Dave: should I kiss and make up with Maurice?

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The Independent Online

Maurice Saatchi and the Conservative Party went their separate ways last year, after three decades of cooperation. The peer's advertising agency, famous for Margaret Thatcher's successful "Labour isn't working" campaign in 1979, fell out with the new David Cameron team and "had no plans to pursue its business in future". Lord Saatchi quit as Tory chairman, and this summer criticised Cameron for "nicey nicey" politics and lacking substance.

I'm told, however, that M&C Saatchi are surprisingly "in the running" to pitch for the Conservatives' election advertising account, sure to be a bumper pay day.

"You can't ignore their record," said a CCHQ source. "You have to remember that Steve Hilton [Cameron's adviser] is close to Saatchi, who has even said Hilton is a young version of himself."

Richard Chalk, the Tories' highly-rated former events boss, works for Saatchi now, although not on political advertising. The 26-year-old former ad exec Anna-Maren Ashfor, now at CCHQ, has dealt with the prospective agencies.

One agency the Tories are said to have approached is WCRS, whose clients include 118 118, BMW and Transport for London. Its flamboyant chairman, Robin Wight, is an old-school Tory and political junkie fond of bright suits. He wore a Weetabix-pattern outfit for one pitch.

Should the irrepressible Wight beat Saatchi to the account, David Cameron must hope that Wight produces better results than he did working with Billy Connolly to promote the Lotto – voted the most irritating advert of 2002.

Nasty episode: Steve calls in the silks

Steve Coogan is talking to his lawyers following bizarre reported suggestions by the increasingly scary-looking rock widow Courtney Love that he might shoulder some responsibility for his actor friend Owen Wilson's "hard living" and reported suicide attempt. One could not but wince, then, leafing through last night's television listings.

Coogan is back on the small screen for a second series of his BBC2 sitcom Saxondale, in which he plays the angry ex-roadie-cum-pest controller Tommy.

As the Law of Sod would have it, yesterday's episode saw Tommy stumble across a man called Martin considering suicide. He tries to help him, but "Tommy quickly suffers compassion fatigue." Oh dear.

Coogan's website, meanwhile, is bullish, proposing that the comedian is "also responsible for the recent collapse of the housing market in the US. It must be Coogan's fault."

Extraterrestrial Emily

BBC colleagues of the white thigh-flashing, Mandarin-jabbering presenter Emily Maitlis, above right, are unlikely to come up with a cruel nickname for her based on her recent advert for Newsnight, in which she showed a little too much shapely leg for Middle England's liking.

That's because they already have a nickname for her.

She is known in White City as "Balok", a production source says, because of her resemblance to the fierce, bald-headed alien from Star Trek, who threatens to blow up the Starship Enterprise in the 1966 episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver", and consign Kirk, Spock and Co to oblivion. William Shatner has said he didn't enjoy filming that one.

I keep looking, harder and harder, but I just can't see the likeness.

Berlin's bonus

The Berlin Philharmonic was an "obedient servant" of Adolf Hitler, securing wealth and patronage in return for becoming craven apologists for his regime – as detailed in a new book in Germany, The Reich's Orchestra.

The BBC's coded Second World War broadcasts to the underground resistance in Nazi-controlled Europe began and ended with the start of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. The "di-di-di-dah" form of notes was the morse code for V and victory.

It was only after the war, when the Beeb came to paying royalties to the relevant musicians for using their recording, that a horrible cock-up was realised.

Which symphony outfit had played the notes that went out over the BBC's airwaves many hundreds of times in battle? None other than Hitler's beloved, the Berlin Philharmonic!

Prince's man seeks solace in a crowd

It has not been the easiest of weeks for Prince Charles's public relations adviser, Paddy Harverson, in the run-up to today's private memorial service for Princess Diana, that icon of the emotionally needy.

Harverson has been tasked with handling the fallout from the Plant Whisperer's incompetent "un-inviting" of his wife, Camilla.

Few would begrudge Paddy escaping Clarence House and the ever-present spectre of the late princess, but I was nevertheless surprised to bump in to him on Wednesday evening in a crowd of revellers at The French House, a ratty Soho saloon populated by a dutiful gargoyle army of boiling purple-faced boozers and resting thespians.

He seemed rather chipper, given the circumstances.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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