A little time off from the limelight

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The Independent Online
Today we take a look at yesterday's headlines and ask the perennially fascinating question: Where are they now? Those names that once were never out of the limelight - whatever happened to them?

For a while it seemed as if you could not open a paper or switch on a television or radio without bumping into names such as Silvio Berlusconi or Ian Botham - then suddenly one day the names vanished. But the people themselves did not vanish, so where are they now? Today we tell you.

What happened to Stephen Fry after he went AWOL?

He is making a TV film based on the story of his own disappearance called One of Our Actors is Missing. And, just to be on the safe side, the part of Stephen Fry is being played by an actor.

What is David Mellor doing right now?

Well, I expect he is writing eight articles: three about opera, two about the National Lottery, one about the millennium, one about learning to live with a gap in one's teeth and one about the next election.

Whatever happened to Madonna?

It was always generally agreed that the brazenness of her public image was due to her Catholic upbringing. As you know, many Catholics and convent girls often kick against their strict background and go wild, which is exactly what happened to Madonna, even down to her semi-blasphemous sobriquet. However, it is often forgotten that such girls also often repent in later life. Now, a suitably penitent Madonna has made her peace with the Pope and is, at this very moment, with his blessing, out on location shooting pictures for the 1996 Vatican Calendar. The results are said to be the raunchiest and sexiest photos ever to grace a Catholic calendar.

Hold on. Raunchy and sexy? I thought you said she had repented?

No, I just said that she had convinced the Pope that she had repented. He is, apparently, as putty in her hands.

What is the latest on Andrew Neil?

No change. He is still the ex-editor of the Sunday Times. Interestingly, though, he has now become such a visible free-lance broadcaster that people think he still is editor of the Sunday Times, and even those who know he is not cannot remember who is. Success, indeed.

Incidentally, what is Rupert Murdoch up to these days?

Mr Murdoch has now more or less completed his conquest of the American television and films industry, at least as much as he wants, and is well on the way to repeating his feat by infiltrating the burgeoning world of Chinese communications.

But surely, in order to invade America and become a big player, Mr Murdoch had to take on American nationality?

Yes, and now Mr Murdoch has secretly taken on Chinese citizenship. In a small but moving ceremony last month, Rupert Murdoch became Chinese and is now entitled to own anything in China.

What is his Chinese name?

Lupe.

Whatever happened to Tony Slattery?

Interesting one, that. For a year or two Tony Slattery was never off the screen - always starring on quizzes, panel games, chat shows and improvised comedy programmes, until he became a byword for ubiquity. Then suddenly - as if heeding his critics - he vanished. He has been seen nowhere on TV for a year. No one talks about him any more as being overexposed. Nor has he really been replaced by anyone else as a symbol of ubiquity, though Paul Merton has done his best.

So what has happened to Tony Slattery?

He has gone into that interesting limbo where stars go after a period of overexposure, out of which they come refreshed and ready for another assault on stardom. It has happened to Rik Mayall from time to time. People do not forget Tony Slattery, any more than a boxing crowd forgets the fighters in a fight between rounds. Mr Slattery is just between rounds, that's all.

Yes, but what is he actually doing, for heaven's sake?

I have no idea. Sitting at home and eating chocolates?

You can't be serious.

No. He is actually working on a series of travel programmes for Channel 4 called Slattery Will Get You Nowhere.

What is Rory Bremner up to?

Rory Bremner is not forgotten. He is not a "Where are they now" person.

I know. I just wanted to know what he was doing.

Right now he is working out how to do an impression of Jonathan Aitken without sounding like a complete prat.

Do you want know what has happened to Mark Thatcher, Kate Bush, Gorbachev, General Galtieri, Clive Anderson, etc? Just drop us a line.

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