Nigel Farndale is an award-winning journalist who has written interviews for The Observer Magazine, The Times Magazine and The Sunday Telegraph Magazine. An anthology of some of his early interviews was published in Flirtation, Seduction, Betrayal – Interviews with Heroes & Villains

Nigel with Hilary Clinton (left) and with Sir Paul McCartney (right)


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Gillian Anderson

Forget the 'X-Files': Gillian Anderson, one-time ‘world’s sexiest woman’, is about to tackle Ibsen in a new West End production of 'A Doll's House' The first surprise is Gillian Anderson’s accent. I have heard about how she can slip from English to American as effortlessly ...
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Alan Ayckbourn

From the bow window of his drawing-room, more a belvedere of curved glass, Sir Alan Ayckbourn can contemplate the North Sea. It's the reason he moved his bed here, while convalescing after his stroke last year. Well, not his bed - a hydraulic one on ...
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Alexander Armstrong

Daytime TV, Saturday night talent shows, ads for shopping centres in Durham: is there nothing the more puppyish half of Armstrong & Miller won’t do? In one crucial respect, Alexander Armstrong, Xander to his friends, is not your typical comedian. I’ve met a few and ...
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David Attenborough

His last series woke up the world to the millions of tonnes of plastic in our oceans – at 92, Sir David Attenborough has a greater influence than ever. So what’s his take on the BBC pay controversy, antisemitism, voluntary euthanasia and Trump? Nigel Farndale ...
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Woody Allen

To meet Woody Allen in London is to meet a man violently out of context. Imagine stubbing your toe on the Statue of Liberty while out walking the dog on Tooting Common and you grasp the scale of the incongruity. He belongs in New York, ...
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Robert Altman

Robert Altman is a gambling-mad war hero with an eye for the girls. He's also one of the best - and most independent - American flim-makers around. So why's he making an English country-house drama? He talks to Nigel Farndale RUMOURS, and rumours of rumours, ...
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Marc Almond

My idea of living dangerously is staying up until 2.30am watching television and drinking whiskey when I know I have to drive to Wiltshire next morning for a wedding. Marc Almond's idea is to jump on a plane to New York, consume a wheelbarrow-full of ...
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Jeffrey Archer

The lift glides to a halt at the penthouse suite on the 13th floor. A butler leads the way along a panelled corridor and into a spacious, glass-walled living-room. Lord Archer is standing in a rhombus of sunlight, his back to the glinting spires of ...
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James Blunt

It's not the sight of the groupies that haunts me, but the sound, or rather the absence of sound, as they ghost past us on their way up the stairs to the dressing-room. It takes me a moment to figure out that the reason they ...
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Cherie Blair

'Vulgar, self-pitying, greedy' - impressions of Cherie Blair weren't exactly sympathetic during her time as the Prime Minister's wife. But two years after she left Downing Street, the human rights lawyer is frank, funny and (whisper it) quite charming From the moment she enters the ...
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Melvyn Bragg

Pavarotti wanted new boots; Elizabeth Taylor, dim lighting; Francis Bacon, drink - lots of it. As 'The South Bank Show' celebrates its 30th birthday, Nigel Farndale meets its presiding genius, Melvyn Bragg - and talks to some of his best-known friends, fans and critics When ...
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Charley Boorman

Charley Boorman held Angelina Jolie as a baby and had starred in several Hollywood films before he left school. Yet today he's best known as Ewan McGregor's globe-trotting wing man. How will he fare travelling the world on his own? Nigel Farndale joins him in ...
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Burt Bacharach

As the songwriter's work is reimagined in a new London show, he talks to Nigel Farndale about the price of fame Before I meet Burt Bacharach at his hotel in London, I sit in on rehearsals for a new show of his music, a montage ...
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Honor Blackman

The decaf coffee that Honor Blackman orders when she arrives at the café near her home in Notting Hill is not, apparently, one of the secrets of her eternal youth, secrets that people always ask her about. “No,” she says. “It’s just I don’t sleep ...
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Jo Brand

There is a photograph of Jo Brand as, I would guess, a nine year-old, wearing a floral dress and looking slim and pretty. No, more than pretty. With a plait of hair over one shoulder and, with her big eyes and big smile, she looks ...
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Tony Benn

With its white picket fence, Labour red front door and brown plaque commemorating his late wife Caroline, Tony Benn’s house in Notting Hill is something of a local landmark. He has lived here since 1952, mostly downstairs in the basement. There is a small printed ...
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Julie Burchill

When Julie Burchill opens the door to her studio flat, a short distance from the sea front in Hove, she is wearing sunglasses, a black top, a black skirt, black tights… and a white and blue foot brace. ‘This? David Beckham had one of these ...
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Kevin Bacon

There is an etiquette to meeting a Hollywood star for breakfast. Certain do’s and don’t. Do be on time. Don’t be late. That’s about it, really... Unless the Hollywood star is Kevin Bacon. Here you have some latitude, as I discover when I arrive a ...
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Pierce Brosnan

Where do we stand on Pierce Brosnan? Opinion, well, the little of it I canvassed before meeting him, seems divided. Men are unexpectedly harsh. He's too smug, they say. Too knowing of his good looks. Clearly spends a couple of hours a day working on ...
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Tim Berners-Lee

It's not the tilting columns that make you smile, diverting though they are. Nor is it the mirrored walls that swerve and collide in random curves and playful angles. What amuses, as you walk through MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, is the yellow ...
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Russell Brand

Before I meet Russell Brand I meet his cat. At least, I'm assuming it's his cat because: a) I'm sitting in his kitchen in Hampstead, and b) The cat has one of those diamanté-studded collars on it, the sort of thing that Brand himself might ...
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Jim Broadbent

Like a patient in a dentist's waiting room, a patient regretting the neglect of his gums, Jim Broadbent sits on the sofa and stares at his shoes. I have been warned by his publicist that he is 'painfully shy but friendly when he warms up', ...
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Joan Bakewell

Her liberal attitude to sex, says Joan Bakewell, was formed when she was 17 and her mother burned a picture of her kissing a boy. 'If I'm told something can't be done, it makes me determined to prove it can.' Nigel Farndale meets her For ...
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Shirley Bassey

Though the sun is already low in the sky, the day is young for Dame Shirley Bassey. She rarely manages to get to sleep before 4am, her body clock having been irreparably skewed by all those years of playing late-night cabaret, and she rarely rises ...
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Cate Blanchett

This is Cate Blanchett's time. The most exciting actress to emerge in recent memory, she's now starring in no fewer than five films, including the wartime romance Charlotte Gray. So why can't she bear to see herself on screen? Nigel Farndale meets her IF there ...
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George Best

Gone are the bloated and waxy features of the career inebriate; gone the grey beard, the lank and lifeless mullet, the shell suit, gone, all gone. Indeed, as George Best steps out of his dark-windowed Range Rover he looks lean, tanned and casual in black ...
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Geoffrey Boycott

There are many reasons to feel queasy at the prospect of interviewing Geoffrey Boycott - but the most obvious are that he's rude, obnoxious and, when he's in a good mood, charmless. Such a pity he has to be morbidly fascinating as well. Or at ...
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Tony Booth

The musty air of Manchester's Portico Library has just been pricked, incongruously, with the sharp smell of vinegar. It is wafting off the plate of fish and chips with peas that Tony Booth, father-in-law to the prime minister-in-waiting, is busy polishing off. The domed and ...
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Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello is a doting father, friend to presidents and writer of 'proper' love songs - but he's still got the same old fire... On a roof terrace overlooking Manhattan, an awning flaps lazily in the breeze. The man sitting underneath it is wearing sunglasses, ...
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Jose Carreras

