Diary: Sheriff Matthew lives on

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The Independent Online

We had it on rather good authority that Matthew MacFadyen was miffed to find his role in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood was minimal. Fair enough: Macfadyen was awarded the part of the legend's iconic villain, the Sheriff of Nottingham. But instead of being asked to let loose his inner Alan Rickman, his involvement was restricted to a few short scenes. However, when Diary collared him at the West End opening of Ghost Stories, a petrifying new play co-written by one quarter of The League of Gentlemen, the Spooks star assured us that, far from being peeved, he was overjoyed to find he'd had a stay of execution. "I was due to die," Macfadyen explained, "and then I got the script through and I survived; it was something of a curiosity to me. I can't imagine why they didn't go through with killing me off." If Scott's planning a Sheriff-heavy sequel, he'll have to wait for Macfadyen to finish with his next star-studded remake, The Three Musketeers, in which he'll play the alcoholic Athos. "And no," he adds, "I wasn't a Dogtanian fan".

* David Cameron railed against Facebook for failing to remove the 30,000-member "RIP Raoul Moat you Legend" group; the page was finally taken down – not by Facebook bosses, but by its creator. Strange, though: Facebook's director of EU public policy is the recently ennobled Richard Allan. Allan was Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam until 2005, when he gave way to one Nick Clegg, Esq. Couldn't the Deputy PM have had a word?

* Twitter is crawling with links to the new website "I Write Like" (iwl.me), which analyses chunks of text and decides which famous author's work they most resemble. We submitted the writings of New Labour's big beasts: Alastair Campbell's diaries approach the horror-fantasy of HP Lovecraft. Tony Blair's speeches echo James Joyce (which bodes badly for the readability of his book). Peter Mandelson's memoir, meanwhile, reads most like Margaret Mitchell – author of the tragic romance Gone With The Wind.

* Two more former cabinet members with media careers in the offing: on Monday Alan Johnson begins a five-part documentary for Radio 4, about the life he might have led had he pursued his earlier career in music. The programme's title is Alan Johnson: Failed Rock Star, which is certainly snappier than Alan Johnson: Failed Leadership Bid. Speaking of which, Ed Balls is to appear in next week's episode of How To Look Good Naked. Happily, he'll be fully clothed.

* Coinci-mentally, Nicholas Burns, star of Nathan Barley, and its co-creator, Charlie Brooker, were both at the first night of Ghost Stories – and deep in discussion about a second series of the cult noughties sitcom. "I've literally just had a conversation with Charlie about a new series," admitted Burns, who plays the titular, self-facilitating media node. "It's definitely something I'd love to be a part of. Whether we can make it happen isn't for me to say... but it would be tremendous fun to do another series." Diary, naturally, thinks another run of shows about a self-regarding media tosser would be well weapon. Yeah?

* Diary hungrily took in a preview of Courvoisier Presents The Complete History of Food, an epicurean exhibit in Belgravia curated by food artists Bompas and Parr. Sam Bompas, recently in the news for making jam infused with Princess Di's hair (seriously), told us about the pair's next project: a pyramidal installation at the Big Chill Festival called the Ziggurat of Flavour, featuring a "fruit cloud" that can provide festival-goers with one of their five-a-day. "We've had a lot of back and forth with the Department of Health to clarify exactly what the five-a-day is," Bompas explains.

"Next, we need to work out if it can be absorbed through lung and eyeball." B&P are discerning about which projects they take on. "Working with food, if you're wasteful it's just crass... We were asked to make a Cornish pasty the size of a car. Interesting from a technical point of view, but why would you want a Cornish pasty the size of a car?" No idea, our reporter agreed, before sneaking off in search of a meat-filled pastry.