Diary: Do the decent thing, Gary
Thursday 02 December 2010
This column had been wondering when it could expect Gary Lineker's principled resignation from the BBC's Match of the Day over Panorama's FIFA investigation, given that he so quickly relinquished his Mail on Sunday slot when that paper's Lord Triesman sting put England's 2018 World Cup bid in jeopardy. "The story... and the actions of the Mail on Sunday in publishing it have undermined the bid to bring the World Cup to England," he said at the time. Yesterday, however, Lineker wrote in The Times that he was "unsettled" by Panorama's timing, but while there was "a lot of debate about whether media coverage has damaged our attempts to win... in terms of the bid, they are irrelevant." Lineker, 50 this week, glossed over his change of heart with a headline-grabbing birthday interview for BBC Sport, in which he confessed to having discreetly voided his bowels on the pitch during England's opening match at the 1990 World Cup. Meanwhile Manish Bhasin, after crying himself to sleep, dreamt once more of being trapped forever within the faux-warehouse walls of The Football League Show.
* Sarah Palin supporter Nadine Dorries, honourable-ish member for Mid-Beds, is back to her blogging ways, and this week produced a corker worthy of this column's patented Truthometer. Dotty Ms Dorries, you'll recall, informed the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, who probed her expenses, that her blog was "70 per cent fiction". Her latest sad, semi-fictional tale begins by introducing a cabbie whose wife, he allegedly told the mendacious MP, suffers from breast cancer. So far, so vaguely plausible. "When I tipped my taxi driver," Dorries continues (a likely story), "he gave me a pink ribbon. 'I hope you don't mind, love,' he said, 'only I don't keep the tips, I give them to breast cancer research. If you really want to know, nothing makes me happier... I hands my donations over in £100 lots'". ("I hands my donations over"? Note the use of colloquial verbiage, a Dickensian trick designed to put us in mind of Bob Cratchit.) Let's imagine, for a moment, that the above is entirely truthful. Even accounting for Dorries's later, revised estimate of 30 per cent fiction, her conclusion sent our Truthometer (whose name is John) into paroxysms: "[The cabbie] then thanked me for the work I did. Told me he admired brave MPs who didn't take the silvery shilling and stood up for the bigger issues. He made me feel very humble indeed." Did she get a receipt for that?
* No word yet from BBC3 about my sitcom pitch, "Anyone But Lembit", in which Lembit Opik will star as himself, trying vainly to win the Lib Dems' London mayoral candidacy. Every week, the party leadership attempts to convince a more voter-friendly celebrity to take the job nobody wants (episode two: Ashley Cole). Lembit, sadly, has scuppered my spring pre-production schedule by agreeing to a theatrical tour alongside "Dr Gillian McKeith, PhD": he reportedly hopes to cure McKeith of her countless phobias live on stage, then pen a spin-off book. The former member for Montgomeryshire, 45, has also hinted at plans to marry his girlfriend, Merily McGivern, 21. To judge by his past form as a fiancé, that means he'll be free to film all summer. Channel 4, you interested?
* The Government's "fair pay tsar", Will Hutton, has rather unfairly roped in Daybreak presenter Adrian Chiles (hasn't he suffered enough?) to illustrate the ill-effects of superstar CEO salaries, such as Chiles's reported £6m. Hutton warned organisations to beware of the "'Adrian Chiles effect'... ITV thought having him would have a very good effect. It turns out you need a whole production team." Naturally, I wondered what the beleaguered programme-makers made of Hutton's simile. An ITV spokesman revealed: "I don't think that's something we'll be making a comment on." Chiles recently described Daybreak as "one of the biggest crocks of shit anyone had seen in years" – a turn of phrase to make even Sir Fred Goodwin blush.
* Matthew Goode tells me he's just back from Australia, where he's been shooting his next film, Burning Man. "I play a bastard chef," he says. "He's a really messed-up chap. There was lots of inspiration for the character. But," he concludes cryptically, "I couldn't possibly say which chefs I modelled him on," It's probably Gordon Ramsay though, isn't it?
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