Hitchens' family war officially over as brothers 'make it good'

Click to follow

There is détente in the greatest media dispute of modern times. Four years after they last spoke, Christopher Hitchens has offered an olive branch to his estranged younger brother, Peter, right.

There is détente in the greatest media dispute of modern times. Four years after they last spoke, Christopher Hitchens has offered an olive branch to his estranged younger brother, Peter, right.

The brothers - who've always enjoyed a strained relationship - fell out in 2001, when the right-leaning Peter ridiculed the leftish Christopher in The Spectator for supporting the invasion of Afghanistan.

Hitchens Snr was especially upset by the suggestion that he'd once been a Stalinist (he claims to be a Trotskyite) and demanded a retraction. None came, so he vowed never to speak to his sibling again. However, writing in the new Vanity Fair, US-based Christopher says he would at last like to "make it good" with Peter.

Having documented the history of their public rivalry, he offers "an outstretched hand", saying: "If my wife and I were to both die, I am sure Peter would offer to look after my children."

Asked about the article yesterday, Peter said he's also received a conciliatory letter from his brother and intends to grasp the olive branch. "How can I not," he said. "[Christopher] started this row, and if he wants to finish it, then fine. There haven't been nauseating scenes of reconciliation, but the war is officially over."

¿ Another day, another star of stage and screen angles for a slice of the lucrative children's book market.

Following in the footsteps of (among others) Madonna and Paul McCartney, the comedian Harry Hill is putting pen - and paintbrush - to paper in his first literary offering, Tim the Tiny Horse.

Hill a keen amateur artist, tells me he's to illustrate the book himself. The plot reflects his surreal comic repertoire.

"The idea is that it's a bit more realistic than most kids' book, so not a lot happens," he said at the recent Sony Radio Awards.

"In one incident, Tim's going to the shops but he forgets his money so he goes home and watches a video instead.

"I was inspired by seeing a horse in a field that was a bit smaller than all the other horses."

As for future plans, he adds: "There's been some interest to turn it into a TV cartoon. I think I'd enjoy doing the voices."

¿ Val Kilmer opened a can of worms last week, when he discussed the joys of cycling around our capital city.

Revealing that he's been using a mountain bike to navigate the West End, where he's starring in The Postman Always Rings Twice, Kilmer said: "It's so easy to get round this town on a bike [but] the traffic can be really hectic, and your bus drivers are definitely on crack."

The Transport and General Workers' Union isn't impressed. They say that the vast majority of bus drivers receive regular drug tests - and are as clean as a whistle.

"I'd have thought Hollywood stars would know more about crack cocaine than bus drivers," says a spokesman. "Still, I'm sure that my courteous members will brake for Val Kilmer, if he should chance to wobble into their path."

¿ The historian Lord Morgan of Aberdyfi has chucked a bag of spanners into the well-oiled machine of the Upper House of Parliament.

A patriotic Welshman, he's insisting on being sworn into the House of Lords in his native tongue. Since the Welsh language is - if you'll pardon the expression - all Greek to parliamentary authorities, it promises to be quite a show.

"My swearing-in has been delayed because I've asked to do it in Welsh," he said at the recent launch of Yet More Adventures with Britannia by Roger Louis.

"There's a group of us Welshmen who always insist on it. Everyone thinks it's all very well, because it's this lovely old tuneful language, but in reality they have no idea what we're saying. It could be anything."

¿ And so to Cannes, where Kiera Chaplin - the actress granddaughter of Charlie - is involved in an ill-tempered dispute with the organisers of this year's film festival.

By way of a publicity stunt for her flick, Lady Godiva: Back in the Saddle, Chaplin was last week supposed to parade down La Croisette on horseback, wearing nothing more than a layer of make-up. But (unfortunately for the assembled photographers) the festival authorities banned her from appearing starkers on the red carpet.

Chaplin's producer Frank Sacks has lodged an appeal against the decision (he claims the stunt was given a thumbs-up by both the Mayor of Cannes and local gendarmes) and awaits its outcome. I doubt that the original Lady Godiva would have stood for this bureaucracy.