Pandora: Scandal follows Ramsay to America
Friday 16 January 2009
If Gordon Ramsay thought that last year's lurid revelations about his private life could be brushed under the carpet in 2009, he'd better think again.
Sarah Symonds, the so-called "professional mistress" who insists she had a seven-year affair with the tempestuous chef, despite his repeated denials, is touting herself around Hollywood in search of media career.
Symonds, I am told, is due to go on a high-profile chat show hosted by the ex-model Tyra Banks, and has made herself available for interviews to news and media outlets at £5,000 a pop.
Her presence out there could not come at worse time for Ramsay. Not only does he enjoy a burgeoning television career in US, but his latest restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood, opened barely six months ago.
"She is actually a very attractive girl," one LA talent agent tells me about Symonds. 38. "She is only about 5ft 4in, but is far more alluring than the pictures suggest."
Meanwhile, back in the UK, it has emerged that Ramsay has parted company with his long-term publicist, Gary Farrow. Farrow would not comment on the split last night, while Ramsay's company – Gordon Ramsay Holdings – said it would continue to use the catering specialist Sauce Communications for its PR in the UK.
"Gary's services don't come cheap," said one industry expert. "Basically, I think everyone is feeling the pinch a bit at the moment."
Bollywood works its charm on Smith
The British film director Danny Boyle set tongues wagging recently when he told Pandora that Will Smith was keen to make a Bollywood movie. According to Boyle, he bumped into the Hollywood A-lister several times in India when he was filming his latest award-winning hit Slumdog Millionaire.
Happily, it looks as if the project could be a goer. Not only was Smith able confirm his interest in going to Bollywood at Wednesday's premiere of his new thriller, Seven Pounds but, intriguingly, it now appears that Boyle could also be involved.
"Yeah, I have been looking at a few things, so hopefully we will make something happen," Smith told me. "I spoke to Danny a couple of weeks ago, so I suppose we will have to see if anything comes out of it."
Addressing the throng of fans who had gathered in London's Leicester Square to greet him, Smith added jokily: "If you go with me on this artistic journey, I promise I'll make a comedy next."
Rosindell's bulldog bother
The MP Andrew Rosindell is one dog lover who fears for the future of the traditional British bulldog. The shadow Home Affairs minister, who likes to dress his pet, Buster, in a Union Jack while out on the campaign trail, fears that new breeding rules will mean the end of an era for the Churchillian pooch. The Kennel Club has drafted new regulations for 78 species to stop incestuous breeding that can cause the animals ill-health. The bulldog would lose its trademark jowls and wrinkles in favour of a smaller face and leaner body. "I hope it's not going to be wiped off the map," says Rosindell. "It's not as if it's a new breed, it's been around for some time now. Save the British bulldog, I say."
Atkinson's happy that Fagin is full of Beans
Rowan Atkinson is stoical about suggestions that his depiction of Fagin in the new West End production of Oliver! bears more than a passing resemblance to his previous incarnation as Mr Bean. "If people see bits of Mr Bean in my performance then that's OK," he told Pandora. "You often draw on previous experiences and past characters you have played. Besides, they wouldn't be saying that if they'd never seen Mr Bean."
As for the Lionel Bart musical's origins, Atkinson added: "I am a bit of a Dickens fan but I have only read three of his novels."
Labour peer wins an erotic prize
The awards season is upon us again, and two Labour stalwarts were among the prize-winners this week. Lord Faulkner of Worcester and John McDonnell were both honoured in this year's Erotic Awards for their continued support for the rights of sex workers. Their "gongs" – gold and shaped like flying penises – will apparently be winging their way to them in the post shortly. No doubt the pair will be giving them pride of place on their mantelpieces.
Otis catches his Ferry to freedom
Otis Ferry was given bail yesterday after spending four months on remand for assault, robbery and perverting justice after he allegedly "nobbled" witnesses. A judge adjourned his trial until the summer and told Ferry to stay out of his home county, Shropshire, and report to police twice a week. Ferry said: "The thing I was looking forward to most was seeing my hounds again but unfortunately that can't be."
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