Move over to the slow lane, Margaret Beckett: British caravanning has a new pin-up. Rupert Penry-Jones, heart-throb of the flighty spy drama Spooks, has just come out of the (uselessly small, MDF) closet as a paid-up member of the Caravan Club.
Penry-Jones, 37, the former squeeze of Kylie Minogue who gets stressed about naked scenes, was guest of honour yesterday at the National Boat, Caravan and Outdoors Show in Birmingham.
"Rupert is a genuine fan of caravanning," says a spokesman. "He was eyeing up a few motor homes. He is thinking of taking his family on holiday in one." I'm sure his two young children and elastic yoga-lovin g wife Dervla Kirwan, of Ballykissangel, cannot wait.
A day with Pete? £30,000, not including the fruit and flowers
Fancy an album of photographs of Pete Doherty standing about in just his jeans? No, thought not. Should the urge strike you, though, the price is £30,000.
A budget clothes website has leaked details of its discussions with the singer's management after becoming disillusioned with his demands. The website owner says that, after reading of a report suggesting that Doherty had financial troubles, "I thought that Pete could do with a day's work for what would have been very good money by anyone's standards. Who does the bloke think he is? Claudia Schiffer?"
The peculiar musician who, even by rock's values, has a diseased relationship with narcotics, was offered £5,000, which could have risen to £10,000 for the one-off shoot.
Doherty's overly-occupied manager, Adrian Hunter, replied: "I think you are batting below the mark – substantially below the mark. The fee on this before any consideration would be a bare minimum of £30,000 before we even begin to discuss anything."
Lastseason.com protested that this was too much, but Doherty's warden insisted: "The absolute minimum is as stated."
Hunter tells Pandora: "Peter would never have done this anyway and a common way of deterring annoyingly persistent PRs is to ask for a fee you know they'll never come up with. I am sure you know how upset that makes me feel."
Hunter also described Boris Johnson, the Tory candidate for London Mayor, as "dim" for questioning Doherty's musical genius.
Ben's siren warning for the Hervey girls
Hats off to Ben Westwood, the son of the designer and national treasure Dame Vivienne.
Ben, a photographer of erotica who makes his money in Japan by tying up businessmen's naked wives and snapping bondage-style pics of them for the bathroom wall, has set his heart on a second shoot with the model Lady Victoria Hervey, 31.
The two worked together five years ago on a coffee-table tome of British "sirens" in various states of undress – I tenderly reproduce the eccentric fruit of that labour for you on the left – and Victoria has expressed an interest in another collaboration.
Ben replied that he would be only too happy, with the proviso that Hervey "get her kit off" (charming) and be joined in the birthday suit shoot by her little sister, Lady Isabella, 25.
Agreement has yet to be reached. Any images will be "erotically artistic, not crudely titillating".
Griff seeking palace secrets
Griff Rhys Jones has joined the queue of inquisitors trying to shine a torch beam over goings-on in Westminster. The comedian traipsed through the Commons Lobby yesterday with an eight-man film crew caravan behind.
Rhys Jones is apparently making a documentary about the hidden crannies of the Palace of Westminster. He was due to pay a visit to the lobby correspondents' holy of holies, the Lobby Room, a secreted turret on the east wing of the House overlooking the Thames, which only opened its doors to cameras for the first time in 2000.
Hacks lament that Rhys Jones could not visit the old Annie's Bar – known as "the Parnell Room" because it was where the Irish radical is said to have had it off with Kitty O'Shea. Alas, it has mutated into a souvenir shop.
Earn a crust
Intriguing to see Robin Birley, son of late Annabel's owner Mark, showing suits around his eponymous beef-sandwich deli in Canary Wharf. Birley, 51, was cut out of his father's £120m will after hiring a detective to investigate the daddy of his sister's child. A spokesman denies Birley plans to sell his shareholding in the sarnie chain, saying it was merely an "executive tasting".
* Barack Obama has never heard of William Rees-Mogg, but the superstitious among us realise the Times columnist has wounded the senator's hopes for the White House. "Mystic Mogg" is to crystal-ball gazing what David Koresh was to Waco community relations. His prediction? "It is hard to see who can stop Senator Obama... a John Kennedy for our times..."Reuse content