The A-Z of planet celebrity

Don't know your Patsy Palmer from your Paris Hilton? Then let Hermione Eyre and William Donaldson present their no-nonsense guide to the (in)famous
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A is for...

Adam and Eve (c.4004BC-c.4031)

The first Celebrity Couple, the Katie Price and Peter Andre of their day. According to a team of clinical psychologists at the University of Sussex: "Had Adam and Eve been born now they would have brought out a raunchy fitness video and their own range of lingerie."

Adolescence Post-pubescent condition enjoyed by the majority between the ages of 13 and 18, but not by soccer players until their late twenties.

B is for...

Bedingfield, Daniel (b.1979)

Squinty singer with a sprouty chin and a penchant for natty beanie hats. His irritating garage numbers are as catchy as a cold sore. He claims on his latest hit - a departure into a more soulful sound - that "Nothing Hurts Like Love". Perhaps a really firm headlock might change his mind on that.

Blazin' Squad They look like an assortment of singing pickpockets. In fact, they are to So Solid Crew what S-Club Juniors are to S-Club 7; that is to say, a juvenile knock-off designed to keep the franchise ticking over. One of their number, Kenzie, took a bath in a hot tub with cigarillo-toting feminist icon Germaine Greer during Celebrity Big Brother 3. Despite the professor's well-documented interest in beautiful young men, he emerged from the Jacuzzi undefiled.

Boltholes, Celebrity

Leslie Ash - Calais Zoë Ball - Seychelles Charlotte Church - Le Sport,

St Lucia Sara Cox - Ibiza Posh and Becks - Courchevel Ian Hislop - Frinton-on-Sea Patsy Palmer - Romford

Caravan Site

Boy bands A good slapping and two years of National Service wouldn't hurt.

C is for...

Caplin, Carole (b.1963) The spirit of Rasputin trapped in the body of a Pan's People performer.

Celebrities, British The French have celebrities, but they are inferior to ours. They have Catherine Deneuve; we have Susan Hampshire. They had Edith Piaf; we have Lulu. They have Sylvie Guillem; we have Una Stubbs. They have Olivier Martinez; we have Darren Day. They have St-Tropez; we have Bournemouth. Only a British celebrity could have the nation in fits by crapping in a bucket in a jungle setting.

Catchphrases, Celebrity "Cogito ergo sum" - René Descartes. "Me crackers are killing me!" - Joe Pasquale.

Cnut the Great (c.995-1035) King of England, Denmark and Norway. Currently preparing an intellectual property suit against the clothing company Fcuk.

D is for...

Dahl, Sophie (b.1979) Goggle-eyed supermodel with cartoon body and sucky fish lips. Suspiciously pale. It's almost as if she isn't even trying to get an Orange Nomination (see Orangeness, award for). Dahl's appearance in the Yves Saint Laurent Opium advert, in which the model appeared to be pleasuring herself, provoked a large number of complaints, mainly issuing from middle-aged motorists who resented having to drive past it so quickly.

E is for...

Elton, Ben (b.1961) Don't be wrong-footed by the "dead common" accent. Elton comes from a long line of Cambridge historians. In his early years, he was a sod-'em-all aggro comedian; now he compiles unspeakably bad musicals.

F is for...

Famous for having been forgotten See Dee, Simon.

Fisher, Kitty (1741-67). Royal courtesan, mistress of the notorious philanderer Augustus Hervey and saucy self-promoter. Arriving in London at 19, Kitty staged a public accident in Hyde Park where, in front of a crowd, she fell off her horse and exposed her pretty thighs. Her prim "relation" by illegitimate connection, Lady Isabella Hervey, would have strongly disapproved of such blatant attention-seeking.

Fry, Stephen (b.1960). Stupid person's idea of a clever person.

G is for...

General public, members of Always lost for words. "I can't put it into words, Chris." "It probably hasn't sunk in yet." "That's right, Chris. It hasn't really sunk in yet."

H is for...

