Celebrity wrap: Tennis, treasure and Terry Wogan

The latest celebrity news from London, featuring Maria Kirilenko, Johnny Depp, Coleen McLoughlin and more...

RUSSIAN BOMBSHELL

Let’s hope that 19-year-old Russian beauty Maria Kirilenko’s tennis is as good as her fashion sense. The blonde teenage beauty, who’s currently the world number 20, wowed the crowds at Wimbledon in her trendy tennis wear designed by Stella McCartney for Adidas.

Her model girl looks have helped to make Maria one of the princesses of the sports world. She’s already modelled for Vogue, and sponsors are eager to sign her up to promote their gear.

She first grabbed media attention when she beat her occasional doubles partner, Maria Sharapova, in the Chinese Open last year in Beijing. Other stars she’s beaten include the world number three, Nadia Petrova.

The talk at Wimbledon was that, if Kirilenko plays her cards right, she could soon earn as much dosh as her fellow Russian and close friend, Sharapova.

PIRATES CAPTURES TREASURE TROVE

Pirates of the Caribbean, based on a pleasure park ride, has become one of the most valuable Hollywood film franchises ever, earning Disney a cool $1bn bucks.

The London premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, starring Johnny Depp, Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom, was a hugely enjoyable event, with the stars looking gorgeous, as they strutted their stuff on the red carpet.

 Depp, as usual, stole the show.  Even Kiera Knightley, who looked amazing in a Gucci gold plunging evening dress, was put in the shade by Depp’s charisma and camp, pirate get-up. 

COLEEN CASHES IN

Coleen McLoughlin, arm candy of the notoriously short-fused footballer Wayne Rooney, wears head-to-toe designer glad rags and acres of bling bling. The alcohol-loving ladette has now secured £3 million to be the face of the Must Have label of the autumn-winter collection for George at Asda.

But will Coleen actually wear the strapless jet puff ball party number she’s modelling, which only costs £22, when she’s out with the other football WAGS?

Rooney’s girlfriend is more accustomed to buying evening frocks at £2,200 and designer jeans at £220.  She told me: “My family and I are Asda shoppers, so I know about the George range.”

So do most people in the UK. Today one in 10 of every item of clothing worn in the UK has a ‘”George at Asda” label. With cashmere sweaters for £28 and tartan mini dresses, kilts, egg-shaped skirts and boyfriend-style baggy trousers selling for under £10, I predict the collection will be a best-seller.

KIRSTY’S COUP

The news that broadcaster Kirsty Young has been chosen to succeed Sue Lawley as the presenter of Desert Island Discs, one of the most coveted jobs in British radio, does not come as a surprise to London’s media movers and shakers.

The easy on the eye, 37-year-old Scottish blonde has impeccable connections. Married to Nick Jones, owner of London’s achingly media-friendly Soho House and its Somerset country cousin Babington House, Kirsty’s been entertained by the Blairs at Chequers, and is great friends with Blair’s uber spin doctor, Alastair Campbell.

She’s also pals with Matthew Freud, whose company does the PR for Soho House.  No doubt he’ll be eager to get some of his clients on the show.

BURBERRY BACKS KATE

Fashion is a big bucks, fickle industry. Last year, Burberry dropped model Kate Moss as their face, after those notorious cocaine photos.

Fast forward to 2006 and Moss, who now claims to be a reformed character, has been signed once again by Burberry to lead their Autumn ad campaign. Kate appears alongside Brian Ferry’s sons, Ottis and Issac and model Stella Tennant and her daughter, Jasmine.

I think that Moss is a terrific model. But what kind of signal is this sending out? Signing her up for such huge campaigns trivialises the impact of drug use.

A leading Crown Prosecution Service lawyer said that the footage of Moss was an ‘absolutely clear indication’ that she had been using dugs and providing them to others. Yet the £250,000 investigation into her alleged cocaine abuse ended with the announcement that she would not be charged because police could not prove what drug it was.

What a farce!

WOGAN BACKED A WINNER

Terry Wogan was bewitched by the slick schlock glamour of the cult ‘80s TV show Dallas.  He probably did more than anyone to increase viewing figures in England, talking about the show for years on his BBC radio programme.

Wogan’s still enchanted by Larry Hagman, Linda Grey and Patrick Duffy, and recently had them on his show to talk about Dallas, which had 350 million viewers in 57 countries.

Duffy, who played oil tycoon Bobby Ewing, loves England, and will be appearing in pantomime this Christmas. “I’m delighted to be part of this great British tradition, and will be playing Buttons in Cinderella at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking,” the boyish looking Duffy told me.  Don’t know if Victoria Principal, who played his troubled wife Pam, will be there on opening night, but Wogan will certainly be there, cheering him on!

