With Hollywood stars flown in by the dozen, and footage screened around the world, the Bafta awards are the highlight of the British film industry’s calendar.
It is also one of the most prestigious annual events screened by the BBC. I hear, however, that the Corporation’s deal to televise the prime-time ceremony could be in jeopardy because of Bafta president Prince William’s deep disillusionment with the BBC.
He is said to have been horrified by BBC2 documentary The Princes And The Press, presented by Amol Rajan, a self-declared republican who had called the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ‘total frauds’ and joked about how he wanted to hurl bricks at them.
I hear the Corporation’s deal to televise the prime-time ceremony could be in jeopardy because of Bafta president Prince William’s deep disillusionment with the BBC
William was accused in the programme of briefing the media against Prince Harry. The Royal Family was also angered by the BBC’s refusal to let the Royal Households view the series in advance. By contrast, Harry and Meghan’s lawyer was invited to appear extensively.
‘All of His Royal Highness’s collaborations with the BBC are now being questioned,’ a courtier tells me. ‘He doesn’t see why he should help the BBC when it treats him and his family with contempt.’
William has already banned the broadcaster from showing a charity Christmas carol concert to be hosted by his wife, Catherine, at Westminster Abbey. It will now be broadcast by a delighted ITV.
Some senior figures at the BBC are said to have been shocked by the documentary. ‘It should never have been made,’ a source tells me. ‘Rajan is an inexperienced broadcaster who has been given far too much power too quickly.’
He is said to have been horrified by BBC2 documentary The Princes And The Press, presented by Amol Rajan, a self-declared republican who had called the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ‘total frauds’ and joked about how he wanted to hurl bricks at them
William was accused in the programme of briefing the media against Prince Harry. The Royal Family was also angered by the BBC’s refusal to let the Royal Households view the series in advance. By contrast, Harry and Meghan’s lawyer was invited to appear extensively
Rajan, 38, was editor of the Left-leaning Independent until the newspaper’s print edition was axed in 2016.
That year, he was taken on by the BBC as media editor and is now paid up to £250,000 per year, with his many roles including co-presenter of Radio 4’s flagship Today programme.
A Bafta spokesman confirms that the ceremony is due to be broadcast on BBC1 in March but declines to comment on whether the Corporation will remain its partner.
A Kensington Palace spokesman declines to comment. However, a royal source insists: ‘Bafta’s broadcast partner doesn’t have any bearing on the Duke’s schedule.’
TV’S Kirstie Allsopp, who presides over endless Christmas crafting shows filmed at her lavishly decorated homes, reveals in real life she hasn’t spent the festive season in this country in ages, instead decamping to sunnier climes.
‘I haven’t had Christmas in the UK for years, as it just gets too much,’ she admits. ‘I have done Christmas already — in the show.’
‘It’s karma’: Albert ex’s verdict on ill Charlene
Poor Princess Charlene of Monaco has withdrawn from public life as she recovers from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’, but her stepson’s mother, Nicole Coste, has precious little sympathy.
‘I don’t care what’s going on with her,’ Nicole tells me at a party in Marylebone. ‘Why should I?’
Former Air France stewardess Nicole, 49, has an 18-year-old son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, with Charlene’s husband, Prince Albert, 63.
Nicole adds that she remains ‘close’ to Albert, with whom she had a six-year clandestine relationship
‘Everything that is happening to her is karma,’ claims Nicole, who has not forgiven ex-Olympic swimmer Charlene, 43, for allegedly putting Alexandre in the palace’s staff wing before her £53 million wedding in 2011.
This summer, Nicole and her son were invited to one of the highlights of Monaco’s social scene, the Red Cross Ball, while Charlene was being treated for a mysterious illness 5,000 miles away in her native South Africa.
‘The people in Monaco love me more than they do Charlene,’ she claims. ‘They really love and respect me.’
Nicole adds that she remains ‘close’ to Albert, with whom she had a six-year clandestine relationship. ‘I have known this man for 25 years,’ she says.
Emily boldly goes for gong in 70s sci-fi gear
Newsnight star Emily Maitlis looked like she’d dressed as a Star Trek extra when she turned up at the Sky Women in Film and TV Awards in Mayfair yesterday
She’s out of this world! Newsnight star Emily Maitlis looked like she’d dressed as a Star Trek extra when she turned up at the Sky Women in Film and TV Awards in Mayfair yesterday.
The 51-year-old broadcaster wore a shimmering silver dress and white go-go boots as she picked up an award for her infamous interview with Prince Andrew, which led to his withdrawal from public life in 2019.
‘The outfit’s recycled from a 1970s themed birthday bash of my best friend,’ she confides to me.
