Broadcaster Andrew Castle is becoming disillusioned with the current media climate. “I work on LBC and I do the news every week and it’s hard to read the news,” he told us. “I don’t enjoy scandal. I don’t like it. I’ve had enough.” Unfortunately, the controversies show little sign of relenting. Castle weighed in on the latest media storm caused by commentators Dan Wootton and Laurence Fox for their lewd on-air discussion of journalist Ava Evans: “I have no sympathy at all for them,” he said. “Ava is a strong journo and I hope she’s OK.”
Fox and Wootton were suspended from GB News for their comments that were broadcast live this week. Fox said of Evans: “Show me a single self-respecting man who would like to climb into bed with that woman”. With the country still reeling from the Russell Brand scandal, Castle added: “We have some very major issues to deal with.” If the headlines get too much, Castle prescribes “getting out and turning your brain off.” Perhaps easier said than done.
TikTok works a treat for Beard’s latest book
When it comes to timing, Doyenne of Classics Mary Beard has done very well. The release of her new book, Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient World, has coincided with the viral TikTok trend where women ask the men in their lives how often they think about the Roman Empire. Rather a lot, it turns out. At her book launch in Soho last night, Beard joked that her publisher started the trend as a publicity stunt. “And they got away with it, no one suspects them!” she said.
Later, Beard told us that she reckons part of the appeal for men is the fantasy of being “a big, butch, posh white man in a military skirt.” But when it comes to similarities between Roman Emperors and our leaders today, one thing hasn’t changed. “We expect too much of them,” she said. “People expected too much of Roman Emperors too. They’re only human, they’re feeble. Sometimes talented, sometimes less talented, but ordinary human beings.”
Marina AbramoviÄ inspired by complaint letter
Marina Abramovic has been eliciting the ire of the prudish British public with her exhibition at the Royal Academy, featuring naked performers blocking the entrance. She says she received “a wonderful letter from an anonymous sender” who said her performance art represented the “degradation of the nation”. Her reaction? “I am going to make a T-shirt which says ‘degradation of the nation’ soon.” New merch at the RA gift shop? Just don’t get on her bad side. She said if anyone threatens her power, “I would break their balls immediately.” Ouch.
An ‘Unbelievable’ turnout for Derren Brown
Actors enjoyed the launch of Derren Brown’s Unbelievable in Piccadilly last night, but audiences, prepare to be surprised because... “I’m not in it,” Brown told us. Imelda Staunton weighed in on the latest deal between the WGA and Hollywood studios that could end the writers’ strikes in the US. “For too long the big boys upstairs are taking all the money,” she said. “Writers shouldn’t be undervalued,” Bill Bailey agreed. “We can only hope the actors achieve something similar,” David Tennant added.
Maureen Lipman was lucky to even make the show. During the Manchester run, she went to the wrong theatre. “I was standing outside the theatre, it was dark and I’m thinking this is clever,” she told us. Until she realised it was the wrong venue. Meanwhile in Soho, singer Sinitta and ex-Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt were at the Style For Stroke charity launch, while model Arizona Muse went to a Breitling dinner.