GAVIN ‘Private Pike’ Williamson didn’t impress Army chiefs when inspecting a tank on Salisbury Plain. The ex-Defence Secretary insisted on clambering aboard but fell off. ‘Those present spared his blushes, ’says Lord Ashcroft in his book White Flag, in which he also recalls Gavin’s inspection of immaculately turned-out officer cadets at Sandhurst, marching along with a blob of shaving cream on his chin. ‘It was privately dubbed “amateur hour” by some of those present,’ notes Ashcroft.
THE Queen might provide a solution to John Bercow’s aversion to Donald Trump addressing Parliament. As she is hosting his visit, she could invite Trump to accompany her to the Palace of Westminster, which she owns ‘in right of the Crown’. The Commons can slam the door in the face of her representative, Black Rod, but Bercow has no right to slam any doors in the Queen’s face. HM might even enjoy upstaging the Squeaker.
JULIAN Assange’s friend Kathy Lette, pictured, sheds light on the jailed WikiLeaks founder’s Ecuadorian Embassy skateboard. ‘It was a thank you from the makers of The Simpsons after Julian appeared in the 500th edition,’ says the gabby Australian. ‘I wrote the dialogue.’
LENGTHY queues outside the London Coliseum for Man Of La Mancha this week were caused by bag searches for alcohol. The performance of Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, slated by critics, prompted one wag to observe: ‘You’d have to be half blotto to watch this musical.’
JACK Nicholson’s former lover Anjelica Huston blames expensive ex-wives for Robert De Niro’s appearances in dire Hollywood movies, adding: ‘I don’t want to see Jack doing Meet The Fockers.’
COMEDIAN Jack Whitehall and Graham Norton swap tributes as the Irishman takes a break from his chat show for the Eurovision Song Contest. ‘I’m thrilled to know I am leaving the show in Jack’s capable hands,’ says Norton. Decoded: ‘Here’s hoping for a shambles.’ Whitehall responds: ‘Worst case, I will make everyone appreciate just how lucky we are to have him.’ Decoded: ‘He’s 56 – time for a fresh young talent – me!’ That’s showbiz!
BORN Free actress Virginia McKenna tells The Lady that, aged 87, she’s taking on her first lesbian film role, opposite Miriam Margolyes in Wings, saying: ‘There’s no dialogue to learn, it’s a silent scene – I don’t have to say a single word.’ Sapphic Miriam should be able to speak for both of them!
AT a fans’ convention in the US, Colin Baker, 75, recalls an encounter with a devotee who peered at a promotional photo of him as Doctor Who 35 years before and asked: ‘What time will Mr Baker be here?’ Says Colin: ‘I muttered forlornly, “Soon. He’ll be here soon”.’