Tag Archives: Celebrity

‘Socially Significant People ‘, according to Tatler in 1992 How they have risen…or fallen (2)



Mark Thatcher.


Ex-Harrovian, ex racing driver and Texan resident now runs a consultancy company in Dallas called Grantham—a homage to his mother Maggie’s home town. The consultancy’s interests include an ostrich farm and two security companies. Maggie’s decision to request a baronetcy for Denis was seem by many as a method of paving Mark’s future for him.


And those ‘ many’ were probably right. Most journalists ( and not just journalists ) visibly bridle when they are obliged to use Mark Thatcher’s, totally unearned  aristocratic arrested at his home in Constantia, Cape Town ( see Darius Guppy in previous Jot) title. Since 1992 he has been on the front pages for all the wrong reasons. In 2004 he was and charged with contravening two sections of the country’s Foreign Military Assistance Act which bans South African residents from any foreign military activity. Ultimately, in a plea-bargaining arrangement, Thatcher pleaded guilty to being involved in setting up a coup. He was fined R3m and given a four-year suspended prison sentence. As a result of this conviction he was refused entry to the U.S. and Switzerland and told to leave Monaco, where he had been holed up.


Trinny Woodall


Pencil-thin Trinny is the ex-girlfriend of Constantine Niarchos. She is a perennially glamorous, vivacious girl-about-town who is said to make men faint with desire.

 Still slimmish, still ( at 58) glamorous. Not sure she still makes men ‘ faint with desire ‘, but perhaps she doesn’t need to make rich men want her as she is a lot richer than shewas in 1992 thanks to her almost overnight success on TV as the co-host ( with Susannah Constantine) of ‘What Not to Wear ‘, which ran from 2002 to 2005. She subsequently co-wrote a number of best seller spin offs from the programme. She seems to have inherited business acumen from her father, a banker, and her grandfather, Sir John Duncanson, who was head honcho of the British Iron and Steel Federation.


Julie Burchill


Joined the NME as a teenager. At the age of 31 she was earning $110,000 a year for airing her controversial views each week with the Mail on Sunday. She has written several collections of essays and a bestselling novel, Ambition, which is now being made into a film. Has a son, Bobby Kennedy, by first husband journalist Tony Parsons, and another by second husband, journalist Cosmo Landesman. She communicates only by fax. Continue reading

Poor Mr Kitching…

The worship of celebrity is certainly nothing new. Autograph collecting in Britain started to be a craze from the mid Victorian period, possibly due to the cult of personality that grew up around Prince Albert and Alfred Tennyson. If this letter from sometime MP W. S. Shirley is any indication, even the autographed letters of sitting and former members of parliament, however comparatively modest their achievements, became the target of collectors.

It would seem that Shirley’s lawyer friend, Alfred Goodall, was one such autograph-hunter, and so was sent whole letters that Shirley had accumulated while sitting in the Commons as MP for Doncaster. Here’s what Shirley wrote in his undated covering letter:

Dear Goodall,

One or two autographs you can have viz:
S. D. Waddy, Q.C. M.P.
A. G. Kitching ex M.P.
Sir Walter Foster, M.P.
B. Pickard, M.P.
 All, except Kitching’s will improve in value as time goes on…

Oh dear! What can Mr Kitching have done to have gone down so low in Mr Shirley’s estimation ? A bit of delving, however, reveals that Shirley was a pretty accurate talent spotter. S.D. Waddy was already a busy QC and went on to establish himself as a respected writer on theological issues. Sir Walter Foster was already a man of substance. But it is with B(enjamin) Pickard that Shirley hit gold.

Having begun his working life as a miner at the age of 12, Pickard rapidly rose, Scargill-like, through the ranks of the Yorkshire miners’ union and in 1885 was chosen in a Liberal/miners pact to represent Normanton in Parliament. Already very active in the International Federation of Mineworkers from 1890, in 1893 he led miners in the biggest industrial dispute the UK had ever known. Pickard died, still MP for Normanton, in 1904.

As for the alleged nonentity Kitching, Shirley turns out to have been right. A stockbroker when he entered Parliament as member for Maldon in 1885, Kitching  remained one when  he was flung out at the General Election a year later.

Makes you think. How many autographs of our current crop of MPs are or will be collected? [RMH]