Sue Barker is having the last laugh on BBC bosses who axed her as presenter of A Question Of Sport after 24 years.
I can reveal the former tennis champion, who admits she was gutted to lose the role in the BBC’s relentless diversity drive, is taking her version of the show on the road with a nationwide Question Of Sport live tour, next Autumn.
Sue, 64, will be joined by popular team captains Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson, who were also dropped from the long-running series.
Sue, 64, will be joined by popular team captains Phil Tufnell (right) and Matt Dawson (left), who were also dropped from the long-running series
A pal of Sue’s says: ‘Demand for the tour is phenomenal. We’ve already booked 20 shows in arenas across Britain and they’ll even appear at Hammersmith Apollo.’
Barker says: ‘I cannot think of a better way to bring the curtain down on my time on the show than with a live tour. The live shows are always hilarious, the interaction with the guests and the audience so special, we cannot wait for this.’
Punters who pay a premium £166 VIP package can ‘meet and greet’ Barker and her team captains, and get a photo opportunity.
Punters who pay a premium £166 VIP package can ‘meet and greet’ Barker and her team captains, and get a photo opportunity. Pictured: Hammersmith Apollo
BBC Studios will benefit financially from the tour as it owns the QOS brand, so some might think it a bit rich the BBC is now profiting from the popular line-up it has axed. The trio are said to have been ‘blindsided’ by the decision to dump them, prompting accusations of ‘ageism’.
A BBC spokesman tells me: ‘A Question Of Sport Live is licensed from BBC Studios by event promoters Cuffe and Taylor who stage the tour with Live Nation.’
The shows are likely to clash with the BBC One A Question Of Sport, when it returns under a new host, tipped to be former England footballer Alex Scott.
But which version will attract the largest audience?
Businessman and bon vivant Sir David Tang is much missed but his widow, Lucy, maintained his sense of style to celebrate her 52nd birthday at the weekend.
She had a takeaway from his restaurant at The Dorchester, in Mayfair, sent on a two-hour journey to her home near Southend-on-Sea, Essex. ‘China Tang delivered to me in the countryside,’ Lady Tang says.
‘Thanks to my stepchildren, who know the way to my little beating heart. I’m a grateful stepmother and proud of my sons-in-law and the continuation of China Tang in lockdown 2.’
Meghan’s pal goes head over heels for lockdown yoga
If Meghan Markle is struggling to keep her exercise regime intact, she need look no further than her close friend, Jessica Mulroney (pictured), for inspiration
If Meghan Markle is struggling to keep her exercise regime intact, she need look no further than her close friend, Jessica Mulroney, for inspiration.
The brand consultant (pictured below with Meghan), who attended yoga classes with the former actress when she lived in Canada, has been showing off her inventive at-home workouts. ‘Walls can be very helpful. If you’re stuck at home, give it a try,’ suggests Jessica, 40, who lives in Toronto with her husband, TV presenter Ben Mulroney, and their three children.
She posted a video online of herself doing a handstand, placing her feet on the walls either side to keep her balance.
The brand consultant (pictured with Meghan), who attended yoga classes with the former actress when she lived in Canada, has been showing off her inventive at-home workouts
Nude row statue makes me proud, says Saffron
Lambasted for its ‘gratuitous nudity’, Maggi Hambling’s statue in honour of the late feminist Mary Wollstonecraft —unveiled in North London’s Newington Green — has won the support of Hollywood star Saffron Burrows.
‘Many thought the sculpture was a representation of Mary, when it actually embodies the spirit of a defiant woman rising,’ says the Troy star, 48, who is married to writer Alison Balian.
‘I grew up in Newington Green, which has continued to be a hotbed of radical action since Mary ran a school for girls there in the 1700s. I’m proud to say my parents have campaigned passionately for this tribute. I’m moved my children can visit the Green and discuss Mary’s legacy long after I’m gone.’
Maggi Hambling’s statue in honour of the late feminist Mary Wollstonecraft —unveiled in North London’s Newington Green — has won the support of Hollywood star Saffron Burrows (pictured)
Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas scores a ten for her financial figures after making almost £250,000 in the past year.
The former ballroom star revealed the perfect performance in accounts for her company Dance With Passion, which has only been going for a year. Shirley, 60, did so well the business was able to put away £130,000 for her pension fund, the paperwork said. But it was not all good news — she made so much money that she had to pay £53,000 in corporation tax and other tax of almost £20,000.
Supernova is right on the button
Supermodel Natalia Vodianova is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase buttoned-up.
Sharing a picture from a beach in Elafonisos, Greece, the mother-of-five, nicknamed Supernova, wore a brown cardigan covered in coloured buttons. The Vogue cover star, 38, was sporting the unusual-looking garment for a new Tory Burch campaign, which she was shooting with horses.
‘Their next stop will be Abu Dhabi, to film a new instalment in the Mission: Impossible movie series,’ she says. ‘And I thought that I had a busy schedule.’
Supermodel Natalia Vodianova (pictured) is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase buttoned-up
Keith Richards reveals he’s on the hunt for a lost recording of what became one of the Stones’s most famous songs. ‘I would like to find the original cassette tape on which I played Satisfaction the first time at night,’ says the 76-year-old. ‘A melody that came to me in my sleep.
That tape has been lost, although it is still being searched for.’ Keef, who recorded it in 1965 while the Stones were touring the U.S., adds: ‘You never know, things have a habit of suddenly appearing after many years. I hope I find it at the bottom of some suitcase.’