Pandora: Any old Irons won't do for 'Brideshead'

Jeremy Irons claims to have been offered a part in a new big-screen version of Brideshead Revisited, but the film's director says he didn't want him.

Just before shooting of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel began last year, Irons (who found fame as Charles Ryder in the TV Brideshead in 1981) told Pandora that he had been approached to play Lord Marchmain, the role that on the small screen went to Laurence Olivier. "I couldn't possibly put my feet into his footsteps," Irons said.

It turns out that it's a good job Irons resisted the offer. The film's director, Julian Jarrold, was not keen on having Irons in the cast, and says the decision to offer him a role was made over his head by the movie's producers. "To be honest I'm glad he wasn't involved," Jarrold told me at the film's premiere on Monday night. "We really tried to separate ourselves from the TV series. We want to be seen as something entirely different – not just a sequel to the TV show.

"We are an adaptation in our own right. The producers approached him but for one reason or another it didn't happen. I don't know the whole story though."

Asked whether he had seen the TV series featuring Irons, Jarrold added: "No I haven't. I deliberately avoided it before filming. Maybe I should sit down and watch it all one go now. Maybe tomorrow."

Ben won't see David's Hamlet

The actor Ben Whishaw continues to be haunted by Hamlet, the part which made him famous when he appeared at the Old Vic in 2004.

Whishaw, left, won rave reviews in Trevor Nunn's production, after being awarded the part aged just 24. But he won't be going to see the Royal Shakespeare Company's equally well-received production starring David Tennant, because he'd find the experience too uncomfortable.

"It's really difficult to watch someone playing a role that you've played," he tells me. "It's not that I don't think he'll be absolutely brilliant, it's just that I'd find it really disconcerting. You hear your voice saying their lines in your head and it's just really weird. I put so much into that role it was really intense, I don't know, I just got really involved in it. I invested a lot in it."

Stephanie misses the big story

As share prices continue to plummet, the BBC's excitable business editor Robert Peston's stock continues to rise and rise. But what of his fragrant colleague Stephanie Flanders?

Just months after bagging the vacant Economics Editor's job on Newsnight, Flanders, right, disappeared on maternity leave, thus missing what is undoubtedly the economics story of the past century. Yesterday, the BBC announced that she would now not be returning to her role until at least January.

"Unfortunately it won't be until early next year," said a spokesman. "I was thinking about that this morning. She certainly is missing a lot isn't she?"

In the meantime, economics reporting duties are falling to the supremely accomplished Hugh Pym, though I'm assured that he will be more than happy to step aside upon Flanders' return.

Dragon's dens of inequality?

Dragons' Den panellist James Caan last night launched his autobiography entitled The Real Deal. Rather grandly, he felt this momentous occasion required not one but two launch parties. The first, earmarked for family and close friends, was held in Brick Lane. Later on, Caan hotfooted it across London to a second bash in Mayfair, which I'm told was intended for some of his celebrity chums.

Tories spare the big tipples

With David Cameron insisting that Tories must not to be seen swigging champagne as the world economy crumbles, the party treasurer Michael Spencer's drinks reception at conference on Monday was relatively austere. It was a change from past affairs, when his wealthy chums competed to see who could turn up with the costliest bottle of hooch.

D ave's 'Independent' – are you?

*David Cameron prepares for interviews in Birmingham by swotting up on his new all-colour Independent. In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I'll give a bottle of champagne to the reader who can come up with the wittiest caption to accompany it.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing