The once ubiquitous sight of Stephen Fry presenting an arts gong may need to be added to the endangered list. The actor was tonight supposed to reprise his gentle Bafta repartee (relinquished to Jonathan Ross) at the South Bank Show Awards, having agreed to hand over a lifetime achievement bauble to Harry Potter ink-slinger Joanne Rowling.
The dinner jacket and bow tie had been dry-cleaned, and a cushioned chair next to Kevin Spacey and Lord Bragg dusted. But Fry, on location in the Amazonian settlement of Tefe to oversee the release of a rare Manatee for a BBC wildlife documentary, slipped and fell awkwardly. The old cow (Fry) broke his arm. He's recuperating and unable to grip JK's trophy, so has withdrawn from festivities. Robbie Coltrane is rumoured to be standing in, with the jokes at Stephen's expense.
Revolt at the 'Ten O'Clock' over plans to de-clutter Huw
BBC executives hardly had time to uncork the champagne bottles and toast their ratings trouncing of Sir Trevor and the returning ITV News at Ten before their bubbles went a little flat.
There are serious jitters in White City over the future success of their own Ten O'Clock News bulletin with Huw Edwards, because of plans for a radical make-over, ahead of a relaunch pencilled in for 31 March.
Bosses at the Beeb have hired the design guru Martin Lambie-Nairn to mastermind the overhaul, despite his involvement in a 1999 shake-up that was less than universally acclaimed. Having in the past championed the idea of a "beige wall" behind the newsreader, Mr Lambie-Nairn this time advocates a white-washed look to "de-clutter" the studio for distracted viewers (presumably allowing them to better concentrate on Huw).
Television Centre lackeys are "extremely unconvinced" about the wisdom of the expensive redraw, many of them owning memories long enough to recall similar previous "management brainwaves". Beeb news staff have been impressed by ITV's retina-popping use of Big Ben graphical wizardry to herald the Second Coming of Sir Trev and The Bongs.
Of greater concern, the Ten O'Clock News will, in a cost-cutting measure, share Studio N6 with the rolling news channel BBC News 24, leaving engineers, editors, producers and Huw little more than 10 minutes to set up before going on air.
"There will be bodies in the editing suites," murmurs the mole, disturbingly.
Wash your hands, Russell Brand
Eurgh. Just what, swollen bladder aside, would persuade the comic and Radio 2 DJ Russell Brand to stand in the middle of a recording studio and – while broadcasting his Saturday night show – urinate into a paper cup, to the horror of gathered studio colleagues?
"Brand was pre-recording his show," says Pandora's source, "when he whipped out his Johnson and took a whaz into this beaker.
"A technician got mad and ranted that Brand had to stop: 'I don't want my equipment damaged, and I don't want to see your penis'."
The source claims that Brand hurled a CD at the studio worker, in a "vicious frisbee-style".
After admitting that Brand's show is "occasionally" pre-recorded, a spokeswoman for Radio 2 says Brand had actually thrown pistachio nuts at a window.
"Russell did urinate in a cup in the studio," she added, "and someone has shown him where the toilet is."
Win Lily's theatre tickets
The last word on the sagging gusset of Jeremy Paxman's pants was the sale, on Friday, of a pair of his white boxer shorts (large, made in Turkey) to the Crimewatch presenter Kirsty Young, for a buttock-loosening £1,400.
The most glamorous team at the charity Ultimate News Quiz was Princess Productions, representatives of whom included Jemima Khan and Lily Allen. No offence Jezza, but of more appeal on the cloakroom wall, one suspects, than his ragged nether-warmers are two tickets to the West End musical Blood Brothers, given to Pandora in a gold envelope – and signed – by Lily Allen, bless. Readers have until noon next Monday, 4 February, to bid for the pair, which come with a bottle of champagne (unmarked). All proceeds to The Independent's Christmas Appeal. Please offer generously. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Jollity for Labour's overworked public relations ants, whose weekend was brightened by the leaking of the Tories' direct-email address to reach political journalists. Cue "press releases" from Central Office announcing, among other things, that "Cameron fucks swans" and "I would like to draw your attention to my arse" – alongside an advert for chicken yoghurt.
Alastair Campbell may once have been terrifying. The spin doctor gave last night's annual Hugh Cudlipp Lecture – but seems to have been worried about talking to empty chairs. In a leaked email, he asks organisers repeatedly: "What sort of numbers are we talking about?" and "Do you need any help in getting bums on seats?"Reuse content