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EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Protester calling for Rhodes statue to be …

Ephraim Hardcastle for the Daily Mail

The  BBC’s former chairman Lord Patten was grilled by Radio 4 over why a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes should remain in Oxford, where the ex-Tory MP is the university’s chancellor. 

Yet a protester calling for the statue to be removed – student Yusef Robinson – said it was ‘racist and enslaving’, without being interviewed by Lord Patten’s interrogator, John Humphrys. 

Why so? ‘It was a prerecorded clip from another programme,’ says the BBC. And unnecessary given the going-over Patten endured.

The BBC’s former chairman Lord Patten (right) was grilled by Radio 4 over why a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes (left) should remain in Oxford, where the ex-Tory MP is the university’s chancellor

A Royal employee has written a racy screenplay with the title Anne: The Frisky Princess, concentrating on the Princess Royal’s younger years and incorporating ‘some risqué flights of fantasy’, says a source, who adds: ‘The author, whom I am not at liberty to identify, is a “below stairs” member of staff rather than a senior courtier.’ Thank goodness for small mercies!

Angela Merkel has refused to sit for the self-important US photographer Annie Leibovitz, 66, and her ‘ladies of distinction’ exhibition. Is the German chancellor shy? Not according to comic Tracey Ullman’s TV impersonation of Germany’s all-powerful leader, pictured. She has a bawdy Frau Merkel claiming that Italy’s ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi and our own George Osborne ‘are panting over me’.

So perhaps Angela is waiting for an invitation from Playboy magazine.

Angela Merkel (left) has refused to sit for the self-important US photographer Annie Leibovitz, 66, (right) and her ‘ladies of distinction’ exhibition

Tory MP and Cadbury’s Creme Egg fan Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, 46, confirms that the confection ‘does not taste as good as it did before’, which is said to have caused a £6million drop in sales. He adds: ‘What do you expect from a company that makes plastic cheese? I have no admiration for (US-owned) Kraft (the makers) since it reneged on a promise to keep the Cadbury factory at Keynsham in my constituency open and then closed it with the loss of 400 jobs.’

Thirty years after the first episode of Yes, Prime Minister – our most influential TV show about politics – its co-mastermind Jonathan Lynn has turned his focus on the French. He wrote and directs The Patriotic Traitor, about ‘two giants of French history’ – post-war president Charles de Gaulle and Marshal Philippe Petain, France’s wartime head of state under the Nazis. Intriguingly, lippy Laurence Fox of Lewis fame plays de Gaulle, while Paisley-born Tom Conti essays Petain in the February production at the Park Theatre in London.

Distinguished bassist Herbie Flowers, praised for his work on the Lou Reed song Walk on the Wild Side – produced by David Bowie – says: ‘For me, Bowie was the greatest British artist since Shakespeare.’

Quite a tribute from an artist whose own multi-faceted career includes co-writing (with Kenny Pickett) the 1971 Clive Dunn chart hit Grandad.

Veteran US broadcaster Larry King, speaking at the New York celebration of Frank Sinatra’s centennial, said ‘the best singer of all time’ wouldn’t be accepted in today’s music scene ‘because it is so over-sexualised’. He elaborated: ‘Frank was a classy guy, so there is no way he would start to unveil the goods while performing on stage.’ 

So to speak.

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