Diary: Ross won't be doing a Ricky on awards night
Hollywood's elite recently took a memorable bashing at the Golden Globes when host Ricky Gervais calculated that he was probably rich enough to throw caution to the wind and give it to them with both barrels.
Having been reminded that they are in fact a bunch of Scientology-loving, in-the-closest, airbrushed, hypocritical alcoholics – among, in fairness other things – A-listers attending this weekend's Baftas will be on more hospitable ground.
Indeed, while no stranger to ruffling feathers himself, Gervais's old mucker Jonathan Ross seems keen to assure us he will be the embodiment of good taste when he fronts proceedings – even going as far as to gently criticise his pal's inflammatory performance. "It was kind of brave, but a lot of those jokes were kind of unnecessary," he tells the Radio Times. "I definitely wouldn't have gone for the Scientology joke. But you have to remember Ricky's career doesn't depend on the Golden Globes." That ill-fated brush with Basil Fawlty's waiter has clearly left Ross a shadow of his former self.
* Among those keen to register surprise when Craig Oliver was appointed David Cameron's new spin doctor was his former BBC colleague Nick Robinson. The Beeb's political editor modestly declared he was among those "shocked" by the news, adding: "Hard though this may be to believe, I had no inkling of his political views in all the years I worked with him. What I do remember is how interested and intrigued he was by David Cameron's early efforts to re-shape the Conservative Party." So he was unlikely to have been a happy bunny over the weekend when Mail On Sunday scribe James Forsyth saw fit to confidently report that the very same Robinson had, in fact, "personally recommended" Oliver to the Prime Minister.
Ever the professional, I'm sure Mr Robinson will kick such unseemly tittle-tattle safely into touch as soon as he sees fit.
* Someone, somewhere, once thought it would be clever to say you should "never meet your heroes".
Having had the privilege of meeting one Hugh Grant – who, I should add, was as charming and gregarious as many of you will imagine – I for one take issue with such a lazy generalisation.
Still, our very own Prime Minister had to learn the hard way. After namechecking The Smiths as his favourite group, any chance of Dave's teenage idols turning up at Number 10 for a cosy night-in took a nosedive when the band's protagonists Morrissey and Johnny Marr both saw fit to publicly "forbid" the PM from ever liking them again. While not normally the sort of bloke to be kicked around – especially by a couple of ungrateful northern types – Dave pointedly declined to mention the band when asked to list his "Favourite Things From The Last 50 years" in the Sunday Telegraph.
Keen to consign his previous musical allegiance to history, our leader instead chose to highlight the talents of Bob Dylan. So far, the veteran songwriter has resisted raising any objection – one theory doing the rounds is that, unlike the famously sensitive Morrissey and co, Ol' Bob's unlikely to give a toss.
* While the new Sky Atlantic channel has been enjoying plenty of fanfare – in particular its new drama Boardwalk Empire – not everyone in Rupert's family seems entirely convinced. Among the guests at the said channel's recent launch party was Westminster stalwart Adam Boulton who, I'm told, informed fellow revellers: "It looks good, but it hasn't got the script." Still, when you've almost come to blows with Alastair Campbell on live television, a tale of 1920s gangsters must seem like timid stuff.
* Reports that Rory Stewart MP – soldier, adventurer, diplomat, academic and prince among men – has been having to endure the sound of backbench colleagues whistling the Pink Panther theme whenever the Tory backbencher speaks in the Commons earns a stern rebuke from his loyal local paper. As it's apparently a nod to rumoured "MI6 links", the News & Star points out: "If they are going to be childish, these MPs should at least go to the trouble of doing a bit of research. Inspector Clouseau had nothing to do with MI6!"
It adds that none of the offending MPs will be welcome in Carlisle.
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