Pandora: Off with his head! Frears tackles Blair

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Given the frequency with which he has portrayed him, one might imagine that Stephen Frears, director of those Tony Blair-centric films The Queen and The Deal, would have a rather favourable view of the former prime minister.

Not so. Indeed the film-maker, currently on a promotional tour of Germany, has taken to telling continental interviewers he would rather like to see his sometime muse beheaded.

"The truth is I can't bear him any more," Frears tells one German publication. "Two movies about him, that should be enough. By now the man acts like an emetic on me.

"All the people in Britain wish for at the moment is Tony Blair's head. Nothing else matters. If Gordon Brown would give them Blair's head, he could remain as Prime Minister: just chop it off and put it on a spike. Like in old times."

One suspects Mr Brown may be inclined to agree. At any rate, it looks as though we might have seen the last of Blair on the big screen, at least from Frears.

... and Cherie returns the compliment

With her husband getting it in the neck from Stephen Frears, Cherie Blair has been making her opinions on Frears' work known. "I watched The Queen on a plane," she told an audience at the Edinburgh book festival on Tuesday. "Helen Mirren gives a fantastic performance but a lot of the other characters were caricatures. The Queen Mother was ridiculous. My daughter was very upset, as the actress who played her didn't have red hair, and the actor who plays Tony is kind of small. My Tony is six foot and very well built." Marks out of ten then, Cherie?

Now Esler goes where Marr's barred

Some Curious developments at Jeremy Lee Associates, the glamorous after-dinner speaking agency favoured by moonlighting politicos.

Earlier in the year, Andrew Marr was forced to withdraw his membership following a "kerfuffle" at the Beeb, where "high-profile" employees are encouraged to avoid commercial activities. Not long afterwards, James Naughtie and John Humphrys followed suit. Now, however, I'm told that the Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler has begun touting his services, at the not unreasonable price of £2,500 to £5,000 a pop. Short of cash, Gavin?

Andrew, by any other name...

"Why, when they think someone's posh, do they apply my name?" asks Lord Brocket. Andrew Strauss, the England captain and an alumnus of blue-blooded Radley College, is known by the "Brocket" nickname thanks to his plummy tones. The real Brocket, last seen attempting to compete with Prince Charles in the produce department (he launched "Brocket's bangers" as a populist alternative to Duchy Originals), is bemused. "I don't know what the reason is. I've never met him. He probably thinks it's a bloody insult."

Wanted: some Radcliffe magic

Daniel Radcliffe's endorsement may have left the Liberal Democrats nonplussed (they declined to make use of it for any future campaigns), but it has had a rather more impressive impact on Durham Cricket Club.

The diminutive Harry Potter star confesses to having a minor obsession with the county team, who are now doing their best to make use of it by trying to establish a "relationship" with the actor. Expect to see him gracing the The Riverside's stands soon.