Rickman fights back against Broadway ban

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Alan Rickman's prospects on Broadway might not be quite as bleak as first thought.

Last month, Pandora reported that the New York Theatre Workshop had cancelled plans to show My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play co-written and directed by Rickman.

In a wordy statement, the Workshop tried to claim that the production, which tells the story of a young American peace activist killed by Israeli tanks in 2003, was cancelled because of "time pressures", blaming Rickman's "filming commitments."

Rickman immediately hit back, claiming that the organisers had got cold feet after being lobbied by local Jewish leaders, and subsequently took the play to the West End.

But at last night's performance of Judi Dench's new play Hay Fever at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Rickman told Pandora he wasn't finished yet.

He's due to fly back to the States and begin a new set of talks about putting the play on.

"I'm going to New York next week to talk about the play being put on again," he said. "I'm in negotiations as we speak. It's a very complex issue and I don't want to go into it too much, but I'm hoping we can sort something out and put the play on, whether it be at the New York Theatre Workshop or another theatre.

"The play has to be shown in America and that's why I'm flying out to New York to change things."

* It takes more than a red-top exposé to dilute the ambitions of Princess Michael of Kent.

Despite her recent troubles, "Pushy" last night nonchalantly faced the media scrum that awaited her at the 40th anniversary bash for Hatchards bookshop in Piccadilly.

After allegations that she spent a recent sojourn in Venice canoodling with a Russian tycoon, her appearance came as something of a surprise to guests who had expected her to give the event a swerve.

Hatchards, understandably, were cock-a-hoop. Earlier yesterday a spokesman had told Pandora: "We're not one hundred per cent sure she's coming, but we are hopeful. I believe she has a book coming out later this year."

A show of defiance perhaps, though one publishing insider reckons otherwise.

"She can't really afford to miss these kind of occasions if a book of hers is about to hit the shelves."

* Such are the depths to which George Galloway has fallen that slinging mud at him has become an international pastime. The Daily Telegraph, the " fake sheikh" and even the US Senate have had all had a go and lived to regret it. Thankfully someone has now made a charge stick.

The Select Committee on Standards and Privileges yesterday upheld a complaint against "Georgeous" made by the local council candidate George Crossey. The charge: Galloway failed to declare his "George Galloway Legal Fund", which helped finance his various (and successful) libel actions, in the Register of Members' Interests.

He's now been given a swift rap on the knuckles and ordered to include the entries on the next published register. Result!

* Conspiracy theories are flying all over Westminster over the revelations of John "Two Shags" Prescott's affair with his diary secretary. One goes that the men in grey suits persuaded the Mirror to hold off on its scoop until Wednesday, thus taking some of the heat off Charles Clarke and the Home Office's woes.

Another concerns the bizarre appearance of an item in Monday's Sun, which claimed that the Hull East lothario was undertaking a gym regime in a bid to succeed Tony Blair.

"Perhaps Prezza's men felt it was their last chance of giving him some respectability before his political career came crashing down," chunters one wag.