'The Sun' seeking its own Warsaw Pact with plumbers

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The Independent Online

What with the gradual disappearance of Britain's tradishnul white working classes, to be replaced by something more diverse, any good red-top editor would be thinking about how to attract readers of the future.

Now The Sun has come up with a plan that shows just how far it has travelled since its "Up Yours, Delors", anti-European heyday. It is preparing an edition entirely in Polish.

True to its xenophobic roots, the paper was initially sceptical about the influx of young migrants from eastern Europe into the UK over the past couple of years. One article was memorably headlined: "Polish builders nicked my flat".

But since then, coverage has softened. Now a source at the newspaper's publisher, News International, tells me that tentative plans are being formulated to produce the one-off, Polish-language version of the paper, for which Polish journalists have been approached.

Says my fly in a ventilation shaft at Murdoch's Wapping fortress: "The Sun plans an edition in Polish for the workers who have come here. They want more young readers. The idea is tits and bumskis for the Polish plumbers."

The paper has recently adopted a notably more sympathetic line to migration from eastern Europe, which may be entirely unrelated to their economic potential as readers of The Sun. Or not.

Polish people's problems adapting to British society have been kindly covered, and there has been a series of case studies telling readers: "The Polish are such hard-working people that Britain wouldn't be the same without them." Kerching!

A spokeswoman at The Sun responded last night: "Oh crikey, umm, I will need to look into that," before telephone contact was discontinued.

What would dear old Kelvin MacKenzie say?

Exclusive: Gambon outs himself as wind-up artist

The irony of JK Rowling's dramatic "outing" of Albus Dumbledore has not escaped colleagues of the actor Sir Michael Gambon, who plays the sage Harry Potter wizard. Rowling told a shocked audience at New York's Carnegie Hall at the weekend: "Dumbledore is gay," explaining that he was tragically smitten with the bad rival wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Applause broke out. Rowling: "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy."

It is, perhaps, a case of art imitating life. Gambon delights in winding up young journalists by telling fibs about his life, one of his favourites being to claim falsely that he had a "gay phase" earlier in his life, and walk off cackling as the eager scribe scribbles down this "exclusive".

After once playing Oscar Wilde on stage, he told an interviewer: "I found that [playing a gay man] very easy, because I used to be a homosexual. But I was forced to give it up because it made my eyes water."

Daly slap for Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber has received a cold wet slap across the jowls from one of his former, noisily lauded protégées, the ambrosial Irish singer Shonagh Daly.

Launched in the Lord's 2000 collaboration with Ben Elton, The Beautiful Game, she gave solo recitals to the Queen and George Bush, signed a £2m record deal, and was dubbed "the new Sarah Brightman". Alas, poor Shonagh. Dropped by her label, she has not followed Brightman's footsteps to West End stardom (or to the Lloyd Webber marital bed), and went to work in a clothes shop for £200 a week, although she is now a member of the ensemble in Dirty Dancing.

While grateful to Andy, she lays into his television talent shows (Maria, Joseph): "They make a mockery of what we've trained to do," she says. "If all lead roles in musicals are offered on TV, there won't be any leads available to us any more."

Monkey flip

Last week, the Arctic Monkey Alex Turner was spotted some way from his wide boy Sheffield "roots", walking the aisles of autumn rosehip cordial and unrefined Styrian toasted pumpkin seed oil in an east London deli called The Grocery, with his new lady, Alexa Chung, the T4 presenter.

This week, he has returned to shopping in Tesco on Commercial Street – or at the very least hanging around there. Alex, one doth protest too much!

* There was plenty of claret spluttering from the literati when Jeremy Clarkson came fourth in a recent poll to find Britain's greatest wit. The bumptious telly presenter claimed to know nothing about it when asked at the launch of restaurant critic AA Gill's book Table Talk, before showing a distinct lack of humour for having been approached. The old dear.

Levy's fishy business

Lord Levy is looking very chipper about town, despite the Public Administration Committee sitting down yesterday to chew over Scotland Yard's "cash for honours" investigation, which came to nothing.

Levy will not be called to talk about his arrests. And on Monday night he could be found in high spirits in the Covent Garden fish restaurant J Sheekey, with Sir Alan Sugar, and their respective wives. The Amstrad boss, remember, took to the BBC's airwaves in March to defend his good friend Levy: "This is not a man who has lined his own pockets. This is a man who has blind devotion – I don't know why – to Tony Blair." Both gentlemen declined to say what the special occasion was, or who picked up the bill, but an eyewitness reassures me: "They were having a great time." Bottoms up!

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