Diary: Not quite like a Rolling Stone

After it presumably became clear the man himself couldn't be bothered, who better to read the audio version of Keith Richards' memoirs than dashing shipmate Johnny Depp?

With Richards evidently otherwise engaged, I hear the actor kindly stepped into the breach to handle the 23-hour-long recording of his hero's memoir, Life.

The two men have, of course, been thick as thieves in recent years, following Depp's Keef-inspired debut as Captain Jack Sparrow, the Rolling Stone appeared as his screen Dad in the third Pirates of the Caribbean instalment and has recently returned to film another cameo in the fourth. Naturally, I'm assured Mr Depp's performance doesn't disappoint, with the star breaking into his now obligatory mockney growl whenever the moment demands.

On this very royal week, it's only fitting I end this item by reminding you just how affected Mr Richards was by Princess Diana's passing all those years ago. When asked for a comment, he slurred, touchingly: "Sorry, I never knew the chick."

* As this week's series of royal specials regrettably draws to a close, High Street Ken's well-documented fears concerning one Paul Burrell have quickly proved justified.

Loyal and indeed less loyal readers following my reports this week will know I predicted that a certain engagement would be likely to inject new life into the much-maligned former butler's ailing celebrity career.

No sooner had the happy couple appeared before the cameras than the man once called Diana's "Rock" – and of course a lot worse – was being unveiled to viewers across the Atlantic as a "Fox News contributor" no less. "We're up and running Martha! We're up and running!" he gushed to admirably presentable anchorwoman Martha MacCallum.

Rightly keen to reassure the American public that he wasn't simply some second-rate English chancer trading off a royal connection that in reality ended rather a long time ago, Burrell went on to remind the Yanks that he'd always predicted that the Prince would get married one day. "You've got to watch Fox to get the truth out," he triumphantly added, without hint of contractual obligation.

* I gather there have been regrettable tensions between the ageing charmer Nigel Havers and the future Lib Dem leader Lembit Opik during the pair's appearance in the latest series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

Supporters of Havers uncharitably suggest that this is because Opik is an "annoying fucking idiot", while the Lembit camp doubt their man will "ever be able to watch Chariots of Fire again". Should Nasty Nigel resort to physically throttling Estonia's 47th funniest man to death, might I helpfully suggest producers consider broadcasting it in slow motion, accompanied by the said film's stirring soundtrack?

* While I jokily talk of the future murder of Lembit Opik, others choose to stir up the prospect of another high-profile assassination. In an article for the New Statesman, Dan Hodges ups the ante good and proper with this little titbit from a "Brownite insider". Apparently Little Ted's team are "terrified" of Ed Balls and his English rose of a wife, Yvette Cooper. "They think they're going to come and try to kill him," we're told. "And the reason they think that is because they will."

Should Mr and Mrs Balls carry out this Sopranos-style hit, I for one seriously doubt whether people would ever be able to trust them again.

* As the week ends so, alas, does High Street Ken's entertaining journey through The Celebrity Cookbook. Despite initial concerns that this could have been viewed as a lazy column filler written following a drunken late night pledge to a persuasive PR girl, I for one consider it an unqualified success. Today, following unconfirmed rumours that the late Dirty Den was too expensive, we turn to Coronation Street's Ken Barlow, played by his lesser-known alter ego William Roache. Promoting his goats' cheese and mushroom tartlets, he adds: "My role model would be any guru, swami or holy man who has risen above his ego to his superior and spiritual self. An enlightened being who radiates love." Dirty Den would never have come up with that.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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