Natasha's nuptials go less than swimmingly for Massow & Co

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The Independent Online

Last week, the BBC presenter, far right, made headlines after it emerged that guests at her reception would be served tap water instead of expensive bottled varieties.

Now she's upset members of Babington House, the private members' club in Somerset where Sunday's nuptials took place. They're furious at being evicted on one of the hottest days of the summer.

Ivan Massow the colourful financier, is among those who were locked out, despite paying membership fees of £1,200 a year.

"I was prevented from going for a swim by Natasha Kaplinsky, for God's sake," he complains. "This has really got my goat. I'm forced to put up with this wretched woman on TV every morning, and now this.

"I don't know why we weren't allowed in. Maybe her C-list friends were afraid of us locals. I wouldn't have minded if it was for Madonna, but to be locked out by Natasha what's-her-name. Oh dear me!"

In defence, a spokesman for Babington House - sister venue to Soho House - said yesterday: "We only have two weekend weddings a year, and members are told in advance."

* An actor of Steven Berkoff's standing has every right to expect a bit of respect while he treads the boards at the Edinburgh Festival.

So it's with some sympathy that I can report a bruising encounter between Berkoff and Mark Watson, a stand-up comedian who is also performing at this year's Fringe.

Learning that the brooding Octopussy villain was at the Pleasance Dome last week, Watson invited him onto his stage.

When Berkoff refused - saying "I have to thank you for your patronage but decline the offer" - Watson's audience responded by writing a song about him.

"Its lyrics were: 'Steven Berkoff, unhelpful, uncooperative, Steven Berkoff', and it was repeated for several minutes," says a witness.

"Eventually, one of the actor's friends was dispatched to have a quiet word, and told Watson to 'treat Steven with more respect'."

Asked about the incident yesterday, Watson said: "I didn't originally intend to be rude, but Berkoff seemed a little self-important."

* Just three days to go until Lord Birt, Tony Blair's "blue skies thinker", delivers the annual MacTaggart Lecture at this year's Edinburgh TV festival.

Pandora's already in a state of high excitement. Not - you understand - because of what the former BBC director-general might say, but rather because of whom he will say it to.

That's because Birt has advised the organisers that his new fiancée, Eithne Wallis, is to be in the audience at Friday's lecture. She's the fifty-something beauty for whom he recently left his wife of 40 years, Jane.

"We checked this morning, and Lord Birt has definitely ordered a hotel room for two," says an organiser. "He advised us that this was to be their first public outing together, and to expect lots of extra attention." Splendid!

* The Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Bill Ind, has allowed BBC2 to produce a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the day-to-day running of his historic cathedral.

It's set beards twitching in the Church of England, since the last such project - at St Paul's Cathedral - turned into a PR disaster when camera crews were invited to record footage of staff interviews.

"After that documentary, we said 'never again', because it's just too easy for a TV crew with an agenda to stitch us up," says a C of E source. "The Bishop of Truro doesn't seem to have listened."

A TV crew in search of scandal could strike lucky in Truro. Last year, the cathedral hit the gossip columns after the Very Rev Michael Moxon quit suddenly as Dean on what were officially described as "doctors orders".

* When Britain's top spook, Eliza Manningham-Buller, decided to open an MI5 office in Cardiff, she was blissfully unaware of the petty demands of Welsh bureaucracy.

She won't be any more. For MI5 has just been told that - under the Welsh Language Act - all documents produced there must first be written in Welsh, before being translated into English.

"It'll be a hell of a challenge for them to find someone who speaks, say, Arabic and Welsh," says local MP David Davis.

"To cap it off, the nationalist pressure group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg has advised its supporters not to apply for jobs there. Apparently, it reckons MI5's a tool of the English superstate. You couldn't make it up!"

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