Pandora: So will Vince earn a fortune on the rubber chicken circuit?

By Henry Deedes
Wednesday 05 December 2007 01:00

Vince Cable's rather successful stint as the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats has seen his star rise in the Commons faster than a spotty pop hopeful on The X Factor.

As a result, and presuming that he accepts a frontline job from whoever wins the party leadership battle, he can expect a far higher media profile among his parliamentary colleagues from now on.

Cable, an accomplished ballroom dancer, has already revealed an ambition to appear on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing. It seems he could also, if he so wished, explore a lucrative sideline on the public speaking circuit. After a string of impressive performances, Cable has caught the eye of the theatre impresario Clive Conway, one of the leading agents for public speakers, who counts the likes of Tony Benn and Alastair Campbell among his clients.

"He is entertaining but he also has that all-important gravitas," says Conway. "Having seen how successful people like Tony Benn and William Hague can be, you get a feel for the kind of thing that attracts the public and he has those qualities. He has the kind of calibre that you need."

Conway hasn't made contact with Cable's office yet, but not everyone agrees with his verdict. Jeremy Lee, who runs the prestigious JLA speaking circuit, will not be calling Cable's office. "No, is the short answer," says Lee. "In my opinion, one swallow does not make a summer. It's nothing personal against Vince, but he is just not someone I can see us being inundated with requests for."

Spandau Ballet set to strike gold in Las Vegas

After months of speculation, Tony Hadley, looks set to plump up his perma-quiff one more time.

Nearly 20 years since splitting up, his band Spandau Ballet have been offered a lucrative offer to re-form.

Following months of idle chat about a reunion, I hear that a British property developer called World Capital Partners has offered the group £2m to perform at the opening of its new luxury development in Las Vegas.

"It has always been quite complicated because the band have a different manager to [Hadley's bandmates] the Kemp brothers, because they fell out with them a while back," says a chum. "But since this offer was tabled, both managers have met and it is looking very promising."

Vegas is in danger of looking like an Eighties revival. Last week, it was reported that the Jackson Five have also chosen the city of sin to launch a comeback.

Joely's Sapphic smacker

Headline writers have been having a field day with Joely Richardson's forthcoming lesbian romp in her popular US television series Nip/Tuck, but the comely English actress says she cannot see what all the fuss is about.

"I have filmed lesbian scenes before with Saffron Burrows, so it wasn't exactly new for me," the 42-year-old, right, told me at the opening of the new Ballantyne store in New Bond Street. "It's hard to say whether I enjoyed it or not. I don't know if you can enjoy filming an intimate scene with so many people around."

Richardson, by the way, shares her passionate "clinch" with Ally McBeal star Portia de Rossi, who is best known these days for dating American talk-show host Ellen Degeneres.

"Ellen came on set to watch us film it, so it was all fine," Richardson assured me. "We all get along."

From the front

Tin hats at the ready over at the Ministry of Defence. Our former man in Iraq, Sir Hilary Synnott, has just been given the green light to publish his warts 'n' all memoir Bad Day In Basra.

Synnott, who was the first British diplomat to be put in charge of southern Iraq, has spent the past few months waiting for his book to be given the once over by those beady eyes at the Foreign Office.

It is not clear yet who will be on the receiving end of his bayonet but his publisher, Heinemann, has already promised it contains "lots of stuff to embarrass people".

Says a spokesman: "The FO has tweaked the odd thing but nothing major. Pretty much all of the original stuff is intact."

'Othello' laid bare by Lawson

As the host of the BBC's cerebral Newsnight Review, Mark Lawson is considered one of the grands fromages of Londons's cultural scene. So I am surprised to hear that Lawson was recently spotted at the Donmar Warehouse's production of Othello, where he spent much of his evening consulting a copy of the text.

My mole suspected he was using it as a crib sheet but swotty Lawson says otherwise. "[The artistic director] Michael Grandage had cut it quite interestingly the production moves at tremendous pace and so I was checking some of the cuts he had done," he says, sagely. "It is true the exercise also revealed other things about the performances but for that, sadly BBC Radio 4, 7.15pm, Wednesday."


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