Concern mounts for the health of Shane Warne, best known as a hard-living Australian cricketer, last seen in the Cotswolds. A man vaguely resembling Warne has been seen on the arm of Liz Hurley at a variety of social functions in the past few days, but those who have caught sight of him say the man in question bears more resemblance to Barbie's friend Ken. One report yesterday suggested the man in question was wearing not only Estée Lauder moisturiser – a brand which Ms Hurley endorses – but Estée Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara and Estée Lauder lip gloss. (In the past Warne has said "New Estée Lauder moisturisers have made a big difference," lest we be in any doubt as to which cosmetics firm pays Ms Hurley's bills.) But does the company think his using them is a great boon for their products? Is any publicity good publicity? "Shane is not associated with the Estée Lauder brand and I don't want to comment any further," says a spokesperson. But isn't he a bit of a trailblazer for male cosmetics? "I don't want to comment on that either."
Whatever happened to the News of the World's claim in the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial that its old emails had gone missing while in storage in India? You'll remember that the Information Commissioner discovered that the dog hadn't eaten their homework after all, so why did the paper claim that it had? We may yet find out. I learn that Aamer Anwar, Sheridan's solicitor, is seeking a court order to have the emails released, to help with the appeal. "News of the World executives were asked during the trial to check for certain whether they had any relevant emails," he tells me. "They said there weren't any or they had ended up in Mumbai and could not be found. This was either a mistake or a lie. If it was the latter, people have gone to prison for less."
Is The Archers, once the forum for public service announcements, doing its duty for its country again? Over the years, Ambridge has glugged its way though vats of Grundy cider, Shires best bitter and dry white wine. But as concerns grow for the long-term health of the nation's drinking classes, characters last week were conspicuously being offered non-alcoholic refreshment, notably at occasions when, surely, a stiff one was called for. Kenton pressed a tray of teetotal refreshments upon the farm hands during their big evening out, Adam reached for the fizzy water after a heavy birthday session, and over at Bridge Farm, the liberal Hindu Usha greeted the news of Lizzie changing her will by downing a glass of grape juice. Listen out for Jennifer turning down a gin.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been berating the BBC for a lack of openness, warning that the Corp must not "get on the wrong side of the public on the transparency agenda" and challenging the idea that silly old "commercial sensitivity" should have anything to do with top presenters' salaries. But wait. The Thin Controller is on the verge of waving through the Murdoch-controlled News Corp's bid for BSkyB. And who owns News Corp? The Murdochs own just under 40 per cent, and the Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Company owns another 7 per cent. Beyond that, US law doesn't require News Corp to tell us. The indefatigable Labour MP Tom Watson says we are entitled to know. "If the BSkyB bid is successful," he tells me, "a company registered in Delaware will own 40 per cent and we won't know who the shareholders are. There is a public interest in disclosure. At the very least Jeremy Hunt should make it a condition of any potential approval." Over to you, Jezza.
Just how English is English National Opera? The Coliseum-based company has already had some stick for announcing new productions that have frequently proved to be co-productions with companies from other countries. Now Nico Muhly's new opera, Two Boys, a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, appears to have adjustments for American audiences built in. My man in the dress circle at Friday's "arterati" opening was struck by curious word-setting. The word "Queen" is sung over three notes – just right for the word "Pres-i-dent" when it crosses the Atlantic; the peculiar expression "Bloody Christ" sounds destined to become "Holy smoke", while the caution that the police give upon arrest is, oddly, spoken. Presumably there'll be no problem Americanising that, then. Incidentally, Muhly, opera's new wunderkind, is being used as a talisman by at least one other music organisation: "Come check out what @nicomuhly calls 'post-Debussy faggotry'", tweets the London Sinfonia, in a somewhat desperate attempt to drum up trade for a Pierre Boulez concert. Whatever can he mean?