Daily Mail

Ephraim Hardcastle

- Email: john.mcentee@dailymail.co.uk

SHOULD roald Dahl be able to comment on the contentiou­s wokewashin­g of his classic titles, he might mischievou­sly remark: ‘Its not my fault. I didn’t write them.’ Dahl’s biographer Jeremy Treglown claims that titles including The Witches, Matilda and The BFG were co-authored by Stephen roxburgh, his editor at publishers Farrar, Straus and Giroux. And random House editor Fabio Cohen mostly wrote Fantastic Mr Fox, he says, adding: ‘It wouldn’t be wrong to describe the charming result as by him, from an idea by Dahl.’ Coen’s ideas were so good, declared Dahl, ‘that I feel almost as though I am committing plagiarism in accepting them’. Treglown, in the TLS, concludes: ‘Dahl needed to protect the myth of himself as a lonely wizard toiling for perfection in his garden shed.’

A consolatio­n prize for the Welsh Guards this week as Kate joined William to present St David’s Day leeks. His appointmen­t as colonel didn’t impress some military bods who hoped to get Kate, Princess of Wales, as colonel to add some glamour to their regimental gatherings. Instead she has gone to the Irish Guards, replacing William in a game of military musical chairs. The Irish are sorry to see him go. He was appointed in 2011 and, on the orders of the Queen, wore their uniform at his wedding to Kate. Kate is expected to drag him along to say farewell, hand out shamrocks and pretend to enjoy Guinness on St Patrick’s Day this month.

FLEABAG’S Phoebe Waller-Bridge, pictured, brought in to polish Daniel Craig’s last Bond turn No Time to Die, was shocked to discover that 007 was killed off in the script. ‘They had not told me and I was reading it and I was like “No.” I went angry,’ she says. ‘Then I thought “What the hell. Everyone is going to blame it on me anyway. I definitely want to be involved.”’ Surely at 007’s inquest she was cleared of any blame?

NOW at war with Matt Hancock over WhatsAppga­te, Isabel Oakeshott was in the minority defending him following confusion over how much charities would get from his jungle appearance. She met with mockery when remarking of his TV earnings on the airwaves: ‘One thing I’m sure of is that the top rate of tax is 45p. So we know perfectly well that he’s going to be giving at least 45 per cent of that to the state. So that’s a form of charity.’ Host Piers Morgan snapped back: ‘Oh, do me a favour! Oakeshott, you can’t say that with a straight face!’

THE capacity audience at Michael Frayn’s Noises Off, starring Felicity Kendal, at London’s Phoenix Theatre on Wednesday was impressed when an electricia­n came on stage and apologised for a technical fault. They thought it was part of the plot about a play within a play where everything goes wrong. It wasn’t. The real power failure soon had them shuffling out into Charing Cross road with a promise of their money back.

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