Diary: Konnie's proper Charlie

Congratulations to Konnie Huq and Charlie Brooker on their engagement, which came as even more of a shock to the media than it must have to Brooker, who once callously characterised his own face as "like a rucksack full of dented bells". Another pitiless description that he may care to keep from Konnie is his recent
X Factor review. "Silly hair and shit singers: that's
The X Factor," he wrote in his
Guardian column, "the nation's sole mainstream conduit for popular music since the decline and fall of
Top of the Pops. All the songs sound the same, all the singers are alike, and the only interesting acts are mediocre, officially sanctioned hate figures. One day, we'll emerge on the other side of this unprecedented cultural drought and wonder how the hell our imaginations survived." Huq has just been named the new presenter of the
X Factor spin-off
The Xtra Factor, delaying the pair's honeymoon plans.
Blue Peter, I should add, escaped her fiancé's ire.

* Now that Diane Abbott has made it on to the Labour leadership ballot, who, in her absence, will join Michael Portillo on the This Week sofa? The BBC tells me each of the five remaining candidates has been offered a week in the snug spot to Portillo's right (geographically, not politically) in the run-up to the Labour Party conference in September, when the winner of the vote will be announced. And yes, they will all be appearing – should they accept the invitation – for free. Abbott has managed to rally a rather unexpected coalition of supporters, including Portillo himself, who confirms with a wry chuckle that he'll be backing his old chum Diane for Labour leader, "in the same spirit as I always have..."

* Elsewhere in White City, BBC employees are gearing up for another big year of Glastonbury coverage. The corporation is, however, a little cagey about precisely how many of its staff will descend on the festival site. In 2009, there were more than 400 BBC employees in Somerset for the weekend, just shy of the number sent to Beijing to cover the Olympics. This year, I'm informed, "it is too early to confirm numbers, but every member of the team will have a clear and accountable role." Planning to attend as always is Alan Yentob, the BBC's creative director and presenter-producer of Imagine. "I'm doing a project with [headliner] Stevie Wonder," he reveals, "so I'll be keeping a close eye on him." Yentob has also commiserated with U2 since the news that Bono's back surgery would preclude them from performing at the festival. "I saw Bono with his stick," he says. "And he's really disappointed."

* Ministerial cars may be on the way out, but ex-prime ministerial cars, we presume, are still supplied. Since Harold Wilson left Number 10 in 1976, all former PMs have been offered a government car and driver in perpetuity. Is Mr Brown making use of his? His press man won't be drawn on the subject. "At present it's still very strictly a security issue," he says. "You need to speak to the Home Office." I speak to the Home Office. "For God's sake. I don't know why on earth he'd pass you on to us," the Home Office says, adding: "The Government is committed to ensuring the cost for protective security arrangements are reviewed continually and withdrawn when they are no longer required." The Cabinet Office, I'm reminded, are (sort of) in charge of ministerial vehicles. "We do not discuss the security position of individuals," says the Cabinet Office. So, even whether Mr Brown has a car or not is a security issue? Yes, "because the reason he'd have it would be security". There's logic there somewhere.

* It hasn't escaped our notice that Michael Sheen (best known for his on-screen portrayal of another recent ex-PM) also bears a striking resemblance to the BP chief executive, Tony Hayward. Surely, given his illustrious history of non-fictional role-play, Sheen must take the lead in any mooted Gulf of Mexico movie? Sadly, his publicist insists that he's not attached to any such project. Not yet anyway.


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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent