Resume the rumpy-pumpy: 'The Erotic Review' is back

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To the palpable delight of lecherous old colonels across the land, The Erotic Review will reappear on news-agents' shelves in January.

The magazine, which began life as a newsletter in 1995, is to be relaunched in the New Year by its founding publisher Jamie Maclean at the Erotic Print Society.

The Review, once urbane and unashamed about "gratuitous sex: sex for its own pleasurable sake", disappeared after it was sold by owner Felix Dennis to Penthouse in 2004. With it went the rude line drawings, cartoon strips and fruity fantasies, the bottoms, breasts, paddles and partner swapping that marked its heyday under the editorship of Rowan Pelling, above. Then, contributors included Auberon Waugh and DBC Pierre. Maclean has joked that Pelling "flashed her cleavage and got people to write for nothing", which is not quite true or fair.

Pelling won't be involved in the relaunch. She remains busy completing her memoir on her time at the the Review, which should be some read. The book has already been optioned by the Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz.

"I won't be involved, it's very much Jamie's baby now, but I've told him I might write something for them at some stage," Pelling tells me. "I'm extremely pleased it's back with the right publisher, as they were the best owners."

Maclean is anxious to take the title upmarket again: " I would like to return it to being something quite special, before it got sold to the top-shelf boys and got lost."

Thandie flushed with toilet humour success

After studying archaeology at Cambridge, Thandie Newton made her name (and won a Bafta for Crash) for serious roles. That has changed with her latest project, the east London feelgood flick Run Fat Boy Run, which has a plot ropey enough to tie director David Schwimmer to his chair.

The Zambian actress, 34, gave the mischievous comic a sharp dose of his own medicine on set.

"One day," Newton tells me at the premiere, "I covered Simon's loo in Cellophane, and squashed up a Mars bar and left it in the bowl.

"Then I stole a pair of his pants and smeared them in Marmite so it looked like a giant skid mark and left them on the floor of his trailer."

And she looks like such a nice girl.

One trick found favour: at a press conference, Newton replaced the contents of Pegg's water bottle with vodka. That's Pegg's excuse, anyway.

Barney in Barnet over Amy

What do they say about butterflies and tornadoes? The Amy Winehouse implosion reverberates as far north as Barnet, shaking the showbiz Ashby household.

Daughter Juliette Ashby, 23, is a songwriter and appears in the red-tops as a friend of Amy, concerned by her drugs binges with husband Blake Fielder-Civil. Author big sis Jessica Ashby, 26, was asked to write an exposé biography of Winehouse but nobly turned down the offer on the grounds that it would classify her as a Grade-A shit.

No such compunction for dad Jonathan Ashby, founder of the WENN celebrity news service. He has agreed to dish the dirt. "My daughters accuse me of cashing in on their best friend," Ashby tells me. "It has kicked off. They have grown up to share the view that journalists are not to be trusted, including their dad, which is sad." He claims to know all. More details in Pandora tomorrow.


Jailers and Tube workers are striking over financial insecurities, and nurses are considering walking out of hospitals and surgeries. Reassuring, then, to hear that our public purse strings are not pulled shut. Not for our lawmakers, anyway.

Spotted in a lift in Portcullis House, MPs' blissful, £250m office block-cum-oasis across the road from Parliament: a maintenance man struggling with a trolley load of carpet tiles.

"Doing out some MP's office," he mumbled. "Don't worry, yours will get done soon too, they are totally re-carpeting the whole building. Must cost a fortune."

It's all relative, Jim. Can't be as expensive as the trickling pools of water, the £150,000 rented fig trees or the cleaning bill for the atrium glass roof.

Ancram on a string and a prayer

Michael Ancram's decision to foul David Cameron's doorstep yesterday (he accused Dave of "trashing the party's Thatcherite past") will see the Devizes MP excommunicated. But although the blue rinses agree with him and won't string him up from the nearest lamp post, I worry that the entertainment at next month's Tory conference will suffer. For the past 15 years, there has come a moment in every good right-wing shindig when Ancram jumps on stage and furiously strums folk numbers on his 12-string Martin guitar for the baying mob. Bat out of hell! Yeh!

A solo from Parliament's very own Bob Dylan will, this year, be most unwelcome in Blackpool's Winter Gardens. Perhaps delegates can console themselves by accommodating Ancram's captivating daughters in the hotel bar.