Pandora: Act II in tale of two critics falls flat

Click to follow
The Independent Online

And so to the encore! The second half of Theatreland's most bitter feud has come to a close – and it has been remarkably similar to the first.

Ian Shuttleworth, the Financial Times's well-upholstered man in the stalls, has just learned that his second attempt to see his Sunday Telegraph rival, Tim Walker, reprimanded by the Press Complaints Commission has been in vain.

The pair's curious feud began last November, when one of Walker's reviews made what Shuttleworth perceived to be a coded, fattist attack on him. Walker wrote that his enjoyment of a National Theatre production of Ferdinand Bruckner's Pains Of Youth was ruined by "Giant Haystacks sitting directly behind" – apparently without realising the man behind him in the audience was his FT counterpart. He then held forth about Shuttleworth's "huge, hot tummy" (sample quote: "I didn't dare look. I started to fret that this was the way I was going to go: fighting for my breath in blubber").

At the time, Shuttleworth was so incensed that he reported Walker to the media watchdog. In December, however, his complaint was rejected because Walker had not named the victim of his attack.

Undeterred, Shuttleworth lodged a second complaint earlier this year, this time about an article recounting the dispute, in which Walker claimed to have been "vilified and ostracised" by his fellow critics. Once again, though, the PCC is refusing to play ball.

Neither critic is keen to comment. We wait with bated breath to see if a third instalment is in the pipeline.

Tories take firm hand with helpers

*The Tories aren't taking any risks with election campaign volunteers. We're told they have taken the unusual step of hiring a top-notch security firm to screen campaign volunteers' backgrounds. "As well as fears about undercover journalists and opposing parties, they also want to steer clear of anyone potentially embarrassing." George Osborne, watch out.

Actor has sympathy for the poor devils

*Whatever is this? Fresh from playing the Labour MP Alan Keen in a recent BBC4 drama On Expenses, Tim Pigott-Smith claims to have found sympathy for the devils.

"I am very angry about the bankers but not so much about the MPs," the actor tells us. "I do think they had a slightly rough time. I do feel sorry for them. Bankers on the other hand ... well, if I get into a conversation with one of them I say, 'Do you know how long it takes an actor to earn £500,000?'"

In the case of the ever in-demand Pigott-Smith, of course, the answer is probably rather less time than most.

Jagger's not planning Indian tour

*Jade Jagger has poured cold water on the idea that her fashion line might be – gasp! – on the cusp of world domination. Sir Mick's daughter had been rumoured to be exporting her gap year-esque jewellery brand to India. Alas, not so. "It's just chat," she tells us. "I'd really love to open in Mumbai but that's all I've said. It's not official." The city's trinket-loving Trustafarians are inconsolable.