SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Jeffrey Archer gives away cheese to Zoom guests

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: That’s ripe! Jeffrey Archer gives away cheese to his greedy Zoom guests after cancelling his annual Christmas party

He has befriended everyone from multi-millionaires to murderers, which is presumably one of the reasons that the great — and the sometimes not so good — fall over themselves to secure an invitation to his legendary Christmas parties.

But Jeffrey Archer’s era as the supreme host in Westminster society has now come shuddering to a close. Temporarily, at least.

‘Our annual Champagne and Shepherd’s Pie party is not taking place — for the first time in 47 years,’ the irrepressible Jeffrey alerts friends, in a missive sent jointly with wife Mary.

Dame Mary Archer and Lord Jeffrey Archer attend the launch of John Swannell’s photography exhibition at Le Caprice on February 5, 2019 in London. Lord Archer’s era as the supreme host in Westminster society has now come shuddering to a close. Temporarily, at least

The news will be a hammer-blow to those addicted to Archer’s showmanship (‘Past the Monet,’ he advises those seeking the bathroom at his stunning penthouse flat overlooking the Thames, ‘then left at the Picasso’), not to mention his largesse which, for decades, extended to seemingly limitless Krug champagne, at £150 a bottle.

But Jeffrey, author of more than 30 bestselling books, offers the consolation that they will hold ‘virtual parties’ on successive evenings: tonight and the night after.

He and Mary promise the ‘glorious Tenebrae choir will be giving you a rendering of three Christmas carols’. Then, with a cryptic flourish, add: ‘We have a special guest of honour flying in from the U.S. to address you all before he retires.’

Jeffrey (pictured at his home in London), author of more than 30 bestselling books, offers the consolation that they will hold ‘virtual parties’ on successive evenings: tonight and the night after

While chums try to decipher whether this means Donald Trump, the couple make it plain they are not neglecting those who have become accustomed to leaving the party with something under their arm. 

‘The more greedy among you will be asking: “Where’s my cheese?” ’ says the email, before going on to reassure partygoers that if they make contact, one will be left “for you at the concierge desk”.

If only Santa were so amenable.

With new Tier 3 restrictions forcing the curtain to come down prematurely on A Christmas Carol at London’s Dominion Theatre, the show’s star, Brian Conley, has been telling friends he would love to join The Magic Circle. ‘I’ve always loved magic and it would be another string to my bow,’ says Conley, 59. ‘But I need to do a lot more practising yet.’ 

Deliveroo rider West’s girl: Give me a tip…

Her dad is worth more than £10 million, but The Affair star Dominic West’s daughter, Martha, is having to work hard for extra cash this Christmas.

The 21-year-old Oxford graduate, whose mother is West’s former partner Polly Astor, is now working as a courier for the food delivery service, Deliveroo.

Dominic West and Martha at the 2019 Met Gala in New York City. The 21-year-old Oxford graduate, whose mother is West’s former partner Polly Astor, is now working as a courier for the food delivery service, Deliveroo

It doesn’t, however, sound like a long-term career plan as she’s already complaining on social media that she had to cycle ‘a total of nine miles plus waiting time for a total of £11’.

‘If you’re lazy enough to get one cup of bubble tea delivered to your flat in Kensington, tip your bleddy delivery gyal Ebenezer Scrooge,’ she moans about one of her customers.

He was a lion-hearted Test match bowler who, following retirement, went on to win Strictly. But Darren ‘Dazzler’ Gough senses that’s not quite enough for the good folk of his Yorkshire hometown, Barnsley.

He suggests locals are bemused that he and fellow Barnsley boy, Sir Michael Parkinson, chose to live elsewhere. ‘The folk from Barnsley are quite precious,’ says Gough. ‘I think they’re proud in certain moments but disappointed we left.’ He jokes that former Test cricket umpire Dickie Bird, who stayed, ‘is the one with the Freedom of Barnsley — and the statue’.

Museum snaps up Naomi’s £11 PPE outfit

Naomi Campbell’s status as a style icon has reached surreal new heights.

I learn the hazmat suit she wore at an airport earlier this year (to protect herself from Covid, pictured) will be exhibited next year at the Fashion Museum, in Bath, Somerset.

The hazmat suit worn by Naomi Campbell at an airport earlier this year (to protect herself from Covid) will be exhibited next year at the Fashion Museum, in Bath, Somerset

Campbell walks the runway in 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. Her status as a style icon has reached surreal new heights

‘I was surprised. I was like: “Really? Why would they want that?” But that’s what they want,’ admits Naomi, 50, who bought the £11 garment online. 

‘When I first wore one, people were acting like I was stealing supplies from the hospital. So I started saying: “I got it on Amazon! I got it on Amazon!” I bought it fair and square on the internet.’

Dawn French says that her daughter Billie, 29, whom she adopted with first husband Lenny Henry, has shown no interest in tracking down her biological parents.

‘I thought: “We’ll really have to prepare for when she wants to meet her biological family.” And yet I have a daughter who, despite all my determination that she should feel comfortable to do that, showed no interest.’

It’s Roman Fight Club for Fifi’s guy

Singer Bob Geldof’s daughters are used to life in the spotlight, and now his son-in-law is making a bid for acting stardom.

Bob Geldof’s son-in-law, political artist Andrew Robertson (pictured on the set of BBC drama Harlots), is making a bid for showbiz fame

Artist Andrew Robertson, 39, who wed Fifi — eldest daughter of Bob and the late Paula Yates — in 2016, is trying to break into the industry as an extra.

His credits include the BBC period drama Harlots, and Horrible Histories: The Movie — Rotten Romans starring Sir Derek Jacobi and Kim Cattrall.

‘Horrible Histories was a fun gig,’ says Andrew, sharing a picture of himself in character. ‘There is no better feeling than beating up Romans in the sunshine,’ he jokes. 

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