Editor-At-Large: Posh needs a good nutritionist, a good shrink and a good bonk

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The Independent Online

Given all their wealth, Victoria and David Beckham seem to be surrounded by second-rate people. Members of their staff continually sell their stories to any rag that will print them. The bisexual PA (Rebecca Loos) and the treacherous nanny (Abbie Gibson) both deceived their boss and received huge sums of cash for trashing his wife. Now the couple are back in the headlines again - because they have settled their libel action against the News of the World out of court, paying the costs of both sides, estimated at more than £250,000. The only winners in this situation (which has dragged on for two years) are the grasping bunch of lawyers who agreed to take on this hopeless case in the first place.

No matter how hurt your feelings might be, you don't sue over allegations that your marriage is a sham and on the rocks if a string of women have paraded through the tabloids detailing amorous trysts with your spouse. Victoria was badly advised even to start such a hopeless action against the newspaper - it had alleged the only reason she was still with her husband was because of lucrative sponsorship deals which relied on their image as a happy family unit. The newspaper had announced that it would defend their allegations and call witnesses who would testify as to the sham nature of the Beckham's marriage. Given the potentially damaging revelations that might ensue, it is easy to see why Victoria and David had to climb down.

It is easy to dismiss Victoria Beckham as a spoilt rich girl, but I would hesitate to do that. Without a doubt she is a very lonely, messed-up person, struggling to cope in a city where she can't speak the language, married to someone who, based on his track record, she really can't trust. When I spoke to her last, at Elton John's wedding, she was pathetically thin. She was so desperate to get on the front pages of the papers on the occasion that photographers were tipped off which hotel she was leaving to go to the reception, and at exactly what time, so that her perfectly coiffed and dressed figure would be snapped before she even got in a car and sat in the traffic jam for two hours. Good planning or a desperate need for validation? She boasted to me about the value of the necklace she had borrowed - a whopping diamond the size of a golf ball - but it was so vulgar it might as well have been made of glass.

I like Victoria Beckham, always have done. She has no confidence whatsoever, and no real career. She's smart enough to know she's a flop, no more than a clothes horse, someone ridiculed and analysed in every gossip magazine. What she needs is a good shrink, a good nutritionist, and a good bonk. Clearly, she had none of these, and so is filling her time by giving stupid interviews with bilge like her "10 style rules" which add to the tidal wave of mirth every time she appears. She hangs out with gay dress designers like Valentino and Dolce and Gabbana, or attends parties with her hairdresser when she needs some real friends who can tell her a few home truths, not waffle on about hemlines or frills.

Let's not forget that Twiggy was considered pretty nice but dim until she starred in The Boy Friend. No one would consider her Einstein now, but she has managed to mature into someone so respectable she's the face of M&S, for goodness sake, in spite of limited acting ability, shacking up with Justin de Villeneuve after leaving school at 16, and marrying an American actor who turned out to be a drunk. Luckily for Twiggy, she then married Leigh Lawson.

Victoria needs to remove those awful lank extensions from her hair, take acting lessons, and get a part in a soap. With any luck she could turn out to be the next Joan Collins - she's certainly quick-witted enough. Instead of reviling Mrs Beckham, let's take her to our hearts. She's a national treasure. The appalling Rebecca Loos ( no chance of a television career beckoning there) claimed that David's unfaithfulness stemmed from Victoria's prolonged absences. Piffle - they stemmed from his inability to keep his flies buttoned. Who can blame Victoria, the product of a stage school, educated to perform, for wanting to do more with her life than breed and feed toddlers? Other women have turned out to be her worse enemies, and it's about time the sisterhood showed some support.

Even 'Footballers' Wives' couldn't make this up

Meanwhile, the latest series of Footballers' Wives is finding it very hard to trump reality. On the day that the newspapers were filled with the extraordinary news that 20-year-old Wayne Rooney has signed a £5m deal with publishers HarperCollins to produce five books based on his life, an episode of Footballers' Wives featured a naked drug-fuelled orgy, a lesbian romp and a nutty witch.

Not to be outshone by her partner, Mr Rooney's fiancée, the chubby Coleen, has also won a contract to produce a book of fashion and beauty tips to be published in time for Christmas. Coleen has no fashion credentials other than being a conspicuous shopper. I don't recall her spending any time with local schoolchildren encouraging them to do more with their lives than get out a credit card or have their nails done.

On the radio last Friday, one of the heads of the British Chamber of Commerce bemoaned the fact that young people were leaving school with absolutely zero idea of what it takes to enter the world of work. It would have been more interesting if Coleen had chosen to write a manual explaining to the thousands of young girls who undoubtedly emulate her that it's a good idea to be able to read, write, turn up for work on time and deal with the public. A guidebook for the new generation of illiterate no-hopers. The idea that she has anything of any value to say about fashion is a joke.

Class act: From West End to X-Men, Sir Ian is a triumph

Talking of National Treasures, Sir Ian McKellen is excellent in Mark Ravenhill's new play 'The Cut' at the Donmar Warehouse in London. When he turned 60, Ian decided to make loads of money in movies - and who can blame him? Our leading Shakespearean actor is now the top villain in Hollywood, with another X-Men epic as well as 'The Da Vinci Code' both coming out in the next few months. He's stepped neatly into the gap left by the deaths of Sir Alec Guinness and Sir Laurence Olivier. The Yanks do like a classy English stage actor to play the baddie - remember Olivier in 'Marathon Man'? Ravenhill's play is not without its faults, but McKellen is never less than compelling.

Cash and gongs: An unsuitable case for a peerage

Full marks to Claire Rayner for complaining about the nomination of Chai Patel for a peerage. Dr Patel's gong has not been approved by the House of Lords Appointments Commission and he's not happy. He's given more than £10,000 to the Labour Party and now runs the Priory Group of clinics. He's served on various task forces for the Government but last year he appeared before the General Medical Council on charges of serious professional misconduct after complaints from the relatives of elderly residents on one of his care homes. Two reports on conditions at the home were not allowed to be used as evidence and the charges were dropped. Ms Rayner, who is president of the Patients' Association, clearly feels Dr Patel is unsuitable material for the Upper House, and she is a voice that should be listened to.