The Daily Telegraph - Saturday


- Test Match Special Being Geoffrey Boycott Chopper’s Politics below, Yellow Submarine. Whips Glamour above. Edited by Christophe­r Hope peterborou­

BBC bans Boycs

Howzat? Sir Geoffrey Boycott, below, has been banned from the BBC because he is too old apparently. Boycs, 82, tells me: “’Jonathan Agnew is a good friend of mine and wanted to do an interview with me during the Ashes but a producer of refused me.

“The BBC thinks once you get to a certain age you are no good any more. It was the same as the way they shoved out Sue Barker. The TMS producer is too afraid of losing his job to have me on,” he tells me at The Oval for the sports book awards, where his biography

was shortliste­d. The BBC points out that Boycott and Barker left on good terms. But isn’t the great Yorkshire opener entitled to a second innings?

Liam’s bad karma

Former Labour Cabinet minister Liam Byrne wrote a notorious letter to his successor at the Treasury in 2010 saying: “I’m afraid to tell you there is no money.” A copy of it is carried around by Tory party chairman Greg Hands.

Byrne tells me on podcast: “I shouldn’t have written that, and I’m deeply sorry that I did.” But he adds that the letter has brought bad luck to anyone who brandishes it. “[Liberal Democrat minister] David Laws was the first one to flourish it and then was suspended in an expenses crisis a few days later. Cameron and Osborne obviously tried to use it and then lost. And of course Greg Hands used it and lost over a thousand council seats. It’s like the curse of Tutankhamu­n.”

Watch your step Greg!

Dave’s still got it

David Cameron delighted an American

audience when he was introduced by author Michael Dobbs at an Alzheimer’s fundraiser in Florida two weeks ago. “I am a former prime minister,” he told his audience. “There are a lot of us about.” Oh, how we miss him!

Paperback non-writer

Music icon Ringo Starr has turned down a multimilli­on-dollar offer to pen a memoir about his astonishin­g career and life with The Beatles. Starr says: “I have just never found interest in it. I don’t want to do ‘Ringo the drummer’, because we’re all a bit more than that.”

Starr, 82, is touring again with his All Starr band, and likes playing music with others. “It’s difficult being a drummer and playing live, if I come on stage tonight, just me and the kit, drumming and singing Nothing else.” I’d still pay for a ticket.

Swire’s encore

Hold on to your hats! Sasha Swire,

is considerin­g publishing a second volume of her waspish political diaries. She has developed her own shorthand nicknames for top Tories, from “Suella Braver than any Man”, “Head boy Hunt”, “Rishi Rich” to “James Not So Cleverly” and “Flat White Coffey”. But Swire – who was with her youthful ex-MP husband Hugo, at the book launch for Cleo Watson’s new Westminste­r bonkbuster

– is less warm about top Labour figures: the party’s leader is “Keir Royale” and shadow chancellor is “Reeves the Honking Goose”. Ouch!

Going Gaga in Leeds

With a musical heritage spanning Soft Cell to Spice Girl Mel B, Leeds is now making its influence felt across the pond. Lady Gaga revealed last week she dreamt up the idea for her most recent live show while in the city.

“We had the honour of crafting the Chromatica Ball, our last stadium tour, in Leeds,” she told magazine. “I can feel the spirit of every artist that has ever worked there and it just seeps into the work.” Another success for global Britain!

When Mrs T met Mrs T

Singer Tina Turner, who died this week, once came face-to-face with Margaret Thatcher at the Women of the Year ceremony in 2005,

Turner was recognised for her contributi­on to music and the Iron Lady for her work in public life. Turner said: “It is wonderful to be here amongst so many wonderful women who have achieved so much.”

The fight goes on, Evadne

RIP Dr Evadne Hinge, whose creator George Logan, 78, has died. Last August, Hinge – one half of 1980s comedy duo Hinge and Bracket – joined me as an honorary member of the British Weights and Measures Associatio­n after a TV sketch surfaced of her protesting with Dame Hilda Bracket about a garage selling petrol in litres. Farewell, Evadne, the struggle goes on!

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