Slebs on the stumps

In February 1997 plans were afoot for the Prime Minister to host a “Cool Britannia” reception at No. 10 (so that’s where we got the idea from!) According to Brandreth there was panic at the Department for National Heritage as it was then called – a classic John Majorism, that – because the guest list turned out to be:

“like a Luvvies for Labour Who’s Who”. The TV section features Harry Enfield, Martin Clunes, Neil Morrissey, Angus Deayton, Richard Wilson, Stephen Fry, and someone billed as ‘Andy Coulson, Sun journalist’. I agree to help find some additional names to help leaven the list. Clearly the Department of National Heritage (along with the rest of Whitehall) is readying itself for the new administration. Wouldn’t it be glorious if we managed to win after all!”

I don’t know how Brandreth got on with leavening the list, but on the 10th March he describes a “show-folk” party for the PM at the Ivy, with guests including Barbara Windsor, Frank Bruno, Joan Collins, Anneka Rice, Ruth Madoc, Anita Harris, Mike Yarwood…. as Brandreth says, “more panto land than South Bank”. (Incidentally the book is littered with references to soirees with Joanna Lumley and her husband, who are the Brandreths’ best friends, which does make you wonder rather.)

I look forward to seeing whether Cameron can improve on this showing. We’ll raise you Alex Ferguson, Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Bill Nighy and Cheryl Cole for starters…

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