Hilton, Paris (b.1981) Looks like a shivering whippet dipped in bleach. She is the great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and grand-niece of Nicholas Conrad Hilton (Elizabeth Taylor's first husband). In November 2003 a private video of Miss Hilton locked into a variety of strangely unimaginative sexual positions with her boyfriend, Rick Solomon, was circulated on the internet. Her father was highly embarrassed, as was natural; the video was filmed in the top suite at the Marriott Hotel. Happily, family harmony has been restored.

Hurley, Elizabeth (b.1966) Actress and model. Many point to the night she wore That Dress as the moment she achieved A-list status. Not so. It was after Hugh Grant revealed that at her point of crisis she made a noise like a live crayfish being dropped into a pan of boiling water.

I is for...

Icarus Arguably the first Celebrity. Hit the headlines in major burn-out. Rumoured to be alive and well and living above a bar in Mykonos, where he is a frequent visitor to Diana's tea-towel boutique.

J is for...

Jones, Norah (b.1980) Prettyish daughter of Ravi Shankar. Filed under jazz, she enjoys a certain amount of cred. Her sound casts a warm glow round your living room, but then so does a lampshade - and you don't pay £30 to sit in Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, and listen to a lampshade for two hours.

K is for...

Kisses, Celebrity

Imaginary ones Stars blow them at a make-believe fan situated just to the left and behind the press corps.

Judas ones Entirely motivated by aggression, eg when Sadie Frost bumps into Sienna Miller at Glastonbury.

Film-set ones Far more passionate than required, and go on long after the director has called "Cut!" The beginnings of adultery.

Ones with lips pulled back over teeth like rubber fenders (see Ash, Leslie).

French, tongue-diving bonding ones Used in Mafia, Royal Marine, Masonic and Benchers' initiation ceremonies.

Teeth-clacking ones As when Esther Rantzen meets Janet Street-Porter.

Ones between footballers (especially back in the hotel).

L is for...

Lawson, Nigella (b.1960) To make this tasty TV chef, follow these simple steps. Take one prominent Conservative MP and one Jewish heiress, and breed. Give the child a funny name, and watch it simmer with resentment. Do not be alarmed when it goes lumpy and left wing while an Oxford undergraduate. Give it a few more years and it will become curvaceous and wildly interested in cupcakes. Dress in tight-fitting womanly twinsets, add a little tongue-flicking sauce and a hint of self-parody, and serve once a week on the television. Healthy audience appetites guaranteed.

Llewelyn-Bowen, Laurence (b.1965). Swag merchant, prince of flock and sultan of the stencilled pineapple. TV decorator with his own wallpaper shop and a flair for bombast. Laurence looks like the sort of man who'd sign his name with florid curlicues descending halfway down the page. In fact, that's exactly what he does. No cheque or Christmas circular goes without at least six self-aggrandising swirls. One of the vainest men in England, he takes to the streets with two burly bodyguards, there to protect him from the hordes of Llelly-crazed women hurling themselves in his direction. No such assaults have ever been seen. Notwithstanding all the pomp and campery, LLB is happily married and a talented interior designer. He is also intelligent enough to present himself, for the benefit of early evening viewers, as less intelligent than he actually is.

M is for...

Madonna Properly Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (b.1959) Now a naturalised Briton who speaks exclusively in cockney rhyming slang. In middle age she has developed the thigh strength of a Bulgarian weightlifter. With it, she is able to pick up her husband, English film director Guy Ritchie, and pack him in like a car-crusher in a wrecker's yard. In spite of his acquired tough-guy image, Mr Ritchie, a former public schoolboy, is rumoured to enjoy the experience. Today her songs are enjoyed by eight-year-olds at jelly and ice-cream discos.

More Celebrity Catchphrases "E = mc 2" - Albert Einstein. "Get off the table, Mabel, the money's for the beer" - Wilfred Pickles.

N is for...

No longer at loggerheads Leggy models Rachel Hunter and Penny Lancaster have at last called a truce in their war of words over Rod Stewart. Penny says: "We're not exactly best friends, but I won't in future be quite so rude about the floppy-bosomed old trollop."

O is for...

Old King Cole Arguably the first Celebrity Crack Fiend. Little is known of him except that he "called for his pipe in the middle of the night".

