David Dimbleby, 80, presented Question Time on BBC One for 25 years but says he no longer has time to watch it Having presented Question Time f
David Dimbleby, 80, presented Question Time on BBC One for 25 years but says he no longer has time to watch it
Having presented Question Time for 25 years David Dimbleby might be expected to take a keen interest in the show.
However, the distinguished broadcaster reveals he hasn’t watched the BBC One flagship programme since Fiona Bruce took over the hot seat in January.
‘I don’t watch it any more,’ he tells me. ‘I was on it for 25 years so I don’t want to sit there thinking, I should be there, back in the driver’s seat. That chapter is over so I haven’t watched it.’
Bruce was praised for her ‘dazzling debut’ at the helm of the show but some critics say she interrupts too often. Dimbleby, 80, says he is enjoying life after Question Time by podcasting and is busy as chairman of the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne.
‘I haven’t retired,’ he says. ‘I’m just moving into different fields as I’m actually working on a six-part podcast on Rupert Murdoch.
‘It’s very exciting and I’m loving it because I did Question Time for a quarter of a century and what I wanted to do is to do different kinds of communicating and broadcasting, the arts is one and the podcasting is another.
‘Maybe I’ll do some more television but at the moment I have lots of balls in the air, as you may say. I just don’t know which one I’m going to catch.’
Dimbleby is delighted that his son Fred, 21, is carrying the broadcasting torch by joining the ITV News traineeship scheme.
Fiona Bruce was announced by the BBC as the new presenter of Question Time and started the role in early January
‘I’m thrilled,’ he adds at the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019 Awards at the Science Museum.
‘I think it’s wonderful and I think it’s particularly thrilling that it’s ITN and not the BBC, so there’s no question that I pulled him any favours.’
Perish the thought.
Glenda Jackson takes on a new role at the Old Vic
She is arguably the greatest British stage and screen of her generation, with two ‘Best Actress’ Oscars to her name.
But now, aged 83, Glenda Jackson is taking on a new role in her stellar career.
She has agreed to join the board of trustees at The Old Vic, which has just suffered one of the most troubling chapters in its illustrious history after allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ were made against its former artistic director, Kevin Spacey.
‘It’s fantastic to have Glenda on board,’ an Old Vic insider tells me. ‘She loves The Old Vic.’
Oscar-winning actor Glenda Jackson, 83, has agreed to join the board of trustees at The Old Vic
Jackson gave up acting to pursue a political career, spending nearly 25 years as a Labour MP. She made her stage comeback at the Old Vic in 2016 playing King Lear.
Both her agent and The Old Vic say that they are unable to comment ‘at this time’ on her new role.
Glenda will presumably stand no nonsense, having once declared; ‘Some of the attitudes and egos one encounters in the Commons wouldn’t be tolerated for 30 seconds in a professional theatre.’
No one can accuse BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham of extravagance when it comes to her wardrobe. ‘I’m constantly rifling through sale rales,’ the 49-year-old says. ‘I got a great Paul Smith coat for £100 back in the day. It’s bright pink and way too long, but I love it and have worn it every winter for 20 years. I’m definitely a hoarder. I’m so pleased that my daughters have started digging out my old Eighties evening dresses and are not laughing at them. Well, most of them.’
The BBC invited lyricist Sir Tim Rice to appear on the comedy quiz Would I Lie To You?, only to drop him before his appearance
Sir Tim won’t take BBC snub lying down!
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice is somewhat bemused after the BBC invited him to appear on his favourite TV show, the comedy quiz Would I Lie To You?, and then dropped him before his appearance.
‘First accepted, now dropped,’ complains Rice. ‘No chance to strike a blow for elderly white males. Of course, how do I know they’re not lying?’
A BBC source tells me: ‘Clearly we would have liked Sir Tim on the show, otherwise we wouldn’t have approached him in the first place, but sadly we were unable to make it work this time.’
Lib Dem leadership hopeful Sir Ed Davey has a score to settle with former Labour frontbencher Ed Balls. The two men both attended Nottingham High School more than 30 years ago — Davey, now 53, was in the year above Balls. ‘I lent Ed my Medieval History A-level notes when we were at school together in the Eighties, and I’ve never seen them since,’ says Davey. ‘But I live in hope of getting them back one day.’
Globally renowned chef Ken Hom says he’s often mistaken for a holy man. ‘It tends to happen in airports,’ he says. ‘A smile of recognition from someone, and then they say: ‘Excuse me — are you the Dalai Lama?’ And I reply: ‘No, I’m just a cook.’ ‘
Ken Hom doing Tai Chi in Jingshan Park, Beijing. The globally renowned chef says he is often mistaken for the Dalai Lama in airports
Not everyone gets to be serenaded by Paul McCartney. Architect Sasha Gebler, son of novelist Edna O’Brien, reveals he was treated to a private performance in the Sixties.
‘One evening my brother and I were in bed, and my mother came in and she said: ‘There’s someone here to see you,’ and I went: ‘Really who?’ and it was Paul McCartney, and this was at the height of The Beatles’ fame, and he came and sat on the bed and sang us a little song and I think he made it up.
‘It was something like ‘Edna O’Brien, she ain’t lying, na, na, na, na . . .’ Anyway the next day we went to school and no one would believe us.’