Saturday, 13 August 2022

Green room gossip

BORIS JOHNSON’S name came up at many festival events including, inevitably, his father Stanley’s talk. Jess Phillips MP told her audience: “If I’d been Theresa May I’d have gotten off that stage and handed that P45 to Boris.” Ken Clarke got an ovation when he said the Foreign Secretary knew nothing about business or the economy. Ditto Chris Patten who described him a as a “playdough Churchill”. Roddy Doyle was the angriest, saying: “Boris Johnson wrote 3,000 words about Brexit and didn’t mention Ireland, so he can **** off.”

MARY BERRY wore a sequinned lamé dress for her event at Phyllis Court Club, showing that you can be an octogenarian and still look a million dollars. She was wolf-whistled as she came on stage.

THE audience at the Brexit debate in the Kenton Theatre could hear a commotion outside and some thought there might be a protest going on. In fact, it was Virginia McKenna’s car, which had a flat battery and was being revived by a kind helper who had jump leads. Unfortunately, this set off the car alarm and they could not turn it off. In order not to disturb the event, her driver moved it down the street, still honking loudly.

MANY of the visiting authors could be seen eating at Henley’s restaurants. Hotel du Vin, where the organisers are based, was the busiest. Mary Berry went to The Spice Merchant with her interviewer Emma Freud after their event on Friday. Ken Clarke went to the Golden Ball at Assendon on Saturday night and to the Spice Merchant for lunch on Sunday.

THERE were some no-shows at the festival. Writer and producer Armando Iannucci was due to speak at the Kenton Theatre but had to postpone after a “family emergency”. Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee pulled out of her event at the same venue for “personal reasons”, while children’s author Michael Morpurgo was ill.

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