Orangeness, award for (sponsored by Terry's Chocolate Orange). Celebrities nominated in January 2005 for most indiscriminate use of fake tanning aids include: Cat Deeley, Robert Kilroy-Silk, Benito Mussolini, Dale Winton, Jodie Marsh, Sir Trevor McDonald, Hiawatha, Alex Best, David Dickinson, Donatella Versace, Richie Benaud, Peter Andre, Richard Madeley, Judith Chalmers, Atomic Kitten, Des O'Connor, Silvio Berlusconi and the 2006 winner Gavin Henson, the conceited Welsh rugby union three-quarter.

P is for...

Politically incorrect Vulgar and offensive (see Clark, Alan; Clarkson, Jeremy; Littlejohn, Richard).

R is for...

Ross, Jonathan (b.1959) Over-excited chat-show host with a mind like a bowel disease. He thinks quicker than you can flush the chain. Julian Clary meets Frank Skinner. One minute he's talking dirty to Liza Tarbuck, the next he's flirting with a Hollywood hunk. There's something unresolved here. Enforced shower-sex with four men in a top-security prison?

Ross, Paul (b.1955) Jonathan's less successful brother. Also a TV presenter, his career reached its zenith with The Paul Ross Show in 1997. Since then he has been reduced to scoffing 15 pork pies a day in a desperate bid to become eligible for Celebrity Fit Club.

Rushdie, Salman (b.1947) Party monster who lives off canapés. Invited everywhere for his flashbulb smile. His actress wife Padma Lakshmi tries to get him back to writing, but Salman is having none of it. "I'm loving these," he says, of the rose petals scattered around the washbasin of one West End nightclub. "Small touches like this make all the difference to a party, don't you think?"

S is for...

Stone, Joss Properly Joscelyn Stoker (b.1986) Fresh-faced Devonian maiden who looks like your GCSE-age daughter's most attractive friend, but sings like a 50-year-old survivor from the glory days of Motown. Joss endeared herself to the nation when, at the Band Aid recording session in December 2004, she said: "Who the flip is Bob Gandalf, then?" Joss has the biggest pair of lungs that can be healthy in a girl of her age. They produce a sound which is phenomenal, elemental, anthemic... and very, very loud. "Yeuhhh Haaad Meh, Yeuhhh Lawwwwst Meh..." Cut it out, Joss!

Stock, thinking things over and taking A Celebrity who has just been arrested with cocaine in their underwear.

T is for...

Thompson, Emma (b.1961) Unaffected luvvie. Expressions she uses on set to prove she's one of the chaps: "Oh fuckity fuck!" "Oh lorks! I've just come on!" "Crikey Moses! My knickers have gone up my crack!"

Tweedy, Cheryl (b.1983) Leader of the attack pack Girls Aloud. "If we weren't doing this, we'd be on the checkout at Tesco," she says. Plenty of time for that, love. Prancing about in a bustier pretending to sing is not necessarily a job for life. Admittedly, Cheryl Tweedy does it with aplomb, and Julie Burchill has dubbed her "chav princess supreme". But to more discerning eyes, Tweedy is clearly a nasty piece of work. In 2003 she punched a 39-year-old part-time law student in a nightclub toilet. The assault was motivated by a lollipop.

U is for...

Up for it Common people happy to display their private parts on V Graham Norton.

V is for...

Valance, Holly (b.1981) Cut-rate Kylie. Born Holly Vuckadinovic, she changed her name to Holly Shagpile, then to Holly Doublebed, before settling on the winning formula and shooting to fame. She once said of her pop hit "Kiss Kiss": "When it comes on the radio, I switch off." Evidently she's a woman of taste.

W is for...

Wordsworth, William (1770-1850) Total wazzer. "Earth has not anything to show more fair..." But he hadn't seen Jo Hicks in a riot skirt and bondage boots.

Y is for...

Young, Will (b.1981) Crooner. "Must rush. I'm off to buy the new Will Young single." You'll not hear that said.

Z is for...

Zara (b.1981) Daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Generally referred to by the tabloids as "sassy" and "raunchy", Zara is famous for wearing evening dresses split to the waist.

'The Dictionary of National Celebrity' by Hermione Eyre and William Donaldson, is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (£9.99). To order a copy, call Independent Books Direct on 08700 798 897