Ousted but not stirred: Bond returns to Eton

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The Independent Online

It is nearly 70 years since James Bond was supposed to have been expelled from Eton, but he will soon be making a dramatic return to his alma mater.

Next month, current Bond star Daniel Craig will be shooting several scenes at the college as part of Bond's next film outing, Casino Royale.

Filming will take place at the school's cricket pavilion though, as I understand it, the scenes will not actually have anything to do with Bond padding up.

Instead it will apparently be dressed up with palm trees and made to look like an exotic location.

Usually, anyone given the boot from the 550-year-old college is not welcome on school grounds again, but on this occasion the headmaster was understandably happy to make an exception. "Yes, you are right. Bond got into a bit of bother with a boy's maid during his time at Eton, but he is forgiven and we are very much looking forward to seeing him back here," jokes the school bursar when I call.

"However, I'm afraid we aren't supposed to say what Bond is up to."

Unfortunately, a spokesman for the film is similarly tight-lipped about the shoot, deeming it a "closed set".

As for Eton, it has been no stranger to film crews over the years. In the past it has played host to a number of high-profile movies including Shakespeare in Love and Chariots of Fire.

Horse lover Kidd joins racing syndicate

There are few greater horse lovers in this world than the polo-playing supermodel Jodie Kidd.

So it comes as little surprise to learn that she has decided to enter the precarious world of racehorse ownership.

Last week, Kidd signed up as a member of the highly successful Highclere Thoroughbred Racing operation. She'll now be a part of a syndicate which owns a horse that's being trained by former England footballer Mick Channon.

"Jodie is genuinely mad on horse racing, so we're absolutely thrilled she's decided to join up," says a spokesperson for Highclere. She's been strongly associated with the sport recently, having been the face of Sandown races, and now we hope she enjoys being part of a syndicate."

Kidd is the latest in a line of celebrity members at Highclere. Other luminaries include actor James Nesbitt and X-Factor star Simon Cowell.

Rock opera hits low note

I do hope Pete Townshend's never-ending career on the road with his band The Who isn't getting to him.

Over the weekend, Townshend set off on a UK tour with fellow surviving member Roger Daltrey. They were due to perform Townshend's new "rock opera" Wire & Glass, the first new composition the band has performed in more than 20 years.

But speaking on his website last week, Townshend wasn't exactly writing up the band's chances.

"We haven't played anything new for such a long time," he says. "This selection is 11 minutes long.

"We will blast through it, and if the crowd get distracted, they can buy our fabulous merchandising."

Top blog

Hot on the heels of my report on Friday that David Miliband's online diary was costing the taxpayer a hefty £40,000 a year, I hear his much-derided efforts in cyberspace have received a surprise boost.

The Environment Secretary's blog, widely ridiculed for its dull content, has been nominated for a gong at the New Statesman's New Media Awards, due to take place next month. News of his inclusion has prompted an uncharitable response in some quarters. "I can't think of any normal person who would want to look at Miliband's blog," says rival Westminster blogger Iain Dale. "It reads like a random collection of dull press releases.

Motty scores again

John Motson is the latest public figure to leap on to the lucrative after-dinner speaking circuit. Last week, "Motty" was snapped up by top agent Wendy Bailey, who boasts Alastair Campbell and William Hague on her books. The veteran BBC commentator, renowned for his unrivalled - albeit not always fascinating - knowledge of football trivia, will be available for corporate-speaking engagements across the country.

It's a boon for him, and experts say it should see his earnings swell considerably over the next year or so.

"Motty is a national institution, so he's likely to be a real draw with footie-mad business types once the World Cup is over," says one booker. "This could turn into a very profitable second career if he plays his cards right."

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