Spinmeisters to the stars... new career beckons for Hamiltons

Strange, then, to report that the former MP and his wife, right, have agreed to handle media enquiries on behalf of Derek Laud, far right, the former Tory lobbyist who featured prominently in the recent series of Big Brother.

According to PR Week, the couple - who have known Laud for many years - are working in partnership with the Soho agency MCS "to advise and promote his interests." They secretly began working with Laud before the TV show started. Although it's an odd move - the Hamiltons have, in recent years, preferred life in the spotlight rather than behind the scenes - they claim to be serious about their new client.

"Derek wants to do serious things, and has been approached by a major TV company to do a programme on the Tory leadership," says Christine. "However, I would be very surprised if Derek stood for parliament."

Splendidly, if it takes off, the couple may queer the pitch of their bête noire, Max Clifford. He recently paid them £100,000 in an out-of-court libel settlement, and may find this new challenge too much to stomach.

* Jonny Lee Miller achieved fame playing the bleach-blond heroin addict Sick Boy in the film Trainspotting, so it's somewhat unnerving to discover that he's a "method" actor.

In order to play the Scottish cycling legend Graeme Obree in his latest flick The Flying Scotsman, Lee Miller, left, has begun a professional cycling regime.

"He cycles for about four hours a day, two in the morning and two in the evening," reports co-star Brian Cox.

"I often see him out of the car window when I'm driving to the set, and cheer him on.

"He's started riding Graeme Obree's bicycle too, which is partly made out of old washing machine parts."

It's quite a challenge, since the film is being shot in the highlands of Scotland, near Aberfoyle.

"That Jonny's a strange lad," adds Cox, who was speaking at the premiere of Richard E Grant's new film Wah Wah.

"No one's making him do it - he just seems to be very enthusiastic."

* Frisky Jamie Theakston hasn't taken long to bounce back after his recent split from his supermodel girlfriend Erin O'Connor.

On Thursday, the radio presenter, right, took a keen interest in a female colleague of Pandora's at the Edinburgh Festival.

"I met him in the Library Bar at the Gilded Balloon as he was being flyered by an actor who performs Dirty Fan Male, a show based on letters to porn stars," says my chum.

"Theakston winked at me and said: 'Oh that sounds right up my street'.

"At the time he was holding my hand - from my handshake three minutes prior - and as soon as I'd extracted it, he went straight for my bottom. I made a swift exit as he whispered: 'I'll miss you'." Naughty!

* I don't know quite where to start with this one, except to say that Mike Read reckons - in all seriousness - that he's being haunted by the ghost of Kenny Everett.

The veteran radio jock (who currently works at Radio London, where Everett cut his own teeth) recently had to sleep in his studio after being locked out of a B&B.

"Everyone here reckons the place is haunted by the ghost of Kenny, and during the night I felt like I was being watched," he tells me.

"I used to live in a big old gothic house and never felt anything like this."

Apopros of the supernatural, Ready adds: "I don't think we are alone - it would be rather arrogant to suppose you are."

* Nick Moran set the cat among the pigeons last week, when he told me that staging Telstar - his first foray into the noble art of playwriting - had been a "nightmare".

At a charity gala premiere of the show, the Britpack actor complained: "The West End stinks... it's a joke. You end up dealing with some of the most crooked people I've ever met."

Now he telephones to distribute humble pie. "I was tired and emotional on the night, and shouldn't have said what I did," he tells me.

"It was totally unfair; the majority of people I've worked with have been tirelessly helpful, and represent one of the oldest and noblest industries in London. It's all very well me trying to be an Angry Young Man, but it wasn't right for me to slag them off like that. Me and my big mouth."

I hope his hardworking colleagues are forgiving.

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