Daily Mail

Ephraim Hardcastle

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

THE BBC has been accused of succumbing to the ‘emotional engagement’ of its Gazaborn correspond­ents in the current Israel/Hamas war. Lord [Charles] Moore claims the emotions of the local reporters are ‘almost bound’ to warp judgment. Referring to an online piece by veteran reporter Fergal Keane praising Gaza freelance Mahmoud Bassam, the peer adds: ‘Keane describes Bassam as “a dedicated chronicler of his people’s agony”. That should not be his job for the British Broadcasti­ng Corporatio­n. He is not working for “his people”. He should be a dedicated chronicler of everything that is happening, on both sides.’ Deep waters.

SAUDI Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s expected state visit appears to have been further placed on the regal long finger because of Gaza. Having successful­ly weathered accusation­s that he had mastermind­ed the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he was initially expected in late September. Now there is talk of December, when MBS will expect vast ego-massaging pomp and ceremony accompanie­d by lunch with the King.

HAS Joan Collins, pictured, offended her close friend of over 50 years, Evie Bricusse, 85, widow of Doctor Dolittle songwiter Leslie Bricusse? Blabbing to Louis Theroux, Joan, 90, says: ‘I have some friends around my age and I don’t find them interestin­g – everyone’s got older except me.’ In a 2017 posting with the Bricusses she wrote: ‘Old friends are the best friends.’ Not any more?

BACK in the Cabinet as the so-called ‘Minister for Common Sense’, Liverpudli­an blonde bombshell Esther McVey has long had her admirers in Westminste­r. She was once memorably dubbed the ‘love child of Norman Tebbit and Cilla Black’.

NOSTALGICA­LLY recalling playing his beloved Stratocast­er for Comic Relief as one of The Young Ones with Cliff Richard, Ade Edmondson remembers with horror the night Cliff was replaced by Bob Geldof: ‘I very carefully put my guitar back on its stand because I’d paid a lot of money for it. And Bob Geldof picked it up and smashed it to pieces.’

REFLECTING on his warm bond with the late Queen, warbler Alfie Boe recalls giving her a Christmas present at a festive dinner: ‘I bought her a hot water bottle... she loved it. It was a nice one, it was furlined and everything.’ Cheeky chappy!

JOHN LE Carre’s senior mistress Suleika Dawson accuses the priapic spook scribbler’s biographer Adam Sisman of portraying her and other lovers as tarts attracted by lavish presents and exotic trips. ‘What he gave was always far greater than what he took,’ she insists. ‘The love was real.’ And she confirms that John was a perfect gentleman. When sharing romantic baths, like Sir John Major and Edwina Currie, he always occupied the tap end.

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