The Listener

ANN DIAMOND is recognised as one of the most dogged interviewers in the British media. This has not changed since she and Nick Owen joined LBC Radio.

In a recent confrontation with Mark Oaten, Chairman of the All Party Group on Far East Prisoners of War, she repeatedly asked the Liberal Democrat MP for Winchester if he didn't have sympathy for those protesting the visit of the Japanese Emperor. Yes, he did feel sorry, Oaten said over and over, to the point that it was becoming habitual.

Later, Oaten told friends that he suspected Diamond had been wrongly briefed that he was not sympathetic to the POW's cause. "I wish Nick had been there," he mused tiredly.

We like Harry

A RATHER nasty British media story has surfaced in, of all places, New York's Village Voice. It concerns Harry Evans and his period as editor of the Sunday Times in 1972.

It appears the distinguished former editor and husband of Tina Brown has truly been the victim of a unfair hatchet job.

The media editor of Village Voice, James Ledbetter, has accused Evans of helping to "bury compelling evidence that the British military planned in advance the infamous 1972 Londonderry attack known as `Bloody Sunday'".

The truth is that an initial piece by Murray Sayle and Derek Humphry, with assistance from Peter Pringle, was spiked by the Sunday Times' lawyers. "I remember Murray Sayle crying when the piece was stopped," Pringle recalls.

But he points out that Evans then sent his "Insight Team" to Northern Ireland for three months solely to work on the investigation. The result was a massive story that upheld most of Sayle's and Humphry's original accusations.

None of this was mentioned in Village Voice, a leading "alternative" NYC newspaper which regularly launches attacks on mainstream newspapers like the New York Times and the Daily News.

Harold Evans is now, of course, vice-chairman of the Daily News.

Chill out

ANYBODY who has seen Tim Roth acting in Reservoir Dogs or his latest film, Liar, has to respect the man's intensity. But if you have the kind of energy Roth has, it's evidently not all that easy to switch it off.

Last night in the Groucho, Roth was having a beer with friends. One celebrity- watcher noticed not only was the Hollywood star chewing gum but he was smoking at the same time.

Peace on earth

ONE OF the bitterest feuds of the Nineties is clearly over. Their out- of-court settlement was announced months ago by Harrods owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, and Conde Nast, publishers of Vanity Fair, the celebrity and investigative magazine which ran an unflattering profile of the Egyptian.

While the Knightsbridge shop is once again placing ads in Conde Nast publications, the ultimate sign of peace came a few days ago. Conde Nast has won a hotly contested battle with National Magazines to produce Harrods' Christmas catalogue.

Dead end

EVERYONE was anxious to leave for last week's parliamentary recess but a debate on the Common Agricultural Policy detained many of them.

Pandora has great sympathy for Jean Corston, MP for Bristol East, whose adjournment debate came as the last piece of business on the agenda, the so-called "graveyard slot". The title of her debate? "Arnos Vale Cemetery".

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