Ephraim Hard­cas­tle

Daily Mail - - News - Email: john.mcen­[email protected]­ly­mail.co.uk

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”.’

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