Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (26/12/10)

Boxing clever

Share
Related Topics

Radio 4 listeners may be left scratching their heads on 6 January, with the broadcast of a play called A King's Speech. For it comes just a day before the hotly anticipated release of The King's Speech, the film starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. Despite the uncanny similarity of the titles, and the subject matter – both tell the story of George VI's struggle to overcome a stammer – they are by different authors. So, who had the idea first? Mark Burgess's play was first aired on Radio 4 in April last year, and the BBC is repeating it to make a point. But any suggestion that his idea was nicked is demolished by Tom Hooper, the film's director, who says that he chanced upon his script, a play by David Seidler, at a fringe performance in north London. Still, the similarities are spooky. "You wait 75 years and then two plays come along at once," says Burgess, who teaches at Bedford Modern School. "Everyone's going to think I'm raking it in, but they're completely separate. It's a bit strange."

Tina Brown is throwing a "Welcome to America" party for Piers Morgan in January, as he arrives to start his celebrity interview show on CNN. The Daily Beast editor, who likes to think of herself as the Queen of New York after 25 years in the city, plans to introduce Morgan to various useful contacts. But the question everyone wants answered is what Morgan's wife, the Daily Telegraph journalist Celia Walden, plans to do. She has a successful career of her own in London, and may be reluctant to give it up. "I'm looking into various options," she told me at a party last week when I inquired. Surely Tina, who plundered Evelyn Waugh's novel Scoop for her website's name, can step up and provide Celia with the Mrs Stitch service?

One unexpected consequence of Vince Cable's indiscretions is that Rebekah Brooks could be hauled back into the Commons. The News International executive has been careful not to appear before select committees since the time when, as editor of The Sun, she admitted to paying police officers for information. But the transfer of the decision over Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB bid from Cable to Jeremy Hunt – from the Business department to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – means that it will now be the media select committee that scrutinises the decision. Among its members are Tom Watson and Paul Farrelly, who have been the most exercised over phone-hacking, and are, I'm told, rubbing their hands at this new opportunity to summon Murdoch stooges for questioning. Even though the two matters are separate, select committee members are free to ask any question they please.

Now that Vince Cable has been exposed as a Murdoch-hating dissident – as if we didn't know – other MPs are making their own confessions. Guy Opperman, Conservative member for Hexham, leapt up during a debate on racing last week to reveal his criminal past. "I must declare an interest as a former jockey who, for his sins, still rides as an amateur," he said. "I probably would not have got through my schooldays were I not also a former bookmaker. I financed a large part of my schooldays by running an illegal book when I was aged about 12 and 13, and I avoided the law very impressively. It's a wonder I survived." Who needs the Telegraph when they 'fess up voluntarily?

Expect to see plenty more of Helena Bonham Carter in coming weeks. The diary's favourite actress is appearing not only as a young Queen Mother in The King's Speech, but also as the charlady stepmother of Nigel Slater in Toast, the film adaptation of the chef's memoirs. One interviewer has already seen rather more of her than he expected, after a wardrobe malfunction. "Sorry. This suit works all right when I'm standing up, but it's not very practical," she announced to Andrew Duncan of the Radio Times as they sat down. "I don't want to keep thrusting my breasts in your face. Have you seen them before?"

Ex-Observer editor Donald Trelford was among those saying nice things about political journalist Anthony Howard, who died last weekend. "He was an excellent editor of the New Statesman and The Listener," he said, "and, if the timing of his career had been more fortunate, he should have edited a national newspaper." Indeed. What Trelford politely omitted to mention was that, as his deputy, Howard spent much of his time plotting to topple him. As Peter Wilby – former editor not only of the Statesman but of this newspaper, too – says: "He thought [Trelford] intellectually lightweight, incomprehensibly obsessed with sport and too often absent." Howard was also a great friend of our own Alan Watkins, whose death this year saddened him greatly. They will both be missed.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone