His wife, Imelda Staunton, has been lavished with plaudits for her unerring portrayal of the Queen in the latest series of The Crown.

But never assume that Jim Carter — best known as Carson the butler in Downton Abbey — is content to remain meek, still less mute, when at the £3.25 million townhouse he and Staunton (pictured) share in genteel North-West London.

Indeed, I can reveal that Carter, 74, has just launched an extraordinary attack against a proposal to facilitate what he demonises as ‘an aggressive game with associated aggressive levels of sound from players and equipment’ on a small patch of ground at nearby Hampstead Cricket Club.

His wife, Imelda Staunton, has been lavished with plaudits for her unerring portrayal of the Queen in the latest series of The Crown. But never assume that Jim Carter — best known as Carson the butler in Downton Abbey — is content to remain meek

So what has prompted the outburst? A proposal to build a boxing ring, or a rugby club gym?

No, It’s a plea to the local council by the Girls’ Day School Trust, which wants pupils at private South Hampstead High School to have the chance to play padel — a mixture of tennis and squash — on a new, purpose-built court.

‘Noise level assessments for tennis bear little relationship to the explosive noise associated with padel,’ Carter howls in an anguished letter to the council. 

‘A brief visit to the public padel courts at Regent’s Park or Hyde Park reveals that the heavy sound of a padel ball on bat and ball on side panels drowns out the sounds of tennis.’

Perhaps Carter is as hostile to change as Carson was at Downton? Or perhaps he has especially acute hearing? The proposed court is a hundred yards from his and Staunton’s house — and screened from it by Hampstead Cricket club’s clubhouse and its changing rooms.

So what has prompted the outburst? A proposal to build a boxing ring, or a rugby club gym? No, It's a plea to the local council by the Girls' Day School Trust, which wants pupils at private South Hampstead High School to have the chance to play padel ¿ a mixture of tennis and squash ¿ on a new, purpose-built court

So what has prompted the outburst? A proposal to build a boxing ring, or a rugby club gym? No, It’s a plea to the local council by the Girls’ Day School Trust, which wants pupils at private South Hampstead High School to have the chance to play padel — a mixture of tennis and squash — on a new, purpose-built court

Has David Walliams been ‘cancelled’ by the BBC? Speaking at the Beeb’s Somerset House Christmas launch, TV boss Charlotte Moore reeled off a list of festive highlights, from Mrs Brown’s Boys to the Strictly Christmas special. Sadly, Moore didn’t include Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!, the new adaptation of Walliams’s book, starring the comedian who was forced to apologise for making derogatory comments about Britain’s Got Talent contestants. Perhaps Gangsta Granny has made her final strike for the BBC? 

Is that what not to wear, Trinny?

While some of us are putting up Christmas decorations, Trinny Woodall seems to have used most of the glitter on her coat.

The beauty entrepreneur, 58, half of the acerbic posh pair who counselled ‘fashion disasters’ on BBC makeover show What Not To Wear, caught the eye of passers-by in Chelsea, West London, wearing this £2,085 Hologram trench coat by Belgian designer Dries Van Noten. She paired the coat with a £740 metallic polyester top, by the same designer, an oversized grey suit, and Russell & Bromley platform trainers.

‘The coat looks like one of those foil blankets thrown over exhausted marathon runners,’ remarks one observer.

While some of us are putting up Christmas decorations, Trinny Woodall seems to have used most of the glitter on her coat

While some of us are putting up Christmas decorations, Trinny Woodall seems to have used most of the glitter on her coat

How George saved the Life Of Brian 

Monty Python’s Life Of Brian was a box-office hit that has been named as the greatest comedy film of all time in several polls, but would never be made in today’s culture of taking offence, says one of its stars, Eric Idle.

‘You don’t laugh at religion, you are not allowed to,’ says Idle, 76. ‘That is why comedy is very healthy for us, because it says what is actually there.’

The 1979 film was made only because The Beatles star George Harrison remortgaged his London home and injected around $4 million [£3.3m] of his own money.

‘We still wouldn’t have been able to make it if it weren’t for George Harrison,’ Idle confirms. ‘We couldn’t sell it for love nor money.’

Lady Vic wants Trump the Charmer elected

Socialite Lady Victoria Hervey appears to have landed a major international scoop.

The Marquess of Bristol’s sister met Donald Trump at his golf club in Florida this week and tells me the former president would rock U.S. politics by standing as an independent if the Republicans don’t choose him as their candidate again.

‘He’s a man who genuinely wants the best for his country,’ Lady Victoria, 46, tells me. ‘He has a great sense of humour, and is intelligent, funny and charming. Trump doesn’t like losing, so if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination, he will run as an independent, but that will merely let the other side win.’

Controversial rapper Kanye West, who has spoken of seeking the presidency, too, met Trump for dinner last week, after which Trump called him a ‘seriously troubled man’. Lady Victoria says: ‘Kanye would split the vote, that’s why they were arguing.’

The Marquess of Bristol's sister met Donald Trump at his golf club in Florida this week and tells me the former president would rock U.S. politics by standing as an independent if the Republicans don't choose him as their candidate again

The Marquess of Bristol’s sister met Donald Trump at his golf club in Florida this week and tells me the former president would rock U.S. politics by standing as an independent if the Republicans don’t choose him as their candidate again

Dawn French is determined to keep people laughing to the