SHATNER THE INVINCIBLE

Is there no stopping William Shatner? The veteran actor, who’s conquered stage, film and television for 50 years is still a major league player in Hollywood.

His television series, Boston Legal, has won plaudits from critics; he earns a fortune advertising All Bran Cereal, and he steals the delightful computed-animated romp, Over the Hedge, where he and Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling and Steve Carell give voice to the delightful characters in the woodland.

Captain Kirk may be plumper of face and body now, but his skill at sending himself up is priceless.

CATHERINE’S CHOICE

According to my man, who hangs out in the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel, rumour has it that movie moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein are planning a new film of the life of American stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

Stephen Sondheim wrote the hit musical Gypsy for Broadway, and saw it turned into a film in the ‘60s, with Natalie Wood as the burlesque queen and Rosalind Russell as her overbearing mother.

Gypsy began removing her clothes at 16, and my spy says that Catherine Zeta-Jones, 36, will be offered the part of Mama Rose. I wonder how the Welsh wife of Michael Douglas feels about that.

“When an actress gets asked to play the mother, you know it’s the beginning of the end,” said the late, great David Niven.

THE DAUGHTER ALSO RISES

Fergie’s daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, with their penchant for low-cut frocks are the latest targets for the tabloid snappers. But Bob Geldof’s intrepid teenage daughters, Peaches and Pixie, are still way ahead in column inches.

The young sophisticates turned up at the London premiere of the Pirates of the Caribbean romp, Dead Man’s Chest, and were at the opening of The Bar at the Dorchester Hotel, rubbing shoulders with Jade Jagger, Shirley Bassey, retail mogul Sir Philip Green, and Kelly Osbourne.

With Kate Moss and Sadie Frost also in tow, I wonder if Sir Bob has read the riot act to them about the dangers of drinks and drugs.

APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE

  • September is the last chance to catch Tom Stoppard’s new play Rock’N’Roll, staring Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack and Rufus Sewell, which has received rave reviews both at the Royal Court and now the Duke of York theatre.

 

  • The revival of Richard O’Brien’s musical extravaganza, The Rocky Horror Show, is on at the Playhouse; John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical Cabaret takes to the stage at the Lyric.

 

  • Kevin Spacey returns to the Old Vic, starring in Eugene O’Neill’s classic play A Moon for the Misbegotten, directed by Howard Davies. Spacey hopes that O’Neill’s play about a third-rate actor, who drowns in hi dreams of stardom in alcohol, will turn the tide at the Old Vic box office.

 

  • The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess opens at the Savoy Theatre in November, with previews from 25 October. This new musical production has been adapted and re-worked from an opera, into a two-and-a-half-hour musical by Trevor Nunn, who also directs. Regarded as one of the landmarks of 20th century American musical theatre, the £3m production features a 60-strong company, with 40 in the cast, and a 20-piece orchestra.

CULTURE VULTURE

  • Angus McBean: Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, is a retrospective of one of the 20th century’s most significant British portrait photographers. McBean’s love of fantasy is captured in exquisite images of Audrey Hepburn and Vivien Leigh, and popular culture personalities like the Beatles and Vivienne Westwood.

 

  • Bejewelled by Tiffany 1837-1987 at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, Strand, is a gorgeous exhibition of jewellery and objects chronicling 150 years of Tiffany & Co. Hepburn would have approved.

 

  • Fantastic hands-on exhibits, scientific insights and animatronics rule at the Dino Jaws exhibition at the Natural History Museum. See what dinosaurs ate, and look at fossil evidence. Brilliant!

 

  • Modigliani and His Models is drawing them in at the Royal Academy, with an outstandingly beautiful show of portraits and sexy nudes.

PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE?

  • Benares, the posh Indian restaurant at 12 Berkeley Square, has no windows but pools of water, sculptured walls and carvings, that detract from the lack of natural light. Mel Gibson, Natalie Portman and Bollywood movers & shakers feast on the extravagant menu.

 

  • The Berkeley hotel’s Pret-a-Portea pastries are inspired by the latest catwalk designs. Fashionistas swear by the delicious vanilla and white chocolate Elizabeth Hurley beach bikini biscuits, and Anya Hindmarch’s coffee beach bag cookies, washed down with refreshing cups of camomile and fresh mint tea.

 

  • My mole in the windy city tells me that Chicago is about to allow dogs and people to eat together in restaurants. This will go down a treat with pooch owners Joan Rivers, Gerri Halliwell, Paris Hilton, Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John, but not everyone’s a happy bunny.

“I don’t want some foul-smelling mutt sniffing at my Jimmy Choos,” wails my well-coiffed informer. Didier Durant, the chef at Cyrano’s Bistro and Wine Bar, has a new dog-friendly menu, including bone marrow gateaux. What a treat for pampered bow wows!