Pandora: Norfolk broadside... Coogan heads for narked Norwich

A-ha! For the first time since being condemned by Norfolk's civic leaders for presenting their denizens as inbreeding berks, comic star Steve Coogan is to return to the city to perform.

Despite his considerable work in Hollywood, Coogan's most famous creation remains the sour and socially inept Radio Norwich disc jockey Alan Partridge, sole occupant of the Linton Travel Tavern, who started life on BBC radio.

In 2002 councillors turned on Coogan for portraying Norwich as "a backwater populated by yokels", and its businessmen as degenerates. They blamed him for costing Norwich a shot at becoming the 2008 European City of Culture (eventually awarded to Liverpool). He declined a kind offer to go to the Nar-Ouse Regeneration Area. "They are idiots with no sense of humour," he said.

Coogan, 42, announced a week ago that he was to revive the Partridge persona as part of a national stand-up tour, his first in a decade. He will play three nights at Norwich's Theatre Royal near the end of October.

The priapic artist should not hope for screaming comedy groupies. It is probably too much, though, to expect life to imitate the I'm Alan Partridge episode in which the DJ provokes the hatred of Norfolk farmers (incestuous "farmyard animals"), who subsequently crush him with a dead cow that's dropped from a bridge as he films an advertisement for barge holidays.

Ex-veggie Grant now a farmer's best friend

Richard E Grant has changed his lines when it comes to sourcing food. The actor starred in Posh Nosh, a 2003 spoof cooking series skewering the banality of television chefs. The running joke was the absurdity of ingredients. Organic food was roasted, Grant's character insisting: "We only pick the happy hens, they don't have those awful Cliff Richard necks."

REG – who sniffs all food before eating it, a habit resulting from too many whiffy fish meals in Swaziland as a child – gave up meat for a decade, worried he'd get BSE. But he last year forsook vegetarianism and has started campaigning for the farmers' lobby.

"It comes down to a basic thing," Grant explains to Pandora. "If you eat rubbish you have a rubbish life and die early. It is affordable and possible to for ordinary people to eat organic. People just have an unrealistic expectation of what they eat and when they should be able to eat it."

Sam's not so well marked

Oh, rosy glowing cockles: Sir Richard Branson and family friend Natalie Imbruglia held a Venetian masked ball on Friday in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier to raise crucial funds for the charity End Fistula. Almost as stimulating to the ventricles is the burgeoning friendship between Nat and Sir Rich's son, Sam, recently back from exploring the Arctic. Imbruglia, 33, and airline heir Branson Jnr, 22, have allegedly been seen "canoodling".

Their twosome is nothing new. A friend says that a few years back, they necked on Necker, pater's private Caribbean island, when Nat came to visit. "Sam was not so acquainted with the gentler sex then, and he and Natalie emerged late for a boat outing one morning. Sam had a swagger. He looked more of a man than the previous day."

Culture club

China may be feeling the heat of international opinion over Tibet, but its cultural relations with the UK remain healthy. With the Terracotta Army's visit to the British Museum nearly over, the museum's director, Neil MacGregor, has been busy working on a reciprocal arrangement. In his government-bestowed capacity as Britain's "Chairman of World Collections", he's been in Shanghai to announce the loan of sculptures to the city for a big show in 2010.

A female friend of Nicky Clarke's son recently went round for dinner at the coiffeur's St John's Wood home. Nicky told the young woman that she was not going to leave looking like that, whipped out a pair of scissors and reshaped her "lank locks" into a layered bob. No mixing bowl in sight.

Poise must be poise

Even for those of us as prone to crotchety moments as Paul Theroux, traversing the globe is enjoyable for the people you meet. Theroux Snr found this particularly so on a recent trip to Thailand, where he was interviewed by the Bangkok Post's Camilla Russell, 26. Known as "flirty pants" on account of her micro shorts, the calf-flashing Camilla cooed over Paul's tattoos and wrote of his "legendary persona". She told friends that Paul has since emailed her, gushing that she is a woman of "poise, intelligence and beauty". Adds Camilla: "He said that if he was younger he would like to have me as a travel companion." Theroux is 67 next month and still as fruity as a banana! Good boy.

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 Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'