Diary: Hugh caught short at the bar

Actor Hugh Grant's enviable scoop – bugging former News of the World hack Paul McMullan as he spilled a tinful of phone-hacking beans – was so popular it crashed The New Statesman's website yesterday. Also circulating on Twitter, however, was the piece that McMullan had craftily sold to the Mail a week previously, about how Grant happened to pop in to his pub in Dover for a swift ale, then left without paying. Grant reportedly failed to settle his £5.45 tab, and the piece is illustrated with pictures of the actor looking sheepish at the bar – his breast pocket bulging with what may or may not be a dictaphone. "We only charge £2.80 a pint and you'd have thought with his millions he could afford it," McMullan gleefully told the Mail. Yeah Paul, you got him. You got him good.

* When Aaron Porter came to prominence as president of the NUS, his bland centre-left platitudes and general forgetability seemed the perfect fit for Little Ed Miliband's Labour Party. But, asked whether Parliament was his preferred destination, Porter demurred: politicians, he told this newspaper, sell "cheap gimmicks... My mum continually warns me against politics. She is of the opinion that politicians all become the same." When, in March, it was reported that he planned to put his name forward for the Leicester South by-election, he again denied everything. Yet now that his NUS successor has been announced, some dastardly union colleague has leaked internal emails suggesting Porter had planned to run – and before even completing his presidential term. "It was a chance I couldn't turn down", he reportedly informed his irate team, who told him in no uncertain terms what they thought of the idea. Just a day later, chastened, he changed his mind. "The reaction from the NUS/student movement", he explained in another email, "has been somewhere between lukewarm and quite critical." Still, I'm sure Mrs Porter was relieved.

* One hardly needs something else to blame the FA for – what with players' outsized wages, Wayne Rooney's vocabulary, the cheating culture and the appointment of Messrs Eriksson, McLaren and Capello – but the BBC is about to recall another black mark from the Association's distant past. United, a one-off BBC drama due to air on Easter Sunday, tells the story of the Busby Babes, including the Munich air disaster that claimed many of their lives. Among the cast is Dougray Scott as Man Utd manager Matt Busby, and Neil Dudgeon as FA boss Alan Hardacre, who is depicted demanding that the team (who were on their way home from a European cup tie against Red Star Belgrade) get back to England in time for a league game, or forfeit points. This prompted Busby to charter a plane, something he'd never done before; it crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway. The writer, Chris Chibnall, assures me he doesn't apportion blame in a script meant to honour the players – but, he explains, "there was undoubted pressure from the FA for the team to return home and meet their fixture. Hardacre is not the most sympathetic person in the film."

* The recently reconciled Hitchens brothers share some of their more poignant childhood memories in interviews (separate ones, of course) for Sky Arts series In Confidence tomorrow night. "I would get on [Christopher's] back and pound heavily with my tiny fists and he would claim that it didn't hurt," says Peter. "I can absolutely assure you it did, though." His sibling's approach was more subtle. "I can remember telling [Peter] he was adopted," Christopher recalls, "with a reasonable chance he might believe it."

* The good people of the Pennines are displeased after a billboard advertising big-budget Channel Five zombie drama The Walking Dead was erected next to a funeral home in Consett, County Durham. The ad for the show, whose heroes spend their time fleeing hordes of the undead, was – understandably – poorly received. "If you encounter this just as you are going to the funeral service to make arrangements for a loved one," an unamused local told the Northern Echo, "it could be very upsetting."

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine