The complete history of the Love Rat

Rod Liddle's extra-marital antics have kept the public entertained of late, but has he really taken brazen philandering to its limits? Adrian Turpin trawls the sewers to bring you the tales of other cheating rodents
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The story so far, for those who have been a long, long way away. The former editor of the Radio 4 Today programme has been caught having an affair with 22-year-old Alicia Monckton, previously a receptionist at The Spectator magazine - this despite marrying his girlfriend of 11 years, the television presenter Rachel Royce, earlier this year. The subsequent spat has been conducted largely through the press, although Royce did also buy 10 bags of manure and send them to The Spectator's

Rod Liddle

Rat sheet: The story so far, for those who have been a long, long way away. The former editor of the Radio 4 Today programme has been caught having an affair with 22-year-old Alicia Monckton, previously a receptionist at The Spectator magazine - this despite marrying his girlfriend of 11 years, the television presenter Rachel Royce, earlier this year. The subsequent spat has been conducted largely through the press, although Royce did also buy 10 bags of manure and send them to The Spectator's offices.

Rat chic: Not according to Royce. "Frankly it's only because he's bloody famous that a 22-year-old girl is going out with him anyway."

Sewer depths: Cutting short his honeymoon claiming work pressure. Monckton met him at the airport.

Rat trap: Royce reportedly found a half-used packet of Viagra in his pocket. He claimed it was story research.

Gnawing doubt: How can there be any? He even looks a little ratty.

Rodent rating: 4 rats.

Angus Deayton

Rat sheet: His fling with a prostitute, Caroline Martin, in 2002 was followed by revelations that the Have I Got News for You presenter had been playing away with an American scriptwriter, Stacey Herbert. Visits to prostitutes helped end his relationship with the singer, Stephanie de Sykes in 1994.

Rat chic: "He knew exactly how to get a woman into bed," Martin said. "He had his act honed to perfection". Yes, but could he do it without an autocue?

Sewer depths: Having sex with Herbert at a rented holiday villa while his partner, Lise Mayer, slept by the pool.

Rat trap: Martin's previous liaisons suggest she was no stranger to the ways of the red-tops. Her encounter with Deayton was allegedly filmed.

Gnawing doubt: Meyer's decision to stay with him and try for another child must show he's changed - mustn't it?

Rodent rating: 4 rats

Steven Norris

Rat sheet: "Let's be honest," declared the website before this year's elections. "He may have been a [Tory] transport minister. He may have business experience, and masses of political experience. But do we care about that? No. We want to hear about his five mistresses! How does he do it? What's his secret? Can he give us any tips?" Remarkably, Norris's five affairs were simultaneous. As one wag joked, at least it shows he has organisational skills.

Rat chic: How many politicians do you know who went to school with the Beatles?

Sewer depths: Announcing he would marry mistress No 4, Emma Courtney, before getting divorced from Vicky, his wife of 30 years. Oh, and he used to be a used car salesman.

Rat trap: Not really. Norris managed to hang on to his job at the Transport ministry in the 1990s - despite the fact that the Conservative government was in the middle of its moralistic back-to-basics campaign.

Gnawing doubt: Kept his promise to marry Courtney, leaving the rest of us to wonder whether the Shagger has lost his Casanova touch.

Rodent rating: 3 and a half rats.

Bill Clinton

Rat sheet: Gennifer, Paula, Monica ... Is it the Arsenal women's football team sheet or the list of Bill's lovers?

Rat chic: Cigar anyone?

Sewer depths: Believing that we'd believe it when he said: "I did not have sex with that woman."

Rat trap: Who needs Rentokil when you've got Kenneth Starr?

Gnawing doubt: Hillary says his philandering is "a weakness caused by psychological abuse when he was a small child." And we thought he was just a cad.

Rodent rating: 4 rats

Sebastian Coe

Rat sheet: More love hamster than love rat to look at. The former Olympic gold medallist's 10-year affair with Vanessa Lander was revealed in May. "Sebastian certainly lived up to his Olympic reputation in the bedroom," the blonde designer gushed.

Rat chic: Could William Hague's former judo partner be anything but?

Sewer depths: After an alleged affair with his business manager put paid to his marriage, he moved on to married Carole Arnett. He cheated on her with Lander, too.

Rat trap: A classic kiss and tell. "Sometimes I wanted to shout and tell everyone - this is my trophy boyfriend," Lander confessed. Clearly the temptation got too much.

Gnawing doubt: The scrutiny he will receive as head of London's Olympic bid may deter rattish tendencies.

Rodent rating: 2 rats

Will Carling

Rat sheet: the former England rugby union captain's taste for identikit blondes is legendary. He left his first wife, the TV presenter Julia Carling, amid rumours about his relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales, before taking up with Ali Cockayne.

A palace rat, then? Carling has always refused to talk about Diana, while talking about her quite a lot. "I'm actually very, very shy, and I can't conceive how you would say, 'What about it?' to a princess".

Sewer depths: Shyness didn't prevent him walking out on Cockayne and his baby son and take up with the wife of a former team-mate.

Gnawing doubt: Carling had therapy to come to terms with his love rat image.

Rodent rating: 4 rats.

James Gooding

Rat sheet: During the Colchester-born male model's turbulent three-year relationship with Kylie Minogue, he also slept with the models Sophie Dahl and Rosemary Ferguson, as well as the Hollyoaks star Davinia Taylor. (You can take the boy out of Essex but ... ) When they finally split, he sold the story of the relationship to the News of the World, describing the Aussie pop star as a "self-obsessed, virtually friendless control freak".

Rat chic: Said to be impeccably well-mannered (if you're not dating him). GQ voted him Britain's best-dressed man in 2003.

Sewer depths: Asking Kylie whether he could go on a date with her younger sister Dannii takes some beating.

Gnawing doubt: May be a more sensitive soul than we thought. He claims to have been so upset by Kylie spending the night with Justin Timberlake after the Brit Awards that he took that old red-top tabloid favourite, a "potentially lethal cocktail" of drink and drugs.

Rodent rating: 2 and a half rats.

Darren Day

Rat sheet: : Rumours that ITV is to produce a show entitled I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Darren's Bedroom cannot be confirmed. The self-confessed serial love rat has done the dirty on Anna Friel, Tracy Shaw and the Home and Away star Isla Fisher.

Rat chic: His time spent as a semi-professional snooker player is suitably louche.

Rat trap: Will the boy never learn? His wedding in 2003 to the blonde dancer Adele Vellacott was cancelled after he was spotted leaving the hotel room of the former Hear'Say singer Suzanne Shaw.

Sewer depths: Shaw and Day had been co-starring in the musical Summer Holiday. It's Sir Cliff I feel sorry for...

Gnawing doubt: Is he past it? Now Suzanne is pregnant, Darren has vowed to keep his pants on: "The wild man days are behind me now, and I am ready to become a dad".

Mark Ridgewell

Rat sheet: After joining an internet match-making agency, management consultant Ridgewell simultaneously dated four women - Janet Graham, Dawn Knight, Lynn Henderson and Jo Jolly. The rodent described himself as a 6ft 2in, Financial Times-reading rugby player. To avoid confusion, he called each of his dates "princess".

Rat chic: "He was ever so charming," Knight observed afterwards, "although he looks nicer in the photograph".

Sewer depths: Would you forgive a man who sent you a CD of Daniel Bedingfield?

Rat trap: When Graham found the truth by reading his e-mails, Knight lured him to a pub in Gloucestershire, where he was confronted with his other three lovers. A Gloucestershire Echo reporter was on hand.

Gnawing doubt: Ridgewell swears his innocence: "They were just friends, certainly not lovers."

Rodent rating: 4 rats.

James Hewitt

Rat sheet: Diana, Princess of Wales' "Dear Darling Winkie" first met her at a Mayfair cocktail party in 1987.

Hewitt's friends nicknamed him Timeshare as he simultaneously swore his love to Diana, proposed to his girlfriend, Emma Stewardson, and had a fling with a Bosnian refugee, Aida Basic.

Rat chic: For Basic, the attraction was, well, basic: "Once he tore my clothes off, then took me right there on the bathroom floor."

Sewer depths: Attempting to sell Diana's letters for £10m.

Rat trap: The man purporting to want to buy them was a journalist.

Gnawing doubt: Living at home in Devon with his mother, Shirley, might cramp even the most assured rat's style.

Sven Goran Eriksson

Rat sheet: While he was Lazio manager, Eriksson left his teenage sweetheart wife for the Roman lawyer Nancy Dell'Olio. In April 2002, he began an affair with the television presenter, Ulrika Jonsson, after they were introduced at a cocktail party by Alastair Campbell. "I thought as they were both Swedish and living in the UK they might have something in common," the former spin-doctor explained. "I was only being polite."

Rat chic: Eriksson's interest in Tibetan poetry and Japanese proverbs is very James Bond.

Sewer depths: Jonsson called him a "lying cad" after he refused to phone her.

Rat trap: The Daily Mirror's 3am girls got the initial scoop. But did Jonsson fan the flames to promote her autobiography?

Gnawing doubt: The iceman's Don Juan image was soon dented by the revelation that he left his Cuban-heeled boots outside her bedroom door so the nanny wouldn't disturb their love-making.

Rodent rating: 2 rats.

Alastair Ross

Rat sheet: The "galloping major" resigned after a fling with Warrant Officer Angela McConnell. He had several affairs with junior soldiers.

Rat chic: Ross was a Gulf War veteran, in the elite King's Own Hussars. Imagine the bastard love child of Andy McNab and Anna Karenina's Count Vronsky.

Sewer depths: The officers' "bet book" recorded challenges such as who could sleep with the Hussars' lesbian stable maid.

Rat trap: Wagering on who could sleep with the regimental equal opportunities officer tempted fate, but the crunch came when McConnell went to an employment tribunal after being demoted to corporal.

Gnawing doubt: Ross stopped McConnell giving him oral sex in the regiment's Medal Room because, she said: "He didn't want anything to happen too quickly." And they say he's not a gentleman?

Rodent rating: 3 rats.

Steven Johnson

Rat sheet: The teenage soprano Charlotte Church kicked her "bit of rough" out of her Cardiff Bay love nest last year after he cheated on her with a model.

Rat chic: Only if you are 19, live in Cardiff and believe fighting outside nightclubs is cool.

Sewer depths: The "bad-boy DJ" (copyright all papers) tried to flog details of their sex life.

Rat trap: Church's driver apparently shopped him.

Gnawing doubt: Steven's pathetic attempts to make Charlotte jealous, by dating the ex-girlfriend of Charlotte's new boyfriend, shatters his "hard-man" image.