Oh yes, he is! Boris to be sacked in yet another Speccie farce

Click to follow

Mary Killen the magazine's long-standing agony aunt, has written a play called Dear Mary.

It tells the (so far) hypothetical story of the sacking of Johnson after the pantomime villain that is Express proprietor Richard Desmond purchases the magazine.

A copy of the first draft landed on Pandora's desk yesterday, and - although a hoax was suspected - Killen later confirmed that it's a genuine work in progress.

She wrote it last year, before the many "Sextator" scandals, with a view to sharing a bill with Toby Young's first play, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

"Although my plot has been overtaken by events, I still think there's mileage in it and am about to start a rewrite," she says. "After that, the next step is to send it to some producers and hold my breath."

Killen is already courting actors, too. She recently showed her script to Anna Chancellor - "Duckface" in Four Weddings and a Funeral - who apparently gave it a favourable review.

* Madonna brightened up this month's Vogue, with a tweedy photo-shoot at Ashcombe, her Dorset country seat.

In an effort to piggy-back the free publicity, the League Against Cruel Sports has issued a press release offering free membership to her Madgeness.

The League reckons she's renounced pheasant shooting in favour of what it calls "non-lethal country pursuits", such as riding.

Alas, they are mistaken. Although Madonna rarely turns up in the field these days, she remains the proud proprietor of one of the finest commercial shoots in the South-west.

Thirty to 40 days are let each year at Ashcombe for upwards of £20,000 a go, and locals report that this year's delivery of pheasant and partridge chicks has just arrived.

Meanwhile, Madonna's estate manager, Willy Cole, was spotted yesterday in meetings at the West London Shooting School.

Friends report that if they've stopped pheasant-blatting at Ashcombe, then it's certainly news to him.

* Lenny Kravitz has become a pawn in the ill-tempered game of chess that preceded today's first Ashes Test.

Cricket Australia, the body that runs the Aussies' national cricket team, has taken out a block booking of seats for Kravitz's concert at the Hammersmith Apollo tonight.

It's officially an outing for back-room staff, but if the tourists have the best of today's play expect several of their first team to attend. "The idea," says one insider, "is to rub England's nose in it, and show how easily we can beat them."

Some consider this attitude unsporting, if not downright arrogant. Others disagree. The moustachioed former Aussie bowler Merv Hughes, who played poker with Pandora at the Betfair Ashes Challenge on Tuesday, thinks it's a splendid idea.

* Cherie Blair would never dream of cashing in on her husband's success, but it hasn't harmed her literary career.

The official 10 Downing Street website (proprietors: the British public) contains, in its "history" section, a list of eight recommended texts on British politics.

Alongside Dod's Parliamentary Companion and scholarly tomes by the likes of Anthony Seldon can be found a plug for The Goldfish Bowl, Mrs Blair's recent hardback on prime ministers' wives.

We are helpfully informed that it runs to 318 pages, and is available through Chatto & Windus. To make ordering a copy easier, an ISDN number is provided.

In stark contrast, Norma Major's book on Chequers - written during her time as the PM's wife - doesn't get so much as a mention.

* It's literary fight time! Jonathan Coe, the novelist best known for The Rotters' Club, has taken a cheeky pop at Harold Pinter.

The two have no "previous" to speak of, but Coe - who studied Pinter's plays and poetry at Cambridge - has been disappointed by both the playwright's recent work and his appetite for controversy.

"I can't believe that someone who produced such wonderful words in the Sixties could produce such neanderthal ones in the Noughties," he says. "I remember once at a wedding he called Mario Vargas Llosa a * * * * . Still, I suppose Pinter not telling someone to fuck off is more of a story these days."

As to the current Pottermania, Coe - speaking at Ann Widdecombe's latest book launch - adds: "Harry Potter never appealed. After all, I wouldn't sit on the Tube reading Enid Blyton: I'd be worried about people laughing at me."