Diary

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Bong] And now the state of the parties

WILL there be a wobble in the News at Ten tonight? We only ask, but it seems that all the staff are going to be out at parties for departing ITN colleagues. There's Nick Pollard, News at Ten executive producer, having a do at Villa Carlotta in Charlotte Street. And, more downmarket but probably more popular, the senior director Derek Guthrie's bash at the ITN pub, The Churchill, off Gray's Inn Road. Then, of course, the staff of the Channel 4 Daily will be celebrating their last programme with an all- day knees-up for 300 on the MV Hispaniola, anywhere between Westminster Bridge and the Netherlands if they show their usual degree of inventiveness. The absence of two of the people in charge of the daily running of News at Ten, plus friends, might give little cause for alarm, but you have to bear in mind that the production staff attending may not strongly heed the call to go to work. Many of them expect to hear news of a severe reduction in their numbers when ITN announces further 'restructuring' early (it is thought) next week.

AT the ITN parties, do keep an eye open for a well-spoken, middle aged woman from the North who's desperately seeking John Suchet, the newsreader. She turned up at an ITN reception last week, saying she had an appointment with him at 5.40pm. Knowing that Suchet is habitually newsreading then, staff checked a transcript of the previous day's programme. Sure enough, Suchet had signed off like this: 'Where will the pound in your pocket be tomorrow? We'll bring you up to date at 5.40. Join me then.'

Guilty of foul play AMAZING news arrives of fraud and fiddling in the Metropolitan Police. We learn that Kingston, Peckham and Clapham police football teams have been sending in bogus results to the South and South West Police area league. Sergeant Malcolm Dunne, of Kingston police, a veteran referee, writing in the Met's newspaper The Job, describes the fiddling as 'appalling' and wonders whether these are isolated incidents or 'just the tip of an unsavoury iceberg'. Our moles in the Met say that many more sides are guilty. Clubs that have been unable to muster a side for a pre-arranged match have regularly agreed to award a 1-0 victory to their opponents - crucial last season when Kingston rose to third place in the league, which involves more than 100 teams from London and South- East England. The Metropolitan Police Athletic Association has fined Clapham pounds 50 and relegated them; Peckham and Kingston, fined pounds 50 and pounds 100 respectively, have both left the league. Well. And what price the crime solution figures?

CAROLE Tongue, Labour MEP for London East, speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg: 'Over 400,000 women in the United Kingdom become pregnant at work every year.'

Not too dramatic

WHATEVER happened to Panorama, once the BBC's hardest- hitting current affairs programme? Its cameras were in Bristol on Wednesday afternoon filming an episode of Casualty, for an autumn show about the future of the BBC. On the face of it, they couldn't have chosen a better example - in May more than 60 of Casualty's technical and design staff were told that their contracts would not be renewed and that the services would be farmed out. The Panorama crew, however, spent the afternoon there and interviewed no one. So just how in-depth will the look at Casualty be? 'We're not looking at the redundancies,' says a BBC spokesman. 'We are using it as an example of a successful and popular drama. We are not going to go into specifics.'

MEANWHILE, Shetland has a place for a former chancellor of the exchequer. Peerie Norrie (or Little Norman, as he was known) Lamont (then pronounced as in Lamentable) will be welcomed back in the islands of his birth, reports the local news agency, and there's even a job for him: the local council needs a new director of finance. Relatives are still there, and the family's croft, named Loot, remains standing.

A day like this

25 September, 1972 Cecil Beaton visits Noel Coward in Switzerland: 'I had heard about Noel's Swiss retreat. It's very typical of him, lots of signed photographs, a house that might have been brought from Eastbourne. It is true the house suits Noel perfectly. It has no real character, is ugly, is decorated in the typical theatre- folk style, but it is warm and comfortable and it works. Noel has aged into a very nice and kind old man. His intelligence was as quick as ever. You know that when Noel gives an evaluation of someone else's talent or personality, he will be absolutely on the ball and never prejudiced. There are certain types that he despises. He has no time for amateurs, or people that tell lies and are phoneys. But he is incredibly generous in his appreciation of most people, particularly those who have succeeded in the theatre.'

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