Andy McSmith's Diary: It wasn’t ‘just like that’ in Tommy Cooper’s day


As MPs gathered after the half-term break, you could hear the question whizzing around the building: “Do you know who they are?” The reference was to a mystery story festooned across the front of the Mail on Sunday about an extramarital affair between two unnamed famous people.

This sort of flutter must be very annoying for people who follow current affairs closely enough to know that there is a big secret doing the rounds but are not well enough plugged in to know what it is. It also caused people to begin naming the couple on the internet – wrongly in most cases. But these situations are inevitable when judge-made privacy law is applied to newspapers like the now defunct News of the World, which thrive on revealing who has been rumpy-pumpying with whom.

It was all so much simpler in Tommy Cooper’s day. The old comic had an extramarital affair that lasted 17 years, without needing a court injunction to protect him, because there were no mobile phones or emails for the Murdoch press to hack. It was announced last week that he is to be the subject of an ITV biopic, with Shameless star David Threlfall in the title role.

With a private  secretary like her...

There is expected to be trouble in the Labour Party over the announcement from Ed Balls yesterday that he is abandoning its iron-clad commitment to universal benefits by ending winter fuel allowance for wealthy pensioners. The Labour MP Barbara Keeley, for example, told the BBC’s Westminster Hour on the eve of the announcement: “I’m really quite committed to universal benefits. I even did a sponsored run to raise money for them.”

Ed Balls will need someone working hard to smooth relations with backbench Labour MPs. That task would usually be done by his parliamentary private secretary –  Barbara Keeley.

Charles stakes more claims in Transylvania

Prince Charles has just bought his fourth property in Romania, according to the country’s President, Traian Basescu, who met him in Bucharest yesterday.

The President joked that the Prince will soon have accumulated a whole village. His fascination with that country may derive from a blood link to the bloodthirsty 15th-century Transylvanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler, the reputed model for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Appearing in a documentary in 2011, Charles remarked: “The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country.”

Dorries worries about her latest setback

Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP, lost the whip last year over her appearance on I’m a Celebrity..., then regained it, and is now losing something that means much more to her – her hair.

Seeing a glimpse of the back of her head on television, she was terrified to see that she is thinning out, a problem often associated with stress, though she claims that she has just had the “best” year of her life.

“The worst part is every morning you wake up and you look in the mirror – that actually does make you cry every morning,” Ms Dorries, below, told ITV’s Daybreak.

“Everything’s against you and you’re losing your femininity. You’re losing your confidence and you’re losing your ability to go out and actually face the world because you think what identifies a woman are her hair and her breasts.

“Women who suffer from mastectomies, I think, go through the same confidence-draining loss because what defines you as a woman is disappearing.” I doubt that Angelina Jolie would agree.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor