WILL Emma Raducanu’s triumph reverse the official reluctance to award gongs to tennis champions? After winning three grand slams, culminating in Wimbledon in 1977, Virginia Wade had to wait nine years for an OBE, while 1976 French Open victor Sue Barker didn’t get her MBE until 2000. Seven times Wimbledon winner Dorothea Chambers received nothing, while inaugural 1884 champ Maud Watson waited more than 30 years for an MBE – and that was for services as a WWI nurse. Be of good cheer, Emma. With the Queen a fan, you shouldn’t have to wait so long to be honoured.
SIR Kenneth Olisa’s disclosure of Royal Family support for Black Lives Matter is not the first time HM’s London Lord-Lieutanant has gone public to defend his sovereign. After Meghan claimed a royal had raised concerns about how dark unborn Archie’s skin tone might be, Olisa, whose wife is white, said that when expecting their first child his mother-in-law was keen to know about its potential skin tone to aid her knitting. As the Garter is in the Queen’s personal gift and currently has five vacancies, isn’t Kenneth odds-on to become the first black Garter knight?
PRIME Suspect creator Lynda La Plante battled to have Helen Mirren, pictured, cast as DCI Tennison, telling Radio Times: ‘The producers were like, “Well, she hasn’t done much TV”.’ ITV boffins also thought Mirren’s character was too unemotional. Success has many fathers, Lynda – but failure is an orphan.
PETRONELLA Wyatt, mistress (retired) of Boris Johnson, accuses the PM of competing against himself . ‘In all the years I have known Boris, he has been in a one-man popularity competition,’ says Petsy. ‘I think his ambition of surpassing Margaret Thatcher in terms of electoral success indicates a softening of his brain.’ Hell hath no fury, anyone?
FORMER BBC Blue Peter boss Edward Barnes, who has died aged 92, initially refused to hand over studio dog Shep to retiring presenter John Noakes, saying he belonged to the BBC. ‘At that he hit the roof,’ Barnes recalled. ‘He said, “Are you giving me the dog or aren’t you?”’ Barnes eventually conceded: ‘Oh, all right then.’
GRATEFUL after successful heart surgery, Michael Palin observes that he is no longer a creation of just his parents. ‘I was now made by Mr and Mrs Palin and Edwards Lifesciences of Irvine, California, whose valve and annuloplasty ring I now sported. I wanted to fly out to Irvine, California, and grasp the hand of whoever it was made the bits that were keeping me alive.’ Alas, Covid and convalescence kept the famous globetrotter, 78, grounded.
WINSTON Churchill’s daughter Mary, writing in her wartime diaries of her rejection of a marriage proposal from US army officer Ed Conklin, recalls his ‘sweet and kind’ letter which carried a popular endearment. ‘But it devastates me if people put SWAK [Sealed With A Kiss] on envelopes,’ writes Mary. ‘I shall retaliate one day with a SWAKUA – Sealed With A Kick Up The A***.’