Pandora: Conspiracy theories abound over BBC's London bombings film
Thursday 04 September 2008
The BBC has found itself under siege from all sides over its decision to make a documentary about the bombings that took place in London on 7 July, 2005.
In June, the Beeb was criticised by the victims' families after it emerged that it paid the expenses of the disgraced academic, Dr Nick Kollerstrom, to appear in a programme about the atrocity as part of the Conspiracy Files series.
Kollerstrom, who denies the Holocaust, thinks the bombers may have been "innocent patsies" set up by elements of the Israeli, British and US security agencies. Now it is the turn of the conspiracy theorists to start spitting feathers.
Kollerstrom and another of the interviewees, the journalist Tony Gosling, claim they were told the programme would be aired some time this month, only to be informed that it has now been shelved until later this year.
Being conspiracists, they naturally smell fish. Gosling says: "We have been told that it is down to legal reasons but this seems to be another tentacle of the war on terror. To be honest, I'm a bit shell-shocked about it. Some of us have put our necks on the line for this."
While the corporation says the documentary will eventually see the light of day, it insists that there was never any plan to show it this year. "It was never on the schedule so there was no set release date," says a spokesman.
"We tend to air these programmes when there is some sort of report to peg them to. It is definitely not for legal reasons."
Jimmy defends handover
The Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page won't accept that his duet with Leona Lewis at the Olympics closing ceremony was the first low-point of the London 2012 Games.
"We got so much criticism and I really don't know why," he tells Pandora. "I think we did a great job – it was an honour to be there. People just need to be less cynical. You know, we went out there, we only had 10 minutes – what did people expect?"
Would he do it again in 2012? "I don't know about that yet. If they asked, it would be an honour."
Allegra jumps ship as fashion feels the pinch
Allegra Hicks is the latest high-profile victim of the credit crunch. The London-based fashion designer, whose celebrity clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Jerry Hall, has been forced to withdraw from the forthcoming London Fashion Week after her catwalk sponsors decided to pull the plug owing to the economic downturn.
It is not only a blow for Hicks but also the organisers of the event who, over the years, have seen more and more big-name British-based designers opt to showcase collections in New York.
"We only found out at the weekend. We didn't expect it at all and now there is not enough time to find new sponsors," a spokesman for Hicks says.
"We are planning to go ahead and do a show next season but may be not in London. It is just a shame it happened so close to fashion week."
Palin by comparison
With all the talk about Senator John McCain's surprise choice of presidential running-mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, still dominating the news, the first reaction among most British readers when perusing the headlines is: "What on earth has happened to dear old Michael?"
So it seems only pertinent to ask whether the former Monty Python star and potentially the second-most powerful person in the free the world are in any way connected.
Michael was out when I called yesterday, but his wife, Helen, was only too happy to put me straight. "For the record, we are not related," she says. "And, to be quite honest with you, we are quite relieved."
Allen flies into a rage
Oh, the peaks and troughs of young love. No sooner had Lily Allen let slip at the GQ Awards ceremony that her younger brother, Alfie, 21, had got engaged to his girlfriend, Jaime Winstone, than the young couple were spotted in the women's loos having what a mole describes as the mother of all barneys.
"Alfie was going berserk. He kept shouting at Jaime that he was being taken for an idiot," said the onlooker.
"Her friends intervened, telling him to drop it, but eventually one of the bouncers came in and escorted him away."
Allen and Winstone's relationship is certainly fiery. At last month's Edinburgh Festival, it was reported that young Winstone, 23, punched her beau in the stomach.
Sir Elton's all right for a fight
Sir Elton John has – perhaps unwisely – picked a fight with The Mail On Sunday's long-serving editor, Peter Wright.
On Tuesday evening, Wright was named the editor of the year at GQ magazine's annual Men of the Year Awards, prompting Sir Elton, who was hosting the event, to make some less than flattering remarks about the newspaper. On top of that, a number of (as yet undentified) celebrities in the audience promptly began to boo Wright as he got up on stage to collect his gong.
Sadly, Wright chose not to respond to his detractors and quietly returned to his seat. And, with Wright being such reasonable sort of chap, I'm sure he won't be keeping these things in mind when they next feature in his mild-mannered newspaper.
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