Diary: Hurley Burley gets fit for purpose

A Murdochian rebuke to the ageist BBC made flesh, Sky News anchor Kay "Hurley" Burley continues to report the news vigorously, if not rigorously, despite her advancing years.

But Burley's Julia Bradbury-like features are hard-earned, the three-time recipient of What Satellite TV magazine's "Most Desirable Woman on TV" award writes in The Mail on Sunday: she recently blagged a fitness holiday in the Canary Islands, burning calories the better to beat the hell out of the news (or photographers).

"Fitness at any age is a must," a trainer informs Ms Burley, 50, with a comforting hug. Burley then remarks on her dance instructor's resemblance to national treasure Peter Andre, whom she once drove to tears: "I moved further to the back," she writes, "anxious not to make [him] cry at my attempts to mirror their moves."

The Andre episode is a more suitable source of humour, Burley presumably decided, than the time she was described as "dim" by Chris Bryant MP; the time she claimed the "entire eastern seaboard of the United States" had been "decimated by a terrorist attack"; or the time she mistook Labour chancellor Stafford Cripps for a Midlands-based infantry regiment. Expect a fitness DVD in time for Christmas.

* Strong words were exchanged last week by Mark Pritchard MP and the Cuban-heeled Speaker of the House, John Bercow. Pritchard, normally known for unfailing politesse, is deputy chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, many of whom would happily see Señor Bercow scurrying from Westminster, never to return. But Señor Bercow, I'm reminded, has a powerful ally in 1922 Chairman Graham Brady. The pair were once thick as thieves on the right wing of their party, before Señor Bercow pursued his fragrant wife Sally (she of the tiresome hashtag) to the political centre, like an unsuspecting mouse scampering towards some poison-infused morsel. "Graham doesn't agree with John on a number of issues," a Tory insider tells me. "But there's also a loyalty there. When it comes to the nonsense between Bercow and Pritchard, Graham is one of the few capable of discreetly banging heads together and sorting this farce out."

* Celebrity ice-dancer Angela Rippon blames none other than Lord Birt, blue-sky specialist, for the culture of ageism at the BBC. Rippon tells the Western Daily Press that when she was a small-screen regular, aged approximately 50, and Birt was director-general, he informed her: "Angela, you just have to accept that you have had your day. You have to make way for the younger women that are around." "Cheeky sod!" is Rippon's appraisal. "Well, all I can say is, 16 years later, I'm still here, working – and where are you these days, John?" According to Wikipedia, Birt's current employer is the UK's largest independent generator of renewable power from landfill gas. Knowing Birt, however, this may just be hot air.

* Andrew Marr spoiled many a scrambled egg on Sunday when he conjured that image of his jug-eared teenage self, coming over all queer at the thought of Susannah York (1939-2011, RIP). Yesterday's instalment of Start the Week may, too, have roused the Tunbridge Wells letter-writing community. Marr's guest, the American political philosopher Michael Sandel (of the 2009 "Leith Rectures", said Marr, below, in a tantalising spoonerism) had applied, the presenter explained, "the ideas of Kant ... to a series of modern day-to-day problems". Sandel enthused: "We have to look at Kant as the fullest expression of a broad tradition of freedom." Radio 4 listeners will recall Marr's recent controversial mention of another Kant: Jeremy, not Immanuel. Those with particularly keen ears will have been shocked, therefore, to hear both Marr and the Californian-accented Sandel pronounce the philosopher's name to rhyme not with "pant" or "rant", but with "Culture Secretary".

* Leftist Lord Lipsey, one-time chair of the Fabian Society, is nonetheless a fan of The King's Speech, in which George VI gallantly defeats his crippling speech impediment. Lipsey watched the film while preparing, like a number of other Labour peers, to disrupt the passage of the AV referendum bill with a filibustering all-night sitting yesterday. "Blimey," he was heard to cry during said screening. "There's a thought! How many hours do you think we could use up with a half-decent stammer?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own