The feral beast: No seat for Esler on election night

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The Independent Online

The BBC got all its political big guns out for election night, except one – Gavin Esler.

While the other Newsnight anchors – Emily Maitlis, Kirsty Wark and Jeremy Paxman – were assigned prime roles, Esler wasn't even given a constituency to cover. A BBC spokesman does little to dispel the suspicion of a snub when I call, saying: "The line-up was announced a while ago and clearly not everyone could do it." Over to Esler: "I was never down to be involved in last night's coverage," he admits. "Unfortunately, I have also lost my voice and am trying to recover from a heavy cold." Poor Gavin, we missed you.

A Wintour of discontent?

Christopher Hitchens finds space in his memoirs, out next month, to describe a number of gay flings at school and university. But the New York columnist makes no mention of the woman he nearly married. It's a little-known fact that Hitch was once engaged to Anna Wintour the Lego-lady-haired editor of Vogue. Not only does Hitch airbrush this happy memory out of Hitch-22, he leaves La Wintour out of the index altogether. As a paper of record, we thought future historians might like to know.

Moore trouble over BBC fee

Charles Moore will appear in the dock at Hastings Magistrates' Court at 1.45pm tomorrow charged with licence fee evasion after refusing to pay until Jonathan Ross leaves the BBC. The former Telegraph editor tells me he will represent himself, arguing he has not committed a crime because the corporation breached its charter, and that forcing him to pay is a breach of Article 9 of the Human Rights Act – the freedom of conscience. "I've had lots of message of support," he says, though declines to speculate on the outcome. Sounds like a jolly day out.

Few tears for Pearson

Paul Dacre was less than distraught when Allison Pearson announced she was quitting the Mail for the Telegraph, according to one gossip. Victor Olliver, author of the excellent Madame Arcati blog, reports how he imagined the conversation between columnist and editor went. Pearson: "The Telegraph want me and they are offering more money." Dacre: "OK, then, you must go." Pearson: "?!" Pearson's salary was rumoured to be not unadjacent to £350k – did the Telegraph really offer more? Neither Pearson nor the Mail chose to comment.

Blezard serves Lady's revenge cold

The Lady's former literary editor, Paul Blezard, is serving his revenge well chilled, like a fine Chablis. Blez suffered the double indignity of being sacked by incoming editor Rachel Johnson then having his dismissal broadcast to the nation in the Channel 4 documentary The Lady and the Revamp. Some say he could have sued, but Blez is having much more fun, writing a novel based on his experiences. I'm told the working title is Saving Grace, in which Grace is a flagging women's weekly taken over by a balls-to-the-wall new editrice....

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