Man­drake

The New European - - Agenda - Tim Walker man­[email protected]­neweu­ro­pean.co.uk @that­timwalker

The fight is on for Dave’s con­fes­sion

Sens­ing a Frost/nixon scoop to be had out of David Cameron – when the for­mer prime min­is­ter will fi­nally come out with an ab­ject Richard Nixon-style apol­ogy for the dam­age he’s done – a num­ber of tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ists are al­ready vy­ing for the first big interview with him.

The BBC veteran Michael Cock­erell is be­lieved to be among the favourites to se­cure a one-on-one interview with Cameron this au­tumn, when he plans to break his self-im­posed vow of si­lence to co­in­cide with the much­post­poned pub­li­ca­tion of his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. I’m told An­drew Marr – not seen to be in se­ri­ous con­tention – has also al­ready ap­plied.

Cameron’s fac­to­tum Lau­rence Mann tells me that there re­mains no spe­cific date for the pub­li­ca­tion of the book and a fi­nal de­ci­sion has still to be taken about which jour­nal­ist will bag the ex­clu­sive. Ru­pert Mur­doch, who owns the pub­lish­ing house which gave Cameron £800,000 for his rem­i­nis­cences, will no doubt want to see one of his own hirelings picked to do it.

Cock­erell would, how­ever, be a re­spectable choice. He’s al­ready made a well-re­garded film pro­file of Cameron, pic­tured. He is also one of very few broad­cast jour­nal­ists I know who’s never given me even the slight­est hint – ei­ther on screen or off it – what his own pol­i­tics are.

Bun fight

Ian Katz, the di­rec­tor of pro­grammes at Chan­nel 4, said that com­mis­sion­ing James Gra­ham to write Brexit: The Un­civil War was one of his first acts when he took the job and he was full of ad­mi­ra­tion for the youth­ful writer for hav­ing the courage to do it.

Gra­ham has al­ready in­evitably been sub­jected to abuse – even some threats – about the drama, but at a spe­cial press pre­view of the film last week he was ap­plauded by jour­nal­ists on both sides of the un­civil war.

At an awk­ward gath­er­ing over tea ahead of the show­ing, a jour­nal­ist from the Daily Tele­graph sug­gested to me that I might want to lob a pie at one of the Brex­trem­ists in the room to liven things up. I man­aged to re­sist the temp­ta­tion, but like to think that had I done so, we’d all have ended up singing the big num­ber out of Bugsy Malone: “We could have been any­thing that we wanted to be – and it’s not too late to change...”

Good for Mr Gra­ham for bring­ing us all to­gether, al­beit briefly.

New look

Gavin Wil­liamson has been sport­ing a more ca­sual look lately: open-neck shirts, cash­mere sweaters, slacks. The man cred­ited with get­ting the de­fence sec­re­tary out of his trade­mark tight-fit­ting navy blue suit is James Whar­ton, the for­mer Tory MP who now pre­sides over the PR and lobbying firm Hume Bro­phy.

Just be­fore Christ­mas, Wil­liamson texted his old friend Whar­ton to see if he was free for din­ner af­ter a late-night vote. They met at the Colony Grill in May­fair with an­other uniden­ti­fied friend of Whar­ton when the con­ver­sa­tion re­volved purely around fash­ion. Last year, I dis­closed how Whar­ton was keen for Wil­liamson to look as states­man­like and for­mal as pos­si­ble at the Ceno­taph for Re­mem­brance Sun­day af­ter all the jibes com­par­ing him to Pri­vate Pike out of Dad’s Army.

Sex god

Man­drake hes­i­tates to say an­other word about the ousted Daily Mail edi­tor Paul Dacre’s 70th birth­day din­ner at the Gar­rick club, but the more I hear about the oc­ca­sion, the more I ap­pre­ci­ate that it re­ally was com­edy gold. The lat­est I hear was that Bel Mooney, pic­tured, read out a poem about Dacre. “It sug­gested that he was a sex god,” my in­for­mant adds, tit­ter­ing. “The great chal­lenge she faced, of course, was that there are not an aw­ful lot of words that rhyme with Dacre.”

The 72-year-old Mooney was for­merly mar­ried to Jonathan Dim­bleby and now writes an agony col­umn. On the sub­ject of Dacre’s ab­sence from the New Year hon­ours, I am told Theresa May felt his name would sim­ply have been “too toxic and di­vi­sive” for the list for now.

Ex­pect to see his name on her res­ig­na­tion hon­ours, which may not re­quire such a long wait.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.