SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Alan Rickman diaries will be a waspish delight

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Hogwarts and all! Alan Rickman diaries will be a waspish delight

Best known for films such as the Harry Potter series and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, actor Alan Rickman kept extensive diaries during his career.

Running from 1992 until his unexpected death in 2016, I can reveal they will now be published in all their unexpurgated glory.

Entries include worries about his role as Severus Snape in Harry Potter, particularly thoughts that his screen character was not as well fleshed out as in J.K. Rowling’s books. 

Alan Rickman’s diaries detailing his career from  1992 until his unexpected death in 2016 are set to be published in all their unexpurgated glory

There are also comments about conversations of encouragement with Daniel Radcliffe, who was only 11 when cast in the lead role.

‘They are a detailed record of his career and remarkable life,’ says actor Neil Pearson, who these days owns a rare books company.

He acquired Rickman’s archive, which includes diaries, letters and annotated scripts, from Rickman’s widow Rima.

Entries include worries about his role as Severus Snape in Harry Potter, particularly thoughts that his screen character was not as well fleshed out as in J.K. Rowling’s books, as well as comments about conversations of encouragement with Daniel Radcliffe 

The publishing rights have now been sold to Canongate, best known for Barack Obama’s memoir Dreams From My Father. 

Rima Rickman already knew Canongate’s managing director Jamie Byng, son of the Earl of Strafford and stepson of the late Sir Christopher Bland, a former BBC chairman.

Pearson says Rickman’s diaries also contain ‘his shrewd, waspish and often hilarious comments’ about films and plays he saw.

And they detail stage rehearsals where he was both an actor and director, as well as meetings and even meals.

He had a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances, including Prince Charles, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (Rickman was a lifelong Labour supporter) and those close to him in his profession, such as Emma Thompson, Lindsay Duncan and Juliet Stevenson, who starred with him in Truly Madly Deeply.

‘Alan sort of adopted me when I was 20 at the Royal Shakespeare,’ says Stevenson, who did not know that Rickman was keeping diaries.

Rickman’s archive, which includes diaries, letters and annotated scripts, was acquired from the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves actor’s widow, Rima

‘He scooped me up into his circle and we were very close friends for life. He loved to look out for young talent as they were a sort of children for him.

‘He would also come to see everything I did on stage.’

Iconic Love Actually film frame to go on sale 

The final frame of film from the original reel of Love Actually will be in an online auction in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. 

The touching scene of real people being reunited with loved ones at Heathrow Airport was donated by the film’s director Richard Curtis. 

He explained in an interview: ‘That was real documentary footage we shot without anyone knowing we were shooting, and we [then] had to rush up to people and ask for their permission to use it.’

Livia’s livid about living with Zoom 

Lockdown is proving too much for Colin Firth’s estranged wife, Livia, who split from the actor last year.

In a candid selfie taken while working from home in London this week, the eco-fashion activist, who is the mother of two of Colin’s children, can be seen shouting in despair while lying on the floor defeated.

‘Save me from my Zoom life,’ cried Livia Firth as she depicted the struggles of working from home during lockdown

‘Save me from my Zoom life,’ she captioned the picture, referring to the video call platform. ‘How to survive months of remote working and relentless Zoom meetings — does anyone have a recipe for it?’

Broadcaster Buerk cashes in on success of The Crown

Among those enjoying the success of The Crown is Michael Buerk, who is on screen almost as often as Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth, thanks to liberal use of his BBC news bulletins from the 1980s.

The former newsreader was approached to record new lines for the TV drama.

‘My wife, Christine, was quite excited when they rang up and asked me to take part,’ Buerk tells me. ‘She rather imagined they would have to make me look like I did in the 1980s and pay for an extensive programme of cosmetic surgery. Sadly, they only wanted my voice.

‘There’s not much money in it: a small, but perfectly fair fee for recording fresh lines that help Peter Morgan [writer of The Crown] flesh out the narrative. It wouldn’t keep Huw Edwards in haircuts. It’s for the glory and the grandchildren.’ 

Peter Snow, the former BBC Newsnight presenter and election night swingometer guru, also received a small stipend of £112.38 from the Netflix producers, as his excitable presence provides the archive film backdrop to Margaret Thatcher’s electoral dominance.

Maybe they were both being paid at 1980s prices?

Secret girl talk? Blunt’s Mrs approves

Old Harrovian balladeer James Blunt has become famed for his punchy Twitter retorts. 

Yet he follows just 90 accounts and a measly three on Instagram.

James Blunt’s wife Sofia Wellesley, pictured together last year, has no problem with the You’re Beautiful singer following Victoria’s Secret models online

‘I follow my pub, the Fox & Pheasant [the watering hole he owns in London’s Chelsea], and Victoria’s Secret models,’ he says.

But the You’re Beautiful singer is not likely to get into trouble with his wife, Sofia Wellesley, the granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Wellington. 

‘My wife told me to,’ he says of his decision to follow the models’ accounts. 

‘She said: “If you’re only going to follow one, just follow them.”’

Sounds like the formula for a happy marriage.

Cummings closes controversial company 

Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings, who left Downing Street last week in the PM’s attempt to ‘clear the air’, has closed his controversial personal service company. 

Dynamic Maps Ltd, which Cummings used to channel income before entering No 10, was dissolved last month. At one point it had more than £100,000 in assets.

The business caused consternation last year when it emerged that private health company Babylon Health — which was in line for a government grant — had paid Cummings via Dynamic Maps to be a consultant. 

Babylon specialises in artificial intelligence, an area of interest for Cummings.

It has confirmed that it paid him in 2018 — the year before he entered No 10. 

Well, he was one of the Fab Phwoar! 

Sir Paul McCartney prefers to live in homes without household staff as he likes to walk around nude. 

‘That’s me. I’m awkward like that,’ he says. 

‘That’s my kind of thing. Maybe I should have, like, a big stately home. Maybe I should get staff. But I think I couldn’t do that. I’d be so embarrassed. I’d want to walk around dressed as I want to walk around, or naked.’ 

Sixties photographer criticises Vogue’s Rashford cover 

Swinging Sixties photographer David Bailey, who has shot 300 Vogue covers, has criticised the British magazine’s September issue. 

Its monochrome cover features footballer Marcus Rashford (who campaigned for free food vouchers for pupils during school holidays) and model-turned-mental-health-advocate Adwoa Aboah under the words ‘Activism Now’. 

‘It’s so depressing. It looks like Keep Death off the Road,’ says Bailey, referring to the 1960s road safety posters of a widow in mourning. 

Ice and a slice keep Emma’s clan close

Having become the first member of the British aristocracy to take part in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, is Emma Weymouth now preparing for her next starring role?

Emma Weymouth appears to be a shoo-in for The Great British Bake Off after showing off her passion for baking online

The 34-year-old wife of the Marquess of Bath, whose family owns the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire, appears to be a shoo-in for The Great British Bake Off after sharing a video of herself creating a very elaborate cake in her kitchen at home. 

The mother of two admits: ‘I love to cook for family and friends.’

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