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Media Diary


What am I bid for Amanda?


'Daily Mail' columnist Amanda Platell (pictured) has given her services to a charity auction organised by ex-model Nikki Page, girlfriend of Tory MP John Redwood. But what does the punter get for his money? A mention in her column? A tour of the 'Mail' newsroom? No. A tutorial on how to be a TV star. This is odd as Amanda is, er, hardly that herself. As one of her female colleagues puts it, "She doesn't quite have the bone structure, sweetie." Miaow!

Dawkins's natural home

So Richard Dawkins has been hanging out at 'The Guardian'. But it was meant to be a secret. The 'God Delusion' author was surprised to see an account of his visit to Wednesday's editorial conference written up in the paper's diary the following day. "It was supposed to be off the record," Dawkins tells me, "but it was good fun. They sometimes invite guests to conference with the editor and senior section editors, and afterwards we had a question and answer session." So will he now be given a column on the paper? Dawkins dismisses that suggestion but, asked which he considers the most atheistic newspaper, he says, "I would have hoped 'The Independent' would have that honour."

You just can't get the staff

Sighs of relief at Condé Nast after Thursday's ABC figures for the past six months showed the credit crunch is not significantly harming sales of upmarket glossies. 'Vogue' boasted its 12th year-on-year rise, while 'Vanity Fair' and 'Tatler' showed small but steady growth. 'Tatler' is currently being run with a skeleton staff and, despite interviewing a number of job applicants, editor Geordie Grieg can't find anyone who fits the bill. "It takes a very specific sort of person to fit in at Tatler," says an insider. "If we can't find the right sort, Geordie will have to train someone up from inside."

No country for old men

The 'Daily Mail' Ephraim Hardcastle column reports that 'Playboy' boss Hugh Hefner, 81 (pictured), and his 28-year-old girlfriend are hoping to have a baby. Funny that. The man behind the column, Peter McKay, 65, was until recently stepping out with brunette beauty Natasha LaSalle, a headhunter 36 years his junior. Sadly the relationship came to an end as she wanted children and he already has several.

De Jongh awaits his fate

The boot will be on the other foot for 'Evening Standard' theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh when a play he has written opens next week. 'Plague over England' is about the arrest of John Gielgud, whom De Jongh knew, for importuning a policeman in a public lavatory in Chelsea in 1953. De Jongh admits to being afraid of his colleagues' reaction at the press night on 29 February. And to add to his stress, I hear he has suffered a fall. "He was late filing his copy, and rang in to say he had injured himself slipping on some yoghurt," says a source. Crikey!

Is Callan signing off?

Veteran 'Express' journalist Paul Callan might show no sign of retiring. But as well as filing regular news and comment pieces to the 'Express', the bowtie-wearing sexagenarian now fires off a torrent of missives to magazines – surely the behaviour of a man in the first stages of retirement? Last week it was 'The Spectator', where he pontificated on the perfect chip butty. "Line up six chewy chips and then douse with either HP brown sauce or, better still, Daddies sauce," he writes. "The secret is to let the butter and sauce soak into the bread." Gripping stuff.

There are two sides to every story, Lily. Even in the 'Mail'

Lily Allen has hit back at claims that her new chat show is a flop. "My TV show recording went really well on Friday," she writes on her blog. "Thank you to the ever-supportive 'Mail on Sunday' for their rave review. They insinuated a third of the audience left because they were bored, when, in fact, due to it being the FIRST show we've done, we ran over a little and naturally a small number of the audience had to catch the last trains back to wherever they came from. I can't imagine the 'undercover journalist' who broke into the studio ever had the intention of being positive about it, though, obviously." Maybe if journalists hadn't been banned from the recording, they wouldn't have had to "break in".

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