The Feral Beast

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The Independent Online

I will say theez only once: René & Co to stage a comeback

With its sexual innuendos and cultural stereotypes, the BBC's ''Allo 'Allo' was everything a television sitcom should be. Now René Artois's café is transferring to the stage. One of the original cast members, Vicki Michelle, known to millions as Yvette, will star in the show, which is produced by Ed O'Driscoll and opens in August. I can also reveal that a stage version of 'Porridge' is being written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, and is due to appear in autumn 2009, possibly with comedian Peter Kay in the role of Fletcher, originally played by Ronnie Barker.

Jasper bites back

Readers of jasper Gerard's restaurant column in 'The Daily Telegraph' may have been perplexed by a line last week referring to helpings at a London "nosh house" being so small they would "struggle to fill Ian Hislop". Can this puzzling reference to the 'Private Eye' editor, who is short but far from skinny, have anything to do with the recent attacks in the 'Eye' on Gerard, whose column is deemed "pisspoor"? Scores are traditionally settled outside the pub, Jasper, not in a restaurant review.

Raise a glass to Gaskell

Farewell to 'Sunday Telegraph' reporter John Gaskell, who died last weekend of a heart attack. Gaskell, who was in his mid-50s, was a veteran of the Perry Worsthorne era and noted for his colour writing during the 1980s and 90s. A charming, modest man, he survived at the paper until a later editor declared in the office lift one day that he "could not see the point of Gaskell" – not realising that he was in the same lift. A liquid event at El Vino is being planned to toast his memory.

The guardian of impartiality and the anti-Israel ad

Scenes of anger and embarrassment at 'The Guardian' on Thursday, Independence Day in Israel, after the back page was occupied by an advert for an anti-Israel campaign, accusing the country of 60 years of ethnic cleansing. 'The Guardian' last year condemned the NUJ's Israel boycott, declaring the need for impartiality when covering "perhaps the most complex, long-running and intractable international dispute in the world". A leader opined: "All reporters covering the Israel-Palestine story know that every word they write will be weighed and scrutinised by both sides for fairness, balance, accuracy, sourcing and general integrity." But to what avail all that if a propaganda ad is plonked alongside?

It's for you-hoo ... but Clive won't come to the phone

No mainstream publisher would touch it, but Peter Burden's book 'Fake Sheikhs and Royal Trappings' is now in shops. One of the subjects, former 'News of the World' royal editor Clive Goodman (left), who spent 37 days at Her Majesty's pleasure for phone tapping, is thinking of suing, claiming he wasn't consulted. But Burden says Goodman put the phone down when he rang for a chat. Meanwhile Goodman, now at the 'Daily Star', is keeping his own counsel. Why would he do that? Come, Clive, don't be coy.

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