Diary: Emma fears bard set too high
Thoroughly charming non-cougar Emma Thompson, 51, recently starred with her husband Greg Wise, 44, in the BBC's screen adaptation of Christopher Reid's The Song of Lunch, a book-long poem of youthful lust, longing and adult regret. But, she tells me, she and her old man have a far more ambitious project in mind. "Greg wants to produce a dramatisation of all the Sonnets of Shakespeare," says Thompson. "I mean, really epic stuff." An interesting project, certainly – but perhaps a tad ambitious? "I've told him I'm not sure how he'll be able to do it," she agrees. "But he is resolute. Perhaps it will have to be just parts, rather than the whole lot. Wouldn't that be fantastic?"
Thompson has reprised her role as Sybill Trelawney in the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which premiered last night. Wise, on the other hand, was last seen reading seductive extracts from Elizabeth Gaskell in an ad for Carte Noire decaf. His wife tells me, however, that he was recently sent a promising script from another poet.
* It's the Lib Dems who tore up their tuition fees policy post-election, yet while Conservative HQ was besieged by plaid-and-pashmina-clad anarchist undergrads on Wednesday, at Cowley Street, home to their Coalition partners, all was bafflingly calm. "A couple of students came by," a Lib Dem apparatchik informs me. "They made it into the lobby and chanted a few slogans, but they were very polite. When one of my colleagues tried to get past them, the students said: 'Oh, do excuse me. I'm dreadfully sorry', or words to that effect." Nary an egg was thrown.
* Still, Nick "29 shags" Clegg doesn't seem keen to confront students, even the more civilised variety. The Lib Dem leader has pulled out of a planned debate at the Oxford Union next week, "due to an unfortunate clash of diary commitments" (and this just a fortnight after Vince Cable cancelled his visit to the university, which would have coincided with a tuition fees protest). If he's going to be in government for the next five years, someone really ought to write him some better excuses.
* This column, you'll probably not recall, was the first to reveal that ITV hoped to call its revamped breakfast show Daybreak. I advised against it on the basis of a new film, with Harrison Ford, about a struggling breakfast show of the same name. Now said film, Morning Glory, is upon us – so naturally the BBC reported on it yesterday at breakfast time. Ford's character, he told the Beeb's Tom Brook, is a top TV anchor whose "greed propels him" into a job at "Daybreak", which, Brook noted, "desperately needs to improve its ratings".
Chiles and co will also discuss the film, ITV's press office assures me. But they'll probably play down the "ratings" angle.
* For my pleasure and yours (but mostly mine), I shall eat a dish per night for a week from The Celebrity Cookbook, a new charity collection of recipes chosen by 63 celebrities from Hollywood to Hollyoaks. Tonight: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Kaiserschmarrn, a traditional Austrian chopped, oven-baked pancake. Its name comprises "Kaiser", meaning "Emperor", and "Schmarrn", which Wikipedia translates as "a mishmash, a mess, crumbs, a trifle, a nonsense, a fluff, or even a mild expletive".
* And so my week with Rory Stewart MP (the man, the legend) comes to a close. As he still refuses to speak to this newspaper, I've had to make do with The New Yorker's priceless 14-page profile of the humble-as-humble-pie polymath instead. Stewart was once, it reports, "charmed" by the then-Foreign Secretary Miliband (D) while busy nation-building in Kabul – and might have joined Labour, not the Tories, had he been asked nicely. Just one more of many regrets for the former future Labour leader to ponder in the political afterlife. Meanwhile, this from Stewart himself: "[pre-modern cultures saw] nothing inconsistent in the co-existence of self-promotion, fantasy and greatness... We are no longer prepared to accept this. Competitiveness, egotism and rhetoric are seen as weaknesses." Too true. It's a wonder he's got this far, really.
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