Diary: More pressure for Piers

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The Independent Online

Clive Anderson seemed delighted to hear his old mucker Piers Morgan is to take over Larry King's interview show on CNN – meaning he's headed for America semi-permanently.

On the celebrated "Piers Morgan" episode of Have I Got News for You, Anderson complimented Morgan (then the editor of the Daily Mirror) on his paper being almost as good as The Sun. "What do you know about editing newspapers?" Morgan asked. "About as much as you do," Anderson replied. "I've had my brushes with Piers in the past," the former cheeky chat-show host admitted at the launch of Arabella Weir's new book, The Real Me Is Thin.

"But good luck to him. I think he'll find it more satisfying than America's Got Talent; that's not exactly stretching him. Whereas if he tries to do the research properly, the new show will be good." On the other hand, Anderson went on, "Americans are going to get a slightly odd view of Britain from watching Anne Robinson on The Weakest Link, Hugh Laurie on House and Piers Morgan on Larry King..."

* In her role as Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May reminded George Osborne that his budget could face an "equality audit" under rules implemented by the last government. Yet Ms May, in her other role as Home Secretary, is herself responsible for a brutal gender bias in the prison system. In a written reply to the Commons, the Justice minister Crispin Blunt revealed details of the satellite TV packages available to prisoners under an "enhanced privileges" scheme.

"In the 62 establishments where digital channels are available," Blunt said, "prisoners have access to nine free-to-view channels in-cell. These are BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, Channel Five, Sky Sports News (E4 in female prisons), ITV3, Viva and Film4." "E4 in female prisons"? So, while their male counterparts enjoy the many pleasures of Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling, female jailbirds are forced to endure endless re-runs of Friends? Cruel and inhuman, surely.



* The fee payments system at Press TV, the English-language news channel sponsored by the Iranian government, must be even more slapdash than mine. When the one-time tabloid reporter Wensley Clarkson appeared on "Gorgeous" George Galloway's weekly talk-show to discuss phone-hacking, he was offered £100 for his expertise. After the show, however, Galloway tugged a few grubby banknotes from a trouser pocket and found he was £40 short. To his credit, he offered to pay the difference in euros. Says Clarkson, "It's good to see the old mischievous goat is still a typical Scotsman at heart."



* Michael Sheen allegedly "bristles" when asked whether his backlog of biographical roles – Blair, Clough, Frost, Williams – will limit his casting prospects in future. "I don't think so!" he told Radio Times touchily, ahead of BBC2's broadcast of The Special Relationship. "By the end of this year, I'll have been in three of the most successful films of all time [ Alice in Wonderland, Twilight: New Moon and Tron: Legacy], playing people who aren't real."

But what of this column's proposed new role for Sheen: that of Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP, in James Cameron's as-yet-non-existent Deepwater Horizon 3D (or, indeed, any film about the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe)? Sadly, according to Sheen's publicist, such a project still isn't even in development hell yet. "Michael has not been approached about [the role of Tony Hayward] at all," she says. "It's just a rumour." But then, as Hayward knows only too well, where there's smoke...



* Last week, I reported that Ryder Cup organisers were a little concerned about accommodating their golfers in Cardiff during the nearby university's raucous freshers' fortnight – one hotel is situated just opposite the alluring Cardiff branch of Tiger Tiger. Now, a local brewer has produced a commemorative tipple that Tiger Woods himself could enjoy in the aforementioned nightclub, were he so inclined.

The ale, "Tiger Would", features on its pump clip a bosomy blonde cupping a golf ball. "If Tiger Woods saw it, I would hope he would still have a sense of humour," brewer Dave Walbeoff told Wales on Sunday. Tiger Woods, a sense of humour? Pull the other one, Dave.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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