Enter stage, far right: Willy, a Scouse nephew of Hitler

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The Independent Online

* It appears to have all the ingredients for West End success: blackmail, sexual failure, swastikas and, crucially, the real-life story of Adolf Hitler's self-promoting Scouse nephew.

Now, after success in New York, the playwright Mark Kassen plans to next year bring Little Willy to London.

His hour-long play profiles William Patrick Hitler, pictured, born 1911 in Liverpool to the Führer's half brother, Alois, a waiter.

Willy moved to Germany in the 1930s and shamelessly traded off his moniker to secure plush jobs and seduce gullible young fraüleins.

However, he spectacularly fell out with Uncle Adolf after threatening to sell the family secrets to the press.

Willy fled to the US, changed his name and lived in anonymous suburbia until his death in 1987.

"We got unexpectedly large audiences and so much controversy in New York, so we want to bring it to London," Kassen tells me.

"I think people will dig it. If the guy was alive today he'd have a television reality show or a record deal."

The New York Times critic who reviewed Little Willy described Kassen's Hitler Jnr as "a parasitic, failed careerist who had not one moral or political conviction that he wouldn't sell for a dime" - as well as being "sweaty and excitable", and a disappointment in bed.

Quite what Willy's three remaining sons (in Long Island, New York) make of the production remains unclear. They are rumoured to be working on their own account of life as Little Hitlers.

* With a strong line in gags on Osama bin Laden, the Muslim comic Shazia Mirza isn't to everyone's taste. She found a non-politically correct ally earlier this year at Buckingham Palace, however, in the Duke of Edinburgh.

"He asked if I knew any funny stories, so I said, 'No, but I know a few racist jokes', and I asked him, 'Do you know any racist jokes?'

"He burst out laughing and thought I was messing. I wasn't."

The Duke then gently chastised her for spending a television appearance fee on shoes, instead of giving the money to charity.

Mirza was less abrasive with Her Majesty. "The Queen asked: 'What do you do?' and I said, 'I'm a comedian'. What I really wanted to say was: 'Did you kill Diana?' but what came out was, 'I'm a comedian'." Shame!

* Former Darth Vader actor (and Green Cross Code man) David Prowse tends to dispense opinions on matters Star Wars in much the same way as he dispatched wayward Storm Troopers in the movies.

Unsurprising to hear then that he is slightly sceptical about this Thursday night's premiere of Star Wars - Reduced! at the Criterion Theatre.

The ambitious play, from the Reduced Shakepeare Company, seeks to cram 13 hours of plotlines from all six George Lucas films into just 20 minutes.

"I don't know how well it will work," says Prowse, pictured right in his helmet.

"Hopefully they won't make the same mistake as the film people, who never realised right at the beginning that Vader was the cult figure of the whole movie series.

"More than anything, I hope they don't find room in the 20 minutes for those ridiculous teddy-bear Ewoks. I couldn't stand them."

* When maverick Labour MP Frank Field opens his cake hole, colleagues on the front benches tend to run for cover.

So they will be alarmed to hear that the outspoken former Pensions Minister has decided to write a book.

The tome, titled The Politics of Virtue - stop sniggering about how it won't take long to write, please - is a critical look at the Labour movement over the past 50 years.

"We used to have an ideology but we got lazy so it is now up to us to remake that ideology," Field tells me.

He was hoping to finish the draft during the current parliamentary vacation, but has completed just four pages so far.

* The modish press baron Lord Rothermere is still putting the finishing touches to his £40m country pile, Ferne Park.

According to one particularly nosy neighbour, the head of the Daily Mail group recently decided to replace the black and white cows on his estate, amid rumours they clashed with the building's colour scheme.

"There were no cows there before the Rothermeres moved in," insists his spokesman when I call.

"But they have bought a rare English breed called White Park Cattle which the Rothermeres chose for three reasons.

"The first is that they are a rare breed which needs support. The second is that they are low maintenance. And the third is that they taste good."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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