'The Three Tenors meant people were no longer afraid to go to the opera' I meet Jose Carreras in his hometown of Barcelona - at a youthful 69, he looks pretty much as he did at the height of his fame in his 40s, the ...
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Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen earns £1m a year and is mobbed by screaming fans wherever he goes. Why? Chess… and attitude. Nigel Farndale meets the 22-year-old Norwegian who next month aims to become world champion Over the course of an hour, on a cloudless afternoon in Oslo, ...
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Jimmy Carr

He doesn’t drink, rarely eats after 6pm and approaches every joke as if he were solving a puzzle. But for all his discipline, does Jimmy Carr sometimes go too far? Sitting opposite me in a dimly lit bar in north London is a 39-year-old comedian ...
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Brian Cox

The greatness of the Foo Fighters and the runaway success of astronomy with a Northern accent - it's all part of a bigger picture, says Nigel Farndale The man from Barnes has a lot to answer for. According to Home Office files, declassified last week, ...
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Michael Caine

Sir Michael Caine has told how he was woken in his hotel bed by fellow film legend Brigitte Bardot. One was an up-and-coming British actor, the other was already a famous siren of the silver screen. When Sir Michael Caine met Brigitte Bardot in the ...
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Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky's radical views on language found him global fame. 50 years on, the professor disusses death threats, the internet and why he thinks Obama was marketed like a brand of toothpaste. In an almost empty hotel bar, around the corner from the British Museum, ...
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Fifty Cent

Like a formation of geese ahead of an approaching cold front, an entourage arrives. It includes several hefty bodyguards with wires coiling from their ears and sunglasses shielding their eyes. Minutes later there is indeed a change in the atmosphere; a crackle of static. Perhaps ...
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Jung Chang

Among the Chinese artefacts in Jung Chang's Notting Hill drawing-room there is a large terracotta horse and a 19th-century painting of "big noses" - as she was taught to call foreigners - kow-towing to an emperor in the Forbidden City. "They are to remind me ...
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Joan Collins

She has scarlet lips and toenails, a bouffant wig and a deep commitment to gossip and shopping. Then there's her distinguished career in trashy films and literature. Is Joan Collins superficial? Nigel Farndale finds out Dominating one wall of Joan Collins's apartment on the Upper ...
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Hillary Clinton

In her only British newspaper interview, Hillary Clinton admits she has had to take 'a long, hard look at her marriage, my husband and myself'. Does that mean she is now ready to run for President? She talks to Nigel Farndale (Telegraph 18 Jun 2003) ...
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Will Carling

His family, in a spirit of affection no doubt, nicknamed him The Little Shit. One of his first long-term girlfriends called him Big Willy, or at least that is how he signed himself in letters to her. The players in the England rugby team he ...
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Ronnie Corbett

A plate of shortbread arrives, and Ronnie Corbett pauses for a second or two as he regards it out of the corner of his eye. He continues talking (or 'blethering' as he calls it) about High Hopes, his autobiography, but he's still distracted by the ...
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Max Clifford

You know that creepy feeling you sometimes get of being watched? Well, that's what it's like all the time when you're with Max Clifford. It's not him doing the watching, it's hidden cameras, as if you're taking part in The Truman Show. The acting is ...
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Evan Davis

Three men in suits are sitting by the window in a pizza restaurant near Earls Court. 'Hey,' they say excitedly, as they look out on to the street,' there's Evan Davis.' Not: 'Hey, there's that bloke off Dragons' Den,' or 'Hey, there's the BBC's economics ...
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Esther Duflo

Meet Esther Duflo, the rock-climbing professor tipped for a Nobel prize, whose radical thinking on global poverty has earned her the ear of the world’s most powerful politicians and philanthropists. Just don’t ask her to crack a joke. I am trying to decide whether or ...
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Charles Dance

Given that Charles Dance is an actor, it shouldn't come as a surprise that his manner off stage is quite actorly. Yet somehow it does. I suppose it is because he is often cast as the reserved, taciturn, patrician type, while, in person, he is ...
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Clarissa Dickson Wright

Clarissa Dickson Wright, one half of the Two Fat Ladies and a former alcoholic, is more likely to carry a shotgun than a handbag. But, as Nigel Farndale discovers, she still cries easily There is a bluntness to Clarissa Dickson Wright, which disarms as much ...
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Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan is a happily married, Guardian-reading feminist with a daughter. So how come he’s so persuasive as a serial killer in The Fall? And what about all this bondage sex in Fifty Shades of Grey? By Nigel Farndale The photo shoot done, Jamie Dornan ...
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Kirk Douglas

TELEGRAPH, 9 DECEMBER 2016 Kirk Douglas celebrates his 100th birthday today. For this interview, originally published in July 2011, Nigel Farndale spoke to the Hollywood star about his remarkable life No sooner does Kirk Douglas sit down on the silk-covered sofa in his drawing room ...
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Jack Dee

There is a story in Jack Dee’s autobiography, Thanks for Nothing, which has been haunting me since I read it. Because he was a 'very low achieving pupil’ at Pilgrims’ prep school in Winchester, he was picked on by one of his teachers. This teacher ...
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Anne-Marie Duff

Perhaps it’s because rehearsals haven’t been going so well — ‘It’s been one of those “two steps back” mornings’, Anne-Marie Duff says as she sits shivering in a warm breeze that gusts over the rooftop terrace at the National Theatre. Perhaps it’s because she’s insecure ...
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Laurie David

Two helicopters curve along the Potomac River before rising up over the Lincoln Memorial, blotting the sky and strangling the conversation. ‘Hey George!’ Laurie David shouts as it becomes apparent that they are the presidential helicopters. ‘Watch the goddam film!’ The helicopters bank towards the ...
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Richard Dawkins

I think Oxford University's Professor of the Public Understanding of Science has gone into shock - traumatic hysteria, to judge by his frozen features. But he has only himself to blame. He shouldn't go around popularising science in the way that he does. It was ...
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Tam Dalyell

The whole point about a politician like Tam Dalyell, if you face the thing squarely, is that he lives, plays, breathes, eats and sleeps politics. So, to encounter his shambling figure in corridors other than those of the Palace of Westminster would be an aberration, ...
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Nigel Dempster

The thought that there may be a real-life Nigel Dempster out there somewhere seems preposterous. Scary even. It's because he's been doing what he does for so long: 35 years. His name has entered the language as a synonym for gossip and because he has ...
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The Dalai Lama

A river of orange water is tumbling hysterically down the steep sidestreets of Dharamsala, cleansing them of manure left by the sacred cows that roam free here. It's also carrying off the empty drink cans and food wrappers discarded by the thousands of 'spiritual tourists' ...
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Clarissa Eden

Sitting in an upright chair in her large, high-ceilinged drawing room in west London, Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon, seems slight and wan, as if painted in watercolour rather than oil. It's a trick of the light, perhaps - no electric lamps are on and, ...
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Aaron Eckhart

Aaron Eckhart plays baddies best - and his latest role, as a champion of the tobacco industry, reaches new depths. 'I think if I chose to, I could manipulate pretty much any room I entered,' he tells Nigel Farndale 'Look at them,' Aaron Eckhart says, ...
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Tamara Ecclestone

With her £1 million bathtub and 100 (and counting) pairs of shoes, Tamara Ecclestone seems to want for nothing – well, nothing except the love of an honest man. Nigel Farndale meets an heiress in search of her happy-ever-after. Before I meet Tamara Ecclestone, I ...
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Rupert Everett

To understand the man, Freud believed, you must look to the child - and as a child Rupert Everett was asked to leave his prep school for ‘being difficult’. The reason given for his expulsion from drama school several years later was ‘insubordination’. It would ...
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Richard E Grant

In a small, private cinema in Soho, Richard E Grant is introducing Wah-Wah, the autobiographical film he has written, directed and, to all intents, produced (though that’s a long story). ‘The audiences we have tested it on so far have both laughed and cried,’ he ...
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Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco has made a name - and fortune - for himself in the role of thinking man to the masses. Not that we understand what he is going on about most of the time. Nigel Farndale asks him to explain himself 'Mooo! Mooo!' Umberto ...
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Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin's art is self-obsessed, profane, attention-seeking and frequently funny. And the woman herself? Nigel Farndale meets the artist as she prepares to make an exhibition of herself in Oxford At last the entry buzzer sounds and Tracey Emin's face - foreshortened, pinched, small behind ...
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Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry is our unflappable king of cool, so stylish it's said he should be hanging in the Tate. Then last year he was accused - wrongly - of praising the Third Reich. 'It was very scary, and very ugly,' he tells Nigel Farndale. The ...
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Nigel Farage

He's compared a fellow politician to a 'damp rag', had an extra-marital fling - and survived a plane crash. How facing death has softened the UKIP leader - a little... Even Nigel Farage’s enemies, of which he has an impressive collection, would have to admit ...
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Brian Ferry

The fastidiousness should not surprise, yet somehow it does. When two mugs of tea are placed on the wooden table in front of him, Bryan Ferry leans forward and lifts them straight off again. 'Can we get a couple of magazines to put these on?' ...
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Mike Figgis

A man distracted by his washing machine, that is Mike Figgis when I meet him in his North London flat on an overcast afternoon. He is sitting on a laundry bin in front of the machine, staring gloomily into its port hole, perhaps in the ...
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Jane Fonda

Imagine trying to write an obituary for Jane Fonda. Where would you start? Is she best known as the archetypal 1960s sex kitten Barbarella, or the clench-fisted 1970s political activist Hanoi Jane? Or did her defining moment come in the 1980s when she pulled on ...
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Stephen Fry

Upstairs at the Café de Paris, a nightclub in Piccadilly, an unattended mobile phone is ringing. More accurately, the mobile is barking out the words, 'Stephen, answer the sodding phone. Stephen, answer the sodding phone. Stephen...' The velvety bass voice is unmistakeably that of its ...
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Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson is a maverick Oxford don who is far too young, successful and right-wing to enjoy the unanimous approval of his colleagues. He talks to Nigel Farndale about 'the warfare state', his new book, and why an advance of £600,000 is no big deal ...
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David Frost

It's like wading across a river of warm, bubbling molasses, interviewing Sir David Frost. The current is tugging, part of you wants to drift with it, another part fears you might drown. The stuff of anxiety dreams, in other words. Sir David is slouched on ...
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Graham Fellows

The drive to Louth in Lincolnshire has taken me five hours. I've come to interview Graham Fellows - comedian, actor, one-hit wonder - but it isn't going well. His mind keeps wandering. As do his legs. He lives in a rambling old house - a ...
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Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth's two terriers hadn't run off on that cloudless June morning, many rabbits who later died would have stayed alive, and the world would have taken a different course. But the Jack Russells of War are a law unto themselves. The scent of a ...
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Jake Gyllenhaal

He may have a large head, but at least it is a film actor's large head, one that casting directors and cameramen favour. The 'he' I refer to is Jake Gyllenhaal, pronounced 'Jill-en-hall'. The favouritism is to do with the body-to-head ratio: think Tom Cruise ...
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David Gilmour

David Gilmour is the model rock-star plutocrat - modest, creative, generous. Until the talk turns to money... and the Rolling Stones. 'How much do they need?' he asks Nigel Farndale. 'It's like a sexual compulsion'. An arrow of barking geese spirals down towards a lake ...
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Alison Goldfrapp

She’s a pop phenomenon whose loud, flamboyant stage presence has inspired everyone from Madonna to Lady Gaga. But in person, her silences speak volumes If June 6, 1944, is the longest day, my hour in the company of Alison Goldfrapp may qualify as the second ...
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Boy George

The middle-aged man who answers the glass door could be anyone, though the fact that Boy George has owned this house on a hill in Hampstead for the past 16 years does narrow the possibilities. And it definitely is his house because on the gate ...
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Ricky Gervais

How would he like to die? What's happening with The Men From The Pru? And why is he wearing pyjamas in a graveyard? Our greatest comedy misery-guts reveals all As well as being a protection from the unsettling glare of his fame, the Giorgio Armani ...
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Art Garfunkel

Forty-five years after Simon & Garfunkel split up, the singer is still consumed with bitterness I hear Art Garfunkel before I see him, singing to himself as he drifts across the hotel lobby in a blue T-shirt, heading for the lifts. At 73 his golden ...
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Martin Gilbert

An author should be allowed his vanities. In the case of the historian Sir Martin Gilbert, the vanities fill two whole shelves of his library in North London. These are the books he has written since he graduated from Oxford in 1960, more than 75 ...
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Antony Gormley

How did an academic child of privilege and would-be Buddhist monk become Britain’s ‘artist of the people’? Antony Gormley talks to Nigel Farndale Because of their human scale, the half-dozen sculptures waiting to be shipped out of Antony Gormley’s cavernous studio in north London seem ...
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Richard Griffiths

As every article that has ever been written about Richard Griffiths mentions his weight, I thought it might be highly original and possibly even witty to see if I could write one without mentioning it. Alas, as soon as he enters the room - a ...
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Ian Hislop

When there are no cameras around, Ian Hislop wears black-rimmed glasses rather than contact lenses. And in between series of Have I Got News For You he sometimes grows a full-set beard – Naval in style and grey in colour. There is a difference, then, ...
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David Hockney

The kidney-shaped swimming-pool is clue enough. It has been painted with squiggles so that if empty, it would look full, its surface rippling in the breeze, glinting in the sun. Overhanging it are giant palm fronds and cacti and, beyond them, a pink-walled house with ...
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Christopher Hitchens

'right wing Leftie' and raconteur, hates God and bores. But most of all, he hates losing an argument... Christopher Hitchens likes to point out, he never misses a deadline, or a plane – despite his fondness for ‘strong waters’ and his disinclination to wear a ...
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Bob Hoskins

Lovely scented soap, that’s what Bob Hoskins likes about this restaurant around the corner from his house in North London. I know this because when he returns from what Americans call the bathroom he says: 'They have lovely scented soap ’ere.’ He doesn’t call it ...
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Sofia Helin

Ja! Ja! Ja! She’s back! As Sofia Helin plays detective Saga Norén in The Bridge for the final time, Nigel Farndale meets her in Stockholm. Where else? As viewers of the Scandi noir series The Bridge will know, Sweden is a land without sunshine or ...
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Richard Hammond

It’s six months since his car came off the road at 120mph and burst into flames during the filming of The Grand Tour. Now Richard Hammond is haunted by the knowledge that his daughters might have grown up without him. By Nigel Farndale You would ...
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Sheila Hancock

In 2002 Sheila Hancock was left heartbroken by the death of her beloved husband, John Thaw. Eight years on and enjoying a new lease of life, she discusses sports cars, swearing on live TV and why she's saying 'yes' to everything The Sheila Hancock who ...
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Harriet Harman

At first I assume the references to ‘the Leader’ are meant as a joke at Harriet Harman’s expense. Westminster is buzzing with rumours that she is positioning herself for a coup against Gordon Brown and someone from her office has been sending me emails referring ...
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John Hurt

Everyone seems to have a John Hurt story. A friend of mine who works in the film industry once had to assist him as he made his way unsteadily from a hotel bar to a waiting taxi. A husband and wife I know bumped into ...
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Jools Holland

When Jools Holland's not suppressing rebellions in Kent, he's listing the service stations he's visited or playing boogie-woogie. Whatever happened to rock'n'roll? asks Nigel Farndale Like a water spider skitting across the surface of conversation, that's Jools Holland. It's to do with his wandering focus: ...
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Ron Howard

I wouldn’t say that meeting Ron Howard was an anti-climax, exactly. I did not, after all, expect the 52-year-old, Oscar-winning director and movie mogul to be like his friend Russell Crowe, an exciting mixture of bluntness and volatility. Nor did I imagine him to be ...
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David Hare

Don't let his title and designer wife fool you: Sir David Hare wasn't always the labelled-up, Oscar-nominated pillar of the establishment he is today. It would take a stronger will than mine to resist commenting on David Hare's shoes. They are like a schoolboy's: scuffed, ...
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Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman is a Hollywood legend but is jealous of Hugh Grant. What other insecurities does he have? Nigel Farndale meets him On a cloudy afternoon in London, I show Dustin Hoffman a newspaper headline. He feels in his pocket for steel-rimmed glasses, slips them ...
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Seamus Heaney

There can be few sights as poignant as that of an Irish poet struggling to find the right word on a slate-grey afternoon in London. And not any old Irish poet, the Irish poet: Seamus Heaney, 'Seamus Famous' as he is known in his native ...
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William Hague

On the wall of William Hague's office in Smith Square hangs a large oil painting of some friendly-looking sheep. It's by Mackenzie Thorpe, a Yorkshire artist who found national fame in 1998 when the Hagues reproduced one of his canvases on their Christmas card. 'Everyone ...
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William Hurt

Mathematicians say that if you halve each pace in crossing a room you will never reach the opposite wall. I'm beginning to think this true of crossing the Charles Bridge in Prague with William Hurt walking beside me. He has a slow, flat-footed gait and, ...
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Charlie Higson

It's not just ducks and overweight people who waddle. As Charlie  Higson - 5ft 10in of solid but unfleshy television personality - heads towards me across the floor of an Indian restaurant in Soho, I see he does it, too: feet splayed, hips forward as ...
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Stephen Hawking

Possibly the greatest, certainly the most famous scientific thinker since Einstein is sitting in his motorised wheelchair grinning at me. 'Look behind the door,' Professor Stephen Hawking says in his computer-generated, Dalek-like voice. I look. There's a framed black-and-white photograph hanging there, which shows him ...
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James Hewitt

In the outer morning room of a gentlemen's club in Pall Mall, a tall, languid figure stoops over a table. The day's papers are fanned out in front of him. As he browses, he purses his lips and nods to himself. I can't believe it, ...
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Peter Hitchens

The mother of three - mild -mannered, tall, greying Louise Brooks bob - is wondering whether she should really be telling me all this: about how she met her husband when they were both Trotskyite students at York University in the early Seventies; how they ...
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Michael Holroyd

The air of madness in Michael Holroyd's study is so charmingly baroque it must be contrived. Every surface is strewn with papers; two wicker armchairs have come to rest, like driftwood, near the desk; there is a sock by a table leg; and, among the ...
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Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston is pretty sure I'll know the story, but tells it anyway. 'It's about - oh, nuts, who was that British actor in Room at the Top? Laurence Harvey - it's about Laurence Harvey. When he was doing Romeo he called Olivier and said, ...
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Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci - co-creator of The Day Today, Alan Partridge, The Thick of It, and now In The Loop - is an erudite classical music aficionado who raised the bar for swearing on the BBC. Yet no one (except Alastair Campbell) has a bad word ...
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Yusuf Islam

To call it a split personality would be to overstate the case, but there is a measure of contradiction pulsing through Yusuf Islam’s character. I see it when he arrives for a photographic shoot at Leighton House, near Holland Park in west London. The gallery ...
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Eddie Izzard

Transparent and inflatable, Eddie Izzard's sofa is not so much a piece of household furniture as a plaything in a crche. It's a bouncy sofa. A comedy sofa. One that makes rubbery squeaking noises whenever you move. I've been invited to sit on it by ...
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Rachel Johnson

She may be Boris’s sister, but Rachel Johnson is about to hit the hustings in her own right, on the opposite side of the Brexit divide. Nigel Farndale meets her at the home of the most famous family in British politics When I meet Rachel ...
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Derek Jacobi

Billy Graham put him off religion. Laurence Olivier taught him etiquette. And as for Princess Margaret? Don’t ask. Sir Derek Jacobi tells all It would take a will stronger than mine to resist comparing Sir Derek Jacobi to the Staffordshire porcelain figurines which dominate the ...
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Terry Jones

Father of a two-year-old, medieval historian, and now champion of church conservation - Terry Jones talks about the unlikely turns his life has taken since the Monty Python years. Just as an ex-Beatle will always be an ex-Beatle, so an ex-Python will forever be an ...
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Quincy Jones

He produced the biggest album ever, befriending movie stars as well as presidents. At 77, Quincy Jones is in no danger of running out of stories. After a few minutes in Quincy Jones’s engaging company I begin to see why his PR people are so ...
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P.D. James

'I have lived a very happy and fulfilled life' For the briefest of moments, as she plays with her hearing aid, PD James resembles Mrs Richards, the gimlet-eyed battleaxe in Fawlty Towers whose demands for ‘a view’ prompt Basil’s ‘herds of wildebeest’ speech. This is ...
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Ashley Jensen

To read the Guardian’s ‘corrections and clarifications’ column is to tap a rich seam of unintended comedy: ‘We misspelled the surname of actor Ashley Jensen as Jenson in a preview of the new Ricky Gervais comedy series Extras,’ one entry began. ‘An accompanying photo caption ...
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Mick Jagger

He's a restless man, Mick Jagger. Having risen from his sofa to check for texts on his mobile, he sits bonelessly back down, tucks his legs underneath him, ploughs his hands up through his thick, glossy hair and then rises once more, this time to ...
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Peter Jay

In vain would you search for Peter Jay in the soulless corridors of Television Centre, White City, west London. The 63-year-old economics and business editor of the BBC prefers to work from his farmhouse on the outskirts of Woodstock, Oxfordshire. As well he might. Blackbirds sing ...
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Glenda Jackson

The transport minister opens the door, plucks the cigarette from her lips and says: 'Be with you in a sec. I'm just on the phone to Cherie.' As she hastens back to her desk she steps out of her shoes and hops on one stockinged ...
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Elton John

Witnessing Elton John greet his burly, unshaven manservant with a peck on the cheek and a fruity 'How are you, dear?' was more than I had any right to expect. But then he sat on his piano stool, placed his fingers on the keyboard, and ...
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Clive James

The dimly lit back room of the Japanese restaurant is empty save for some scruffy codger hunched up in the corner, sitting sideways on, lost in his thoughts. At 56, it seems, Clive Vivian Leopold James has become smaller than life. Only when I am ...
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Imran Khan

Imran Khan: 'A Muslim is a Muslim: the terms extremist and moderate apply only to a man's political views, not to his religious beliefs' Sixty years ago this week, a British lawyer drew a line across a map and created a country, Pakistan. Nearly a ...
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Stephen King

Seven years after a van ran into him, leaving him with a dislocated hip and 25 broken bones, Stephen King still aches. His gait is stiff and awkward. His lank frame is still a little hunched. But it seems to suit his manner: a curious ...
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Diana Krall

For entirely selfish reasons I have been trying hard to like Diana Krall. I go to see her in concert, you see. I have all her albums. And the next time I go to see her in concert, or play one of her albums, I ...
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Henry Kissinger

After weeks of delicate negotiation with his diary secretary, an hour is found in Henry Kissinger's schedule. Then his 97-year-old mother, who he believes was responsible for everything he achieved in his life, dies. The interview is postponed. And now, a fortnight later, it looks ...
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Andrew Lloyd Webber

His 1986 musical gave the world its darkest hero and broke every box office record going. Now, amid feverish anticipation, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom’ is returning. But is his creator coping with the pressure? There are two Andrew Lloyd Webbers, separated by a hyphen. There ...
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Annie Lennox

It is Annie Lennox weather outside – the bruised clouds, the chill, the darkness at noon – and we are contemplating it from under a long skylight, in the empty café of a north-west London art gallery. 'I come from a place in Scotland that ...
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Christopher Lee

Sir Christopher Lee: 'I’m softer than people think' Upstairs at the Bafta building on Piccadilly there is a wall lined with black-and-white stills from David Lean films, mostly from the Forties and Fifties. As he walks past them, Sir Christopher Lee, the 88-year-old screen legend, ...
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Gina Lollobrigida

In Rome the souvenir shops reproduce Gina Lollobrigida’s face on keyrings, pens and mugs, even now. They are movie stills, mostly, from the 1950s and 60s, a time when she was as much an Italian icon as the Vespa — Gina the bare-foot gypsy girl, ...
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James Lovelock

As you enter Professor James Lovelock’s whitewashed cottage on the border of Devon and Cornwall, you see a contraption on a stand, a small box with a few curved wires. It’s an invention of his, one that should be in a museum. He used it ...
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Rush Limbaugh

Although Rush Limbaugh doesn't actually work from a bunker, he does have a bunker mentality. His studio is on the third floor of a (purposefully) anonymous building 100 yards off the white sands of Palm Beach, Florida, and about a mile from his gated mansion ...
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Courtney Love

For the record, I didn’t make Courtney Love cry. She made herself cry, every time she mentioned Frances, her 15-year-old daughter from her marriage to Kurt Cobain, the frontman of the grunge band Nirvana. As she raised the subject four times over the course of ...
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Doris Lessing

It takes Doris Lessing just four minutes to come out with something, if not actually controversial, then at least unexpected. It's about Hitler. She says she understands him. This from a former member of the Communist Party. (She left in 1956, the year of Khrushchev's ...
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Joanna Lumley

In her latest television incarnation Joanna Lumley brilliantly portrays a lonely gentlewoman with nothing to do all day but stare at herself in the dressing-table mirror. Nigel Farndale asks her what she sees AFTER half an hour of desultory conversation, Joanna Lumley lowers her shoulders ...
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Nigella Lawson

She says that she is bored, anxious and lonely; also that she is lazy, a slattern and a food addict who 'will eat all the children's Maltesers'. Yet she is described by others as 'every thinking man's fantasy and every thinking woman's nightmare'. Nigel Farndale ...
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Des Lynam

On the seventh floor of the Café Royale in central London, in a room unheated despite the wintry night air outside, a door creaks open. A callow youth in overalls stands hesitantly, framed in the doorway, chair in hand. He takes in the long mahogany ...
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Matt Le Blanc

Perhaps it's the pain that blurs and distorts Matt Le Blanc's appearance. Perhaps it's the painkillers. Either way, he's pretty much unrecognisable as he slouches into the dimly lit bar in Beverly Hills. No big entrance, no swagger, no boyish grin in camera-conscious three-quarter profile ...
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Ken Livingstone

Upstairs at Politico's, a bookshop-cum-coffee house ten minutes' stroll from Whitehall, Ken Livingstone is sitting with his back to a television set, cupping a chocolate-dusted mocha in his hands. On the screen behind him, Robin Cook is introducing a short film which recalls the highlights ...
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Dave Lee Travis

Driving towards Tring on a drizzly morning with the radio tuned to 828 Medium Wave is like travelling back in time. On the M25 the signal is still too faint and crackly to make out that sonorous, diluted Mancunian voice once so familiar. Then, as ...
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Ewan McGregor

For his latest film Ewan McGregor has dropped his winsome, million-dollar grin to play a selfish, brooding, promiscuous drifter. And, by the way, he's taken his clothes off again. He spoke to Nigel Farndale The restless, jiggling knee, the repetitive tapping of cigarette over ashtray, ...
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Dylan Moran

When Dylan Moran isn't making people laugh, he is being 'arsey' - he'd like that on his tombstone. Anger is funny, he tells Nigel Farndale Of stand-up comedians, there are two types. There are those who will gallop off with any subject an interviewer throws ...
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Abi Morgan

The terrible actress turned terrific screenwriter, on creating the ‘British Mad Men’ and admiring Thatcher Having only ever seen a photograph of Abi Morgan before, I find her height comes as something of a surprise. I’m not sure why I imagined she would be a ...
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Andrew Marr

On my way to meet Andrew Marr, I get a call from him. A meeting has finished earlier than he expected so could we bring our interview forward by half an hour? Such is his frenetic life. It is Monday afternoon. This morning, he hosted ...
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Bette Midler

The prima donna-ish behaviour is there in the subtext, between the lines of those around her, in the way the air seems to tighten before she enters a room. I've been told, for example, that it is 'very' important that I arrive on time – ...
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Chris Moyles

Off air Chris Moyles, the headline-grabbing, over-paid Radio 1 DJ you love to hate, is reserved, likeable and - he says - worth every penny Though the London sky is sagging with rain, Chris Moyles is sitting outside at a pavement table. He has just ...
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Vicky McClure

There is something about Vicky McClure’s personality – she is chatty, confident and as eye-contacty as an owl – that makes you think she is taller than she is. In fact, she is 5ft 4in. She is also quite bendy, as becomes apparent when she ...
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Charles Moore

It's difficult to imagine anyone more Tory than Charles Moore. He edited the Telegraph, opposes gay marriage and for the past 17 years has been writing Margaret Thatcher's official biography. Nigel Farndale meets the man who's been rifling through Maggie's wardrobe What can it be ...
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Trevor McDonald

There's an impostor in Sir Trevor McDonald's office at the ITN studios on the Gray's Inn Road. With his big square specs, short wiry mat of silver hair and slow-breaking, granite smile, he certainly looks like Sir Trevor. But this stranger lacks the calm authority ...
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Prince Moosa

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a handsome young prince who wasn't really a prince at all and, subjective though these things are, wasn't really that young or handsome either. His people called him young and handsome because there existed ...
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Ian McEwan

He would rather trash politicians than watch trashy TV. But how does our greatest living novelist unwind? Not easily… As well as the hundreds of books on the shelves there are, on various other tables and surfaces in this high-ceilinged drawing room, further neat piles ...
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Alfred Molina

There is something about Alfred Molina’s body language today which suggests sheepishness. But what? The defensive way he draws in his shoulders, perhaps. Or the way he folds his arms as he grins. He’s a solidly built 6ft 3in, so these may be examples of ...
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Malcolm McLaren

This is Malcolm McLaren as he likes to see himself: the Left Bank bohemian, the unappreciated maverick, the exile nursing a glass of chilled pinot noir as he sits in his favourite bistro on the Boulevard St Germain, not far from his appartement. He even, ...
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Helen McCrory

For the third time in five minutes, as we sit drinking coffee under an awning in Brick Lane, London, Helen McCrory and I are interrupted by the same man. That he is the owner of the café doesn’t make him less distracting. This time he ...
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Stephen Merchant

Dark as they look, Stephen Merchant's spectacle frames glint red when caught in winter sunlight. As he talks, sprawled on a sofa in a studio in west London, he stares over the top of them with pink-rimmed, pale-lashed eyes, his head resting on his hand ...
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Anchee Min

There is bamboo in every room of Anchee Min’s house in the hilly East Bay area of San Francisco. It is to remind her of China. The mud on her clothes and in her long hair today also reminds the author of China, specifically the ...
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George Melly

Few people have made their mark quite so colourfully as jazz singer George Melly. Now approaching 80, he talks to Nigel Farndale about his life, his loves and his famous open marriage Aside from his increasing deafness, weakening eyesight, incipient emphysema, difficulty with stairs, impotence, ...
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Christopher Meyer

Sir Christopher Meyer, who recently retired as Britain's ambassador to the US, is the man who brought Tony Blair and George Bush together. 'There was a chemistry between them from their first meeting,' he tells Nigel Farndale As war loomed in Iraq, the British ambassador ...
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Paul McCartney

The soundcheck over, Paul McCartney -  he rarely uses the Sir -  stares out across the empty seats of the ice-hockey stadium, eyebrows raised in that way of his, lost in thought. In two and a half hours these chairs will be filled with Americans ...
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Liza Minnelli

Of course I know her name isn't pronounced 'Lisa'. Everyone does. She even had a television show in the 1970s called Liza with a Z. But the moment I learnt that she gets stroppy when people anglicise (or anglicize) her name, that was it: the ...
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John Mortimer

From his father, as Sir John Mortimer cheerfully tells everyone, he inherited bronchial asthma, glaucoma and a tendency for his retinas to become detached. He was also bequeathed a number of walking-sticks. On an autumnal Tuesday morning, as I approach the house his father built ...
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Trevor MacDonald

Does a knighthood compromise your journalistic integrity? Sir Trevor McDonald doesn't lose sleep over the question. But he does have nightmares that the bongs are beginning on News at Ten and he's stuck in a taxi, clawing at the seats. Nigel Farndale meets him THERE'S ...
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D. M. Thomas

Luminous white hair, dandruff on black polo neck, florid complexion, thick lips cracked and bruised, fingers stained yellow from smoking... The 64-year-old Cornishman drinking Rioja and chain-smoking Marlboro Lights at the table by the window is either a broken-veined pervert or a literary genius. As ...
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Bob Monkhouse

If Bob Monkhouse had bludgeoned his own mother to death with an entrenching tool, calmly burnt down an orphanage and then experimented openly with cannibalism during a Royal Variety Performance, it is doubtful whether the poor chap's critics could have come up with stronger words ...
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Michael Mansfield

Warm, clubbable, avuncular, human - these are some of the adjectives that can be applied to the left-wing barrister John Mortimer. They don't canter to mind, however, when attempting to describe that other high-profile left-wing silk - and champion of the Bradford Twelve, Bridgewater Four ...
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Bill Nighy

Impeccably dressed and naturally convivial, Bill Nighy is happiest in his own company. He talks to Nigel Farndale about football, staring at trees and riding a motorbike with Judi Dench Bill Nighy has suggested we meet in Notting Hill, in a café run by an ...
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Annie Nightingale

At an age when other DJs have been put out to pasture, Radio 1's Annie Nightingale is still discovering new talent and partying till dawn - all because she's terrified of looking back. Nigel Farndale meets a reluctant 'melancholic' with low self-esteem but masses of ...
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Willie Nelson

After a lifetime of failed marriages, money troubles and 'medicinal' marijuana, the world's greatest country star is hitting the road again Parked under the shade of a couple of palm trees, in the car park of a cheap hotel in California, the Willie Nelson tour ...
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Graham Norton

Graham Norton, who will be on our television screens almost every night this Christmas, is loud, camp, smutty and peurile. But can he really be that shallow? Nigel Farndale meets him It would be almost impossible for Graham Norton to be Graham Norton 24 hours ...
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Andrew Neil

All heads turn as Andrew Neil enters the newsroom of the Sunday Times like a gunslinger moseying through the swing doors of a Wild West saloon. On his arm, dressed in the shortest of skirts, is the pouting Pamella Bordes. On his hip is the ...
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Jamie Oliver

As he rises from the BBC Breakfast News sofa and disconnects his mike, Jamie Oliver looks suddenly tired. It's partly to do with the bags under his eyes, partly with his tousled hair and unshaven chin. They give the impression that he left the house ...
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David Owen

There are two ways of proving that time is relative. You can either measure the speed of light in a vacuum, as Einstein did, or you can place a dog and a politician in a restaurant and observe how the three entities age differently. In ...
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Grayson Perry

As he unveils his biggest exhibition yet, the ‘transvestite potter’ seems set to join the art world’s big beasts. But will his ladylike alter ego and childhood teddy bear be joining him? Being an accommodating man, Grayson Perry has asked if we – that is, ...
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Michael Portillo

A former contender to the Tory crown - and eventually beaten by Iain Duncan Smith... - Michael Portillo has now turned his attention to fist-fighting With his arms not so much folded as wrapped around himself, Michael Portillo looks as if he is being restrained ...
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Colin Powell

Reagan and Bush trusted him. Bill Clinton feared him. Opponents of the war in Iraq blamed him. But why didn’t Colin Powell seize power when he had the chance? Having read that General Colin Powell insists on punctuality, I arrive an hour before my appointment ...
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Michael Palin

There is, you sense, a discontent at the core of Michael Palin, one that gnaws away at him with steady purpose. It’s not to do with his manner, which is as amiable as you would expect. Indeed, when I tell him what my editor emailed ...
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Rosamund Pike

First came a panicky trip to Mississippi. Then the nightmares. Rosamund Pike tells Nigel Farndale about the pain and pleasure of taking on Tennessee Williams It is 9.25 in the morning. I take a sip of coffee, my first of the day, and try hard ...
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Karl Pilkington

Some people think Karl Pilkington is a genius - others think he's an idiot. his friend Ricky Gervais, whose new book records their ludicrous conversations, says he's the funniest man in Britain. Nigel Farndale tries to get inside his head What do we know of ...
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Matthew Parris

Everyone seems to have a soft spot for Matthew Parris - apart from Matthew Parris. So why on earth has the Tory MP turned star columnist written an autobiography? Nigel Farndale finds out As an experiment I've been trying to think of something rude to ...
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Tony Parsons

Tethered to the small basket of red roses on the kitchen countertop is a red balloon - helium-filled, heart-shaped - with the words 'I love you' written across it in silver letters. It's a cameo of kitsch, a miniature masterpiece of sentimentality, yet it is ...
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Leslie Phillips

There's something poetic about the sight of an old man chasing moths around a room cluttered with antique bronzes, glassware and sepia-coloured photographs. The man is Leslie Phillips, the room is on the ground floor of his Victorian house in Maida Vale, north London, the ...
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Nicholas Parsons

It's as if Nicholas Parsons has been fired into a pinball machine. As he bustles from one flowerbed to another, bouncing up a hillside here, ricocheting down into a secluded dell there, the bunch of flowers he is collecting grows in size - I can ...
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Michael Parkinson

With a slow sideways glance I take in the silvering hair and craggy profile of the Yorkshireman sitting on my side of a round dining-table in the airy elegance of Bibendum in Chelsea. For several minutes I've been lost in my thoughts, imagining him propping ...
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Geoffrey Rush

He gives digital aliens personality, holds his own against Johnny Depp and fought to get a small film about stuttering made. Just three reasons why the star of 'The King's Speech' still shines If you walked in on my conversation with Geoffrey Rush without hearing ...
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Diana Rigg

Dame Diana Rigg may be 70 this month but she still drives a Mercedes sports car, smokes 20 a day and swears by a bottle of Merlot before bedtime. The spirit of Emma Peel lives on, finds Nigel Farndale. There is a low-boughed tree in ...
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Amanda Ross

Amanda Ross, the brains behind the Richard & Judy Book Club, has turned at least 10 authors into millionaires. So why does she attract such sniffiness? Nigel Farndale finds out Before I meet the most powerful woman in British publishing, I meet her dogs, two ...
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Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The runaway international success of ‘TheShadow of theWind’ has made Carlos Ruiz Zafón rich, sought-after and deeply uneasy. In his first British interview, he tells Nigel Farndale why As the shadows lengthen over the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, one symbol of the city, Carlos Ruiz ...
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Ruth Rogers

Ruth Rogers – co-founder of the River Café and the most well-connected chef in Britain – is celebrating 20 years of serving cucina rustica to London’s politicos, authors and media moguls. But, she tells Nigel Farndale, she’s not power-hungry, just committed to the food revolution, ...
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Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe remains remarkably well adjusted for someone who, even at 23, still has to endure being called ‘Harry Potter’ every day. Just don’t ask about his bank balance… Daniel Radcliffe bounds in to the hotel room like an eager puppy, all hand shakes and ...
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Gerald Ratner

Before I meet Gerald Ratner I meet his wife Moira. She is in their kitchen, wearing sportsgear, on her way to pilates. The couple live in an Edwardian house with electric gates on the outskirts of Bray, Berkshire. It’s not the sort of grand house ...
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Esther Rantzen

Critics may have sent up her ‘sanctimonious and sentimental’ style of presenting. But Esther Rantzen, prospective MP, still isn’t afraid to hug her would-be constituents. Will her touchy-feely tactics work in Luton? It is 11am on a flat and sunless winter morning and Esther Rantzen ...
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John Redwood

The aromatic whiff of a log fire and the sound of shoes crunching up a gravelled drive are all that disturb the drizzly Saturday afternoon air in this secluded, woody enclave of Berkshire. It is growing dark and the glow from the sturdy Thirties redbrick ...
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Tim Rice

It's all that Andrew Lloyd Webber's fault. If it hadn't been for his soppy influence, Sir Tim Rice could have been a serious rock 'n' roller: helping Keith Moon throw television sets out of hotel windows; hanging out with John and Yoko as they lived ...
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David Sedaris

David Sedaris is no stranger to embarrassing encounters: he's made a career out of them. The most popular American humorist since Woody Allen talks to Nigel Farndale about the tics that make him tick. I know a lot, perhaps too much, about the slight, gap-toothed ...
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Carly Simon

Coming around again: the Seventies songstress on famous friendships, affairs and therapy. As Carly Simon is showing me around her house on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, she mentions, matter-of-factly, that it is haunted. Guests in the spare bedroom always hear the same conversation, apparently, about a ...
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Tom Stoppard

As 'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' is revived at the National Theatre, Britain's most infamous playwright talks politics, famous muses and the true meaning of 'Stoppardian'. The tall, hunched figure smoking on the roof terrace of the National Theatre has his back to me, but ...
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Ben Stokes

He’s the tough guy of English cricket and arguably the best all-rounder since Sir Ian Botham. Ben Stokes on breaking records, locker-room tantrums – and the last time he cried. By Nigel Farndale As a conversationalist, Ben Stokes likes to play himself in. He takes ...
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Greta Scacchi

'Women didn't like me when I was a sex symbol' What can it be like being Greta Scacchi? In the Eighties and early Nineties she enjoyed – if enjoyed is the right word – huge fame as a film star, winning awards and critical acclaim, ...
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Alan Sugar

Has he seen a therapist? Does he have OCD? Or a secret yearning to study French poetry? Lord Sugar tells all< f Alan Sugar, Lord Sugar, were a dog he would be a short-bodied, wire-haired dog. A terrier of some sort. A snarling, bristling, silver-coated ...
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Jerry Springer

Jerry Springer's stranger-than-fiction life has seen him move from politics to trash TV, surviving scandal after scandal to become an unlikely voice of reason in an unreasonable world. But how will that voice hold up when he takes the stage in Chicago? This may sound ...
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Rory Stewart

It’s not the crisply-tailored suit and tie that makes Rory Stewart OBE stand out in a London hotel lobby. It is not even his dark, slightly dishevelled hair — hair that allows him to pass for a native while travelling across dangerous terrain in the ...
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Jon Stewart

If Jon Stewart didn’t have his daily show, called The Daily Show, he thinks he would sit around at home all day in his underwear screaming at his television set and occasionally firing bullets at it, ‘like Elvis used to do’. Actually, he has three ...
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Jimmy Savile

He lives like a Spartan, wears his tracksuits to bed and still dry-cleans his mother’s clothes – even though she’s been dead 31 years. But Sir Jimmy Savile insists he’s not an eccentric, writes Nigel Farndale Park Crescent in London W1 is a smart place ...
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Jocelyn Stevens

The chairman is running late. Half an hour. His PA has been popping her head around the door every ten minutes to convey his apologies. The sound of him barking out orders carries through the walls and, alongside me on the squeaky leather sofa in ...
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Steven Spielberg

The surprise is that, in certain countries, Steven Spielberg gets mobbed whenever he's spotted stepping out of a car or emerging from a hotel. Hair ruffled matily, congratulatory pats on back, autograph books thrust under nose. Not in Britain, obviously.  Because we're a dignified and ...
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Andy Summers

The people of Argentina haven’t yet erected a statue in honour of Andy Summers, but it can only be a matter of time. The lad’s a folk hero to them; Eva Peron with an electric guitar and a broken nose. Indeed, he has just returned ...
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David Starkey

Muslim scholars, Anglican bishops, touchy-feely party leaders - David Starkey will have a pop at them all. History's loose cannon talk to Nigel Farndale He's a fastidious man, David Starkey. A silk handkerchief plumes from the breast pocket of his pinstripe suit as he arrives, ...
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Roger Scruton

I discovered Roger Scruton's true identity quite by accident, while listening to an interview I'd taped with him. There it was: a perfectly normal, if slightly lispy voice belonging to an earnest, 16-year-old public schoolboy. At first, I thought I had picked up the wrong ...
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Donald Trump

First he took Manhattan... now Donald Trump wants to turn part of Scotland into a golf course. He's already worth 'about $10 billion' but - in between barking orders to his secretary (and our interviewer) - he says he's not motivated by money. Nigel Farndale ...
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Colm Tóibín

With a mind as formidable as his features, Colm Tóibín is now firmly a part of Ireland’s literary landscape. It’s both a blessing and a curse. ‘Listen,” Colm Tóibín says. I listen, though there is nothing to hear. “And it gets even quieter at night,” ...
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Kathleen Turner

I hear Kathleen Turner before I see her. She has a guttural, slurring voice that is several fathoms below the surface of normal female speech. As I sit waiting for her with my head in a book, this voice rolls up and out across the ...
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John Tavener

John Taverner says his music comes from above - 'I see myself as a conduit' - and reveals the secret of the 'Jesus imagination'. He talks to Nigel Farndale If you didn't know what Sir John Tavener did for a living, you could guess from ...
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Norman Tebbit

Backlit by milky sunshine, sitting at an awkward angle, Lord Tebbit looks brittle and frail. This is not what you expect. The former Conservative Party chairman, who will be 70 next month, has been called many things: Michael Foot dubbed him 'a semi house-trained polecat'; ...
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Tracey Ullman

One of America’s most successful comic actors is back in Britain. Tracey Ullman tells Nigel Farndale why At Tracey Ullman’s suggestion, we meet at a private member’s club around the corner from her home in Mayfair. In some ways this salubrious venue seems an appropriate ...
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Gore Vidal

On a cliff-top high above the Amalfi coast an awning flaps lazily, stirred by a welcome breeze, and then is still once more. It shares the temperament of the aged American bachelor standing under it, on his balcony, pondering the cobalt-blue sea half a mile ...
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Irvine Welsh

Thirteen years after writing Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh finds David Cameron 'attractive' and admits some of the nicest people he's ever met have been middle class. Blimey, says Nigel Farndale As he sits down for lunch, Irvine Welsh places two mobile phones on the table. Noticing ...
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Ann Widdecombe

She’s a 57-year-old spinster with teddy bears in her bedroom, her mother in the spare room, and a loathing for introspection. So why is Ann Widdecombe, politician-cum-novelist, about to try her hand as a television agony aunt? By Nigel Farndale Be honest, if left alone ...
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Ruth Wilson

The future dame of British theatre on fluffing lines, being a nomad, and those mesmerising eyebrows On the mantelpiece in Ruth Wilson’s south London flat, alongside an empty bottle of champagne and a black-and-white photograph of her brother in British Army uniform, there is an ...
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Dominic West

He’s well-educated, handsome and impeccably connected. Then why is Dominic West so good at playing deeply flawed losers? Before meeting Dominic West in a pub near his house in Shepherd’s Bush, I’m told by a publicist that the actor is tired of people only ever ...
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Bill Wyman

The qualities that made Bill Wyman ‘the boring one’ in the Rolling Stones have served him well in his other role – as the group’s archivist. But his new scrapbook is far from dull, finds Nigel Farndale. It is midmorning and Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers ...
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Ray Winstone

It has become a journalistic convention, when interviewing Ray Winstone, to say that he is nothing like the hard man he plays on screen; that, actually - who'd have thought it? - he is a rather calm, reflective and polite man. It has become a ...
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Terry Wogan

Shy and lazy, that’s Terry Wogan, according to Terry Wogan. They’re not words you would readily associate with a 67-year-old who rises at 5.30 every morning so that he can ‘talk rubbish for two hours’ — as he puts it — for the benefit of nine ...
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Fay Weldon

The autobiography of Fay Weldon, published this week, is a spiky read. Its author talks to Nigel Farndale about sex, psychiatry, self-loathing and her early career as a hostess in a Soho clip joint A RISKY business, capturing the essence of a seven-year-old on canvas ...
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George Weidenfeld

Your first impressions upon entering Lord Weidenfeld's stately Chelsea apartment are puzzling - but not contradictory. A butler greets you at the door and as he takes your coat you can't help noticing the erotic art hanging on the wall. It is by Klimt. Of ...
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A.N. Wilson

The high-ceilinged rooms of the Pall Mall club are lined with statues: an alabaster Venus here, a bronze Mercury there, a Lord Castlereagh in the Smoking Room and, in the library, framed by a large window, an AN Wilson. Or so you could be forgiven ...
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Kirsty Young

What makes her so qualified to present a series on the British family? As it turns out, plenty. On a darkening winter's afternoon, in a gently lit studio apartment in west London,KirstyYoung sits forward on a sofa looking composed and groomed.The presenter of Desert Island ...
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Gérard Depardieu

Gérard Depardieu's appetite - for food, wine, work - is all-consuming. He knocks off a film every six weeks, gets through five bottles of red in a day, and moonlights as a restaurateur-cum-winegrower. Nigel Farndale encounters a one-man whirligig As others long for stillness, so ...
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Nigel Farndale is an award-winning journalist who has written for various newspapers and magazines including The Observer, FT, Spectator and Sunday Times. Below are some of his features and columns. A full collection of his Times columns can be found at his author page on the Times website; many of his columns for the Telegraph can be found at his page on the Telegraph website. You can read a selection of features below.


More than 25,000 prisoners of war who worked on our farms returned to live here. On Remembrance weekend Nigel Farndale discovers their stories (The Times, November 11 2016) Having fought as a young man in the First World War my grandfather was too old to fight in the Second. Even if he had been of serviceable age it is doubtful he would have been allowed to join up, given that he was in a “reserved occupation”, farming. He was expected to dig for victory instead. The Second World War did, nevertheless, come to him in the form of German prisoners of war. An army truck would collect them from a nearby camp every day and deliver them to the farm, which was in Wensleydale, North ...
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The Times, September 20 2016 As Trump and Clinton prepare to debate on TV, Nigel Farndale, who has met both, has some tips. As scoops go, it is not quite up there with Watergate, but I was the first journalist to uncover the secret of Donald Trump’s brushed-forward, combed-over hairstyle, the one that looks like a sunken apricot soufflé. He wets it, then applies copious amounts of hairspray. That was in 2008. When it became clear last year that he really was running for president — that it wasn’t a weird joke — my interview with him did much pinging back and forth on social media, especially in America. “People always comment on my hair,” he told me, “but it’s not that bad, and it ...
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In 1982, London's leading literary lights gathered for a secret dinner party. The guest of honour? Margaret Thatcher. Nigel Farndale interviews the survivors The Observer, Saturday 7 December 2013 On a clear autumn night in 1982, a government Daimler pulled out of Downing Street and began its glide across London to a house in Ladbroke Grove. In the passenger seat was a personal protection officer. He had been to the house earlier that day to check the security arrangements for the evening and had decided there was no need to include sniffer dogs or metal detectors for the guests. (The Brighton bombing and the enhanced security that would come with it were two years away.) In the back was Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister.When they ...
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Until I watch the prisoners line up alongside the chains laid out on the ground, I have half imagined that the term 'chain gang’ is being used in a loose and euphemistic way. But no. They are wearing heavy-duty work boots and, as the chains are padlocked around their ankles, they raise their left legs up behind them, bending at the knees like well-trained horses obliging a farrier. What makes this scene even more disturbing is the sex of the prisoners. They are all women. This is Arizona, America’s most draconian state. It is also its hottest, averaging around 40°C in the summer, which makes the concept of hard labour outdoors seem all the more cruel. Although it is 5am and dark, already the heat ...
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When you contact the British National Party you cross over to the political dark side, a shadowy world over which neither Gordon Brown nor David Cameron hold dominion. There is paranoia behind the voice telling me that I, as a member of the press, will be allowed to attend the launch of the BNP's European election manifesto, but that I will not be told where or when it is, not until a few hours beforehand. I will also have the chance to interview Nick Griffin, the BNP leader but, again, the timing of this will remain vague for fear of "sabotage". So it is that I find myself at a "redirection point", the Aldi carpark in Grays, Essex, from where I will be taken on ...
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The hours are hellish, the travel gruelling, the emotional toll immeasurable: is it any wonder nobody wants to be a traditional country vet any more... Nigel Farndale visits 'All Creatures Great and Small' country and finds James Herriot is long gone Roll the words 'country vet' over your tongue. Only three syllables and three vowels, but all the resonance of a tuning fork. Twenty years ago, these words would have evoked James Herriot, the Dales vet turned best-selling author. All Creatures Great and Small, the long-running television series based on his semi-autobiographical novels, was as familiar and comforting as a log fire or a pot of tea. Farmers wore flat caps and spoke in broad accents, they were amusingly contrary and dour, and they always ...
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Charley Boorman held Angelina Jolie as a baby and had starred in several Hollywood films before he left school. Yet today he's best known as Ewan McGregor's globe-trotting wing man. How will he fare travelling the world on his own? Nigel Farndale joins him in Nepal to find out Kathmandu has its own gravitational pull, for Western backpackers at least. They come to get stoned and sit on the steps of the temples, as their hippy forebears did, though nowadays they do it wearing Fat Face fleeces and listening to iPods. I am here to meet Charley Boorman and accompany him on the next leg of his round-the-world journey - into the foothills of the Himalayas - and I have been tracking his progress, mobile ...
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Albert DeSalvo was always friendly to Ellen Junger, except for one 'incident'. She tells Nigel Farndale, in Belmont, about her terrifying encounter with the serial killer - and the murder mystery that has fascinated her family for decades Forty-one years after his capture, the Boston Strangler still has a unique hold on the American psyche. Other serial killers may have been responsible for more deaths, but none haunts the collective imagination quite like Albert DeSalvo, the carpenter who confessed to raping and murdering 13 women in their own homes between June 1962 and January 1964. It was partly to do with his efficiency. He worked quickly, on one occasion managing two murders on the same day - and he never left any sign of a ...
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As the driver of the Ilie Nastase Campaign Jeep swerves violently to avoid a pothole that is only a few inches off being classified a crater, the former tennis star lurches sideways in his seat, checks his hair with his hand, turns to me and gives an exasperated shrug: 'See what I mean about the roads?' he says. 'Unbelievable.' We are driving at alarming speed down a colourless boulevard in Bucharest. The Jeep, a voluptuously upholstered Cherokee, stands out among the drab-looking Ladas, stray dogs and orange tractors. It has started to drizzle, and women who have scurried out on to cement-and-iron balconies to gather in their washing stop to stare as we pass. Perhaps they have heard that the Jeep has replaced the Ilie ...
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