Paxo's e-mail broadside hits the wrong target

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A year ago, Jeremy Paxman hit "send" on an e-mail accusing Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, of being "clearly insane" for having once sunk his teeth into a newsroom colleague.

Now Paxo's described another senior colleague in unflattering terms. This time, his victim is the mild-mannered newscaster, Martyn Lewis.

In an email to organisers of a Q&A session at Coventry University last week, Paxman asked them to give Lewis "a good kicking".

Remember, he wrote: "This is a man whose total contribution to the theory and practice of fearless journalism has been 'Cats in the News' and 'Dogs in the News'."

The comment refers to an episode in the 1990s, when Lewis launched - to a degree of ridicule - a campaign for more "good news" on television.

However, Paxman's e-mail astonished the sages at Coventry, since they'd actually asked him to contribute to a Q&A session with one Martin Young.

Young is a former Newsnight hack who now runs a firm called Chevron, teaching business leaders how to cope with tricky TV interviews.

"Martin Young very kindly agreed to give a talk to Media Studies students," says an organiser. "We decided to call it 'Combat Paxman,' so e-mailed the man himself to ask what he thought."

"To our astonishment, Jeremy sent back a stream of invective about Martyn Lewis. We're all big fans, but it's a total howler."

Heather taxis back on to the runway

However many millions Heather Mills-McCartney trousers, she won't be abandoning her Protestant work ethic. With refreshing pluck, Mrs Macca intends to push ahead with plans to resume her modelling career. The agency, Zone, with whom Mills signed before the breakdown of her marriage, has been informed that she intends to return to the catwalk later this summer.

"Heather is still with Zone," they tell me. "Both parties intend that this remains such, although she will not be doing any work for a few weeks."

Mills is currently taking a break from media commitments, and has cancelled interviews relating to the launch of her new self-help book.

Her return to the front line is likely to be stage-managed to emphasise her voluntary work. Zone's PR bumf describes its star as: "Charity champion and animal rights activist Heather Mills-McCartney."

Signs of distraction

Maureen Lipman has accused Channel Four of betraying the memory of her late husband, Jack Rosenthal.

The formidable actress is upset by a decision to broadcast Rosenthal's film P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang last week with signing for the deaf, rather than subtitles.

"It was absolutely terrible," Lipman, right, tells the Jewish Chronicle. "You couldn't see the film properly because of this woman looming over the whole thing. I had to turn it off because it was impossible to watch."

"I don't want to be deaf-ist, but I thought it was extremely patronising. Channel 4 seems to assume that deaf people can't read subtitles."

Mark for Mayor?

Mark Oaten's burgeoning media career has led to speculation that he's planning one of the biggest comebacks since Lazarus. Lib Dem colleagues reckon the "fallen" MP - as protocol requires him to be described - is preparing for a tilt at Ken Livingstone's job.

"Even if his local party reselect him, Oaten's seat is pretty marginal, and he's got an uphill struggle to keep it at the next election," says one.

"We need a candidate for Mayor of London, and in a funny way, the rent-boy scandal has raised his profile enough to give him a chance."

Maybe it has. But Oaten has yet to put his weight behind any such move. "Mark isn't going to stand for Mayor, ever," says his office. "Regardless of career moves, it's a categorical no."

We shall see.

All the street-cred of a Hobbit

News of a setback to Orlando Bloom's standing in the list of 21st-century style icons. On Thursday, the Hollywood wunderkind met the Irish music promoter Vince Power at the Pigalle club in Piccadilly.

"They were talking summer festivals," reports a witness. "Bloom rather sheepishly admitted that his knowledge of the 'scene' isn't what it ought to be, but said he'd love to go to Glastonbury."

Power had to remind him politely that Glastonbury isn't happening this year. He suggested Bloom went to some festivals in Spain instead.

"Orlando looks like he's crawled out of a hedge backwards, but he's no music expert," adds my source. "And since Vince has sold all his shares in festivals, he didn't even blag any freebies."