Pandora: Protest set to greet 'Top Gear' event

As if the BBC didn't have enough on its plate with the Russell Brand-Jonathan Ross fiasco, it faces a new wave of criticism directed at another of the crown jewels in its schedule.

Today sees the launch of the MPH Motor Show at London's Earls Court, which is being held in association with BBC2's Top Gear and features appearances by the show's presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.

Eyebrows have been raised, however, since the show is staged by Clarion Events, a British exhibition organiser with close links to the arms trade. Earlier this year, Clarion bought the DSEi, ITEC and LAAD defence trade shows, some of the biggest events in the UK's arms trade calendar. Clarion already caused disquiet at Earls Court earlier this month when it hosted the Baby Show. The United Nations Children's Fund stopped accepting donations from ticket sales from the event when told of the organiser's association with arms fairs.

No one from Clarion was available to comment last night, but anti-arms groups said they planned a protest during the four-day car exhibition.

Meanwhile, the BBC insisted its participation would still go ahead. "We believe the MPH show is the best place for UK motoring fans to experience the exciting Top Gear Live theatre show first," said a spokesman for BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commerical arm.

Ljungberg eyes up Hollywood

When David Beckham upped sticks to California last year to play for shoddy old LA Galaxy, he modestly dismissed any ambitions of becoming a movie star.

Despite frequent public appearances with Tom Cruise and his "child" bride Katie Holmes, Beckham claimed he was much happier concentrating on his football.

However, former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg isn't quite so bashful. The chiselled Swede (and former Calvin Klein pants model) has just signed for another US side, the Seattle Sounders, who have the added advantage of being co-owned by Hollywood movie mogul Joe Roth.

"I have been thinking about coming here for the past three months, ever since I first spoke to Joe Roth," Ljungberg, 31, tells me from his new home. "So it may well be that I want to get into exploring other business opportunities. Like they say, it's a land of opportunity here."

Nice move to pick Rhys, says Howard

Rhys Ifans has finally confirmed that he will play his fellow Welsh scruffpot, Howard Marks, in an adaptation of the former dope smuggler's best-selling autobiography, Mr Nice.

The film, which has been mooted for the big screen for the past few years, will begin shooting in the new year and released in the latter half of 2009. Speaking to Pandora yesterday, Marks said he was delighted with the news.

"It's great because I have known Rhys as a friend for quite a while now ," he told me. "We met in the 1990s at a Super Furry Animals gig. I didn't have a clue who he was at the time but he wanted my autograph.

"He brought over all these cigarette papers and asked me to sign them. I signed one of them but, for some reason, he wanted the whole lot done.

"Anyway, we became friends after that and I made a promise he could play me if there was an adaptation made.

"I thought I was doing him a really big favour but since then he has become so famous it's like he's doing me one."

Despite their age gap, Ifans, 40, has much in common with the 63-year-old Marks. Not only are they both fiercely proud Welshmen with a fondness for leading hedonistic lifestyles but – to the dismay of critics everywhere – they are also both regarded in some quarters as sex symbols.

Bond's dress sense fails to impress

James Bond is facing a backlash from his former friends on Savile Row. The celebrity tailor Tony Lutwyche, now based in London's Soho, has attacked the makers of the new 007 film, Quantum Of Solace, for opting to have Daniel Craig's threads made by the US designer Tom Ford.

He says: "Bond is lauded the world over as the quintessential Englishman. At a time when we should be promoting home-grown business and all that is good about this country, it is a slap in the face that James Bond of all people should turn his back on English tailoring talent. He'll be drinking Jack Daniels next."

Marshall's a man of easy virtue

The English actor Kris Marshall, best known for his role in the bafflingly enduring sitcom My Family, showed up at Tuesday night's premiere of his new film, Easy Virtue, arm in arm with his girlfriend Kelly Eastwood, who was supposed to be celebrating her birthday. "I don't think she minds," he said breezily. "I took her off to the Tower of London last week, so I think she's happy."

Marshall, 35, who recently finished a run in the West End production of Fat Pig, claimed he had yet to go and see its new cast. "If I go, it'll be with the rest of the cast. The 'A' team we like to call ourselves."

BBC offers a timely lesson in manners

In the wake of the Russell Brand-Jonathan Ross affair, a topical note has landed on the desks of MPs this week from the office of the BBC's Head of Revenue Management. A large section of the note addresses that all-important question: how we deal with the public. "Be courteous," it reads. "Answer all communications quickly and politely, always aiming to get it right first time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn