Cop that! Sir Ian faces double trial by television

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The Independent Online

There are now so many clouds darkening Sir Ian Blair's horizon that it's almost tempting to feel sorry for him.

A week after a Panorama reconstruction reopened the wound of the Stockwell shooting, I learn that the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes is to be the subject of not one but two TV dramas.

The first, for Channel 4, is being made by Mentorn. They have "form", having last year made The Government Inspector, a hard-hitting dramatisation of events leading to the death of Dr David Kelly.

The second show, recently OK-ed by the BBC, is called Stockwell, and will be written by Richard Curson Smith, a specialist in hard-hitting screenplays, whose Pinochet in Suburbia is screened next week.

Both projects will further undermine Britain's most senior policeman, pictured, who was recently forced to apologise for secretly recording telephone conversations with Lord Goldsmith.

"The BBC is co-operating with the de Menezes family, who have been strongly critical of Sir Ian's role in the affair," says a friend of Curson Smith. "At this stage, it even looks like having a Brazilian director."

Either way, Curson Smith's script will no doubt be keenly studied by BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, who just happens to be a close chum of Sir Ian.

Perhaps that explains why the BBC was keeping tight-lipped yesterday. " The project is in development, so there isn't much we can say," they told me.

* Interesting that Jodie Kidd should be the latest member of Britain's workforce to jump aboard the public payroll.

The skinny beauty was this week hired by the DVLA to promote a service letting motorists pay road tax over the internet.

Since, like most supermodels, Kidd isn't easily tempted out of bed, this will have cost a pretty penny. Informed sources quote a "low six-figure" sum.

But the DVLA yesterday refused to reveal how much taxpayers' cash was spanked, citing "commercial confidentiality".

They may not keep it secret for long, though. The affair has reached the attention of Chris Grayling, the Tory transport spokesman and Westminster's foremost attack-dog.

"If the DVLA paid a six-figure sum, that's a considerable amount," he tells me. "We'd want to see some evidence that the campaign has worked."

Early signs are mixed. In an interview with this newspaper to mark the deal, Kidd noted "We're destroying the environment", before adding: "I'd like to get rid of the congestion charge."

* Bob Russell, a crusading Lib Dem MP who styles himself the "voice of Colchester", is at war with the East Anglian Daily Times.

At Christmas, the paper pilloried Russell for lobbying colleagues to elect him The House Magazine's "backbencher of the year".

Now it has revealed that he wrote 400 letters to the local council last year, including 120 to its chief executive.

Critics call this "wasting time and money". Russell, somewhat apoplectically, tells me it's part of his job.

"I live and breathe Colchester," he says. "I care passionately about my town; maybe too passionately. But I've now been forced to cancel my subscription to that paper. It's desperately sad."

* Last time George Michael went on the "toot", he ended up slumped over the wheel of his Range Rover in a street off Leicester Square.

The police promptly arrested him, discovering a stash of cannabis and a recreational drug called GHB in the process.

Thankfully, Michael hasn't let the whole ghastly affair blunt his enthusiasm for a good night out. On Wednesday, his boyfriend Kenny Goss attended a fundraising auction for the Terrence Higgins Trust

Halfway through, he donated a special lot. "It was dinner and a night's clubbing with George and Kenny," I'm told. "Two women bid against each other, and it went for just over £10,000."

The lucky winner will dine at the Ivy, and dance at an edgy joint in Soho; cannabis and GHB are (no doubt) an optional extra.

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