Londoner’s Diary: The BBC has gone to the dogs, howls O’Grady


E was an unmistakeable voice of BBC Radio 2 for 14 years, but now Paul O’Grady doesn’t have a good word to say about the station and feels sorry for its new hires. “God help who’s going in,” he told The Londoner. “We were all paid a pittance!”

O’Grady, who found fame as drag queen Lily Savage before becoming a household name, left the BBC last month after he was forced to split his presenting slot with comedian Rob Beckett. His departure was part of a wider withdrawal of station veterans, including Steve Wright, who has given up his weekday afternoon slot, and Vanessa Feltz, who has left the station. “I think it might be something to do with money,” O’Grady told us at the opening night of Horse-Play at the Riverside Studios.

After his programming schedule was curtailed, O’Grady says: “I thought, ‘I can’t be bothered any more’.”

He still makes travel and animal shows but, when it comes to radio, he says: “I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”

Meghan vs Camilla?

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

/ Getty Images

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is often compared unfavourably with the Duchess of Cambridge but she also has royal competition from the Duchess of Cornwall. Sources who have been involved with the Women Of The World festival, which Camilla oversees, tell us she is more of a “feminist icon” than Meghan. “Camilla’s our patron, she is so feminist,” says one. “She has talked about domestic violence and she’s made some strong statements, stronger than Meghan! And more specific!”

Swanky Soho House awards

The Soho House Awards took place last night at the club chain’s hangout on The Strand. Actor turned author Stanley Tucci presented the awards for film, art, music, content and creative categories, while Star Wars actor John Boyega graciously accepted his cocktail-shaped trophy.

Also at the ceremony were I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel, model Evan Mock and actor Daniel Kaluuya, who took to the stage in a thick mustard coat and had the audience in stitches when he quipped, “I’m wearing it for cultural reasons!”.

Olympic diver Tom Daley looked dapper in a suit with matching ‘bagette’. He bopped along to live music with actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Paapa’s perplexing picture

Also at the awards was Paapa Essiedu, who had a starring role in Men, the summer’s wackiest blockbuster. But now the Shakespearian actor reveals he was somewhat confused by the film’s ending. “I don’t know what the f*** it was about,” he told us. In Paapa’s defence, the closing scenes of the film show a naked man giving birth to a young boy, who in turn gives birth to a vicar!

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