Maitlis and her producer Sam McAlister were jointly handed the BBC News and Factual prize.
‘I am so thrilled to be given this award that recognises the contribution producers make,’ McAlister tells me.
The ceremony was held at the Hilton in Park Lane, from whose rooftop bar you can see into the gardens at Buckingham Palace.
I wonder if Maitlis and McAlister snuck up there later on, with a couple of Martinis and binoculars, to find their next scoop?
Top model Georgia May Jagger quit Britain two years ago to move in with her then boyfriend, New York restaurateur Louis Levy
Homesick Georgia May back in Blighty
Sir Mick Jagger’s daughter can’t get no satisfaction in America.
Top model Georgia May Jagger quit Britain two years ago to move in with her then boyfriend, New York restaurateur Louis Levy.
But now the 29-year-old reveals she’s returned to Blighty for good, after her romance with Levy, 31, fizzled out.
‘I’ve moved back here and have been back a couple of months,’ Georgia tells me at a fashion bash in Kensington, West London.
‘I missed my friends and the British sense of humour, which is very different from the American sense of humour.’
Georgia had been dating 21-year-old Texan skateboarder Cambryan Sedlick since splitting up with Levy, but it’s not clear if he’s joining her here.
Depends on his sense of humour, I guess.
When he turned 90, Stanley Baxter lamented how he was growing lonely as too many of his friends were predeceasing him.
Five years on, the comedian, who lives in North London, has found a constant companion in Miss Marple star Julia McKenzie. I hear she regularly travels from her Mayfair home to bring him his favourite dish, fresh crab.
A friend tells me: ‘Julia used to take Stanley to The Wolseley restaurant but now she comes to him.’
Confession of the week
Marco Pierre White, who became a household name as head chef on ITV show Hell’s Kitchen, has made a surprising admission: he hates television.
Indeed, he has so little interest in the gogglebox he won’t have one in his home. ‘I don’t watch TV,’ the former Michelin-starred cook tells me. ‘I don’t have a television in the house at all. Of course not. I like radios.’
White clearly follows the example of Noel Coward, who once remarked: ‘Television is for appearing on — not for looking at.’
Take a hike, says model Supernova
Natalia Vodianova, known as ‘Supernova’, is sick of people being obsessed with their phones so she’s organised a scheme to get strangers to meet up in person
Fancy a stroll with a top model?
Natalia Vodianova, known as ‘Supernova’, is sick of people being obsessed with their phones so she’s organised a scheme to get strangers to meet up in person.
She’s created an app called Locals.Org to connect people who can then meet up in the real world.
‘Every single product and every single business of the future is trying to get us on to our phones,’ she tells me at the launch party at Joshua’s Tavern in London. ‘
I love hiking, so I invited 50 people to go on a hike together on Hampstead Heath.’
London’s venerable gentlemen’s clubs appear to be struggling to attract younger members.
The Royal Automobile Club, in Pall Mall, which charges an initial £4,500 plus annual fees up to £1,958, has caused an outcry by slashing its discount for over-70s from 40 to 25 per cent.
‘They’re scaling back the benefits for the elderly because people are living longer,’ one member fumes. Can’t they get club president Prince Michael of Kent, 79, to raise some money from his Russian chums instead?
Crown star reveals naked ambition
Dashing Tobias Menzies made hearts flutter as Prince Philip in Netflix hit The Crown.
Now, his fans may be treated to seeing even more of him.
The actor, 47, tells me that he’s been inspired to strip off by Helena Bonham Carter’s toyboy.
Helena, 55, played his sister-in-law, Princess Margaret, in The Crown.
‘We are all friends,’ he tells me at a private gallery showing in London’s Soho. Helena’s boyfriend, Rye Dag Holmboe, 33, bared all recently for a show at the Victoria and Albert museum, involving a troupe of nude artists, writhing around.
This piqued the interest of Menzies, who reveals: ‘He showed me some materials from a very interesting piece of art he did in the V&A, he was naked with about 100 other people. I’d quite like to get involved with the naked art.’
Strictly star Neil Jones has a back-up plan for the day he’s forced to waltz away from the dancefloor.
‘I’m just about to start an apprenticeship as a tattoo artist,’ he tells me at a party in London’s Fitzrovia.
But don’t bother visiting him if you’re a sportsman or reality TV star wanting a vacuous inking.
‘It’s not just footballers, but people on Love Island and programmes like that who get tattoos with no meaning,’ he says. ‘If you’re going to get a tattoo, it’s going to be for life.’
Neil’s own life was thrown into disarray three years ago when his then wife, fellow Strictly pro Katya, was snapped kissing comedian Seann Walsh.