand at being a foreign correspondent and has her sights on Washington. There is some confusion about where the email originated. Both ITN and Channel 4 deny it was by their hands. Smith is adamant she is staying put. "I have no plans to leave More4 and know nothing about anyone being asked to find a replacement for me. I have no intention of leaving less than year since it's successful launch."

True colours revealed

*** At last, BBC man James Cox reveals his true colours. Cox, who presented The World This Weekend until last summer, has been snapped up by the Liberal Democrats and asked to stand for Hampton North as a councillor in next month's elections. "I decided to join the Liberal Democrats at the beginning of this year and, almost immediately, they asked me to stand," says Cox. "It had been looking like a dead loss, but now that Labour have said they aren't putting up any candidates I'm in with a good chance." So there is life after the BBC.

Murdoch on warpath

*** Rupert Murdoch really has embraced the internet. As well as attempting, and failing, to stop George Galloway posting photos of the Fake Sheikh, Mazher Mahmood, on his website, Murdoch's lawyers also went trawling the internet for other offenders. They ended up sending copies of the injunction notice to political gossip bloggers Recess Monkey and Guido Fawkes, who had also posted the pictures on their respective websites. "I received an email for the NoW lawyers ominously cc'd to a Jonathan Crusher," notes Recess Monkey. He chickened out and took the pictures down.

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