Diary: I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!
Wednesday 15 December 2010
History shows that our celebrities and politicians traditionally make ill-suited bedfellows. Indeed, as Tony Blair would be quick to point out, those pesky thespians – more than happy to knock back your Downing Street bubbly when it flamin' well suits them – can be a fickle lot when the going gets tough!
So I don't doubt Nick Clegg lit that trusty Marlboro with a weighty sigh last night, following news his old mate Colin Firth has jumped ship from the Lib Dems, apparently muttering about "U-turns" and such like. While Nick will no doubt inform our very own Mr Darcy it's time to "get real", as we went to press the state of the Lib Dems' once ample showbiz ranks was unclear. Among those up until recently listed alongside Firth as "supporters" were Brian Eno, Chris Martin, Andrew Motion and High Street Ken's admirable excuse for a Wednesday picture story, Kate Winslet. Ominous rumblings that all of the above are suddenly "unavailable" for this year's Christmas karaoke at Lib Dem HQ remain unconfirmed.
* As Damian Green's Coalition colleagues in the Liberal Democrats would be quick to point out, bold political pledges can prove troublesome old things if you're not careful.
Back in 2009, the then Tory shadow Immigration minister vowed to dress up as Father Christmas if children remained in the Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire come the end of this year. By July 2010, Green was beginning to show signs of concern, admitting that such a promise had been "possibly rash".
The prospects of an unwelcome festive photo call in the coming days is looking increasingly on the cards, following reports the spring is now a more likely timescale, due to ongoing delays.
A courteous call to the Home Office hoping to clarify just when High Street Ken could pop down to see Santa was met with a defensive response yesterday.
"We are due to make an announcement before Christmas," a spokeswoman patiently explained. "Obviously we can't pre-empt things by saying whether or not he'll be doing that."
* When Ringo Starr announced in his angriest LA-Scouse accent from across the Atlantic that he would no longer be signing autographs for fans, some feared the man once regarded as the most lovable Beatle had left his famed sense of humour in a Californian therapist's office. So I'm relieved to note that the old boy now appears full of some welcome Christmas spirit – I hasten to add I mean this in the moral sense, Mr Starr hasn't touched a drop in years.
Apparently having mellowed since that unfortunate outburst, Ringo has just announced the winner of his very own photography contest, after inviting fans to submit their best efforts showing him on his US tour.
Starr has now gone back on his previous pledge and even sent the lucky victor a pair of personally signed and dated drumsticks; eBay watch out.
* Having seen his own recent Lembit Opik sitcom proposal hastily shot down by some frankly unimaginative commissioning executives – (like I said on the phone, your loss!) – perhaps High Street Ken isn't quite as qualified as he previously imagined when it comes to handing out advice to the comedy industry's more celebrated figures.
Still, following news that Steve Coogan is suing the News of the World over phone-hacking claims, I can't help seeing exciting possibilities. After all, what with Mr Coogan having only recently played an "exaggerated" troubled version of himself in BBC2's The Trip, surely his pursuit of justice at the hands of his alleged tabloid aggressors would make a cracking second series? Stay with me.
Might I suggest his amiable co-star Rob Brydon be brought back to offer "the necessary light alongside Steve's dark", while cameos from troublesome old squeeze Courtney Love and a few ironic lap-dancers would surely lead to the comic having another critical hit on his hands? If it's a no, Steve, Lembit already assures me he's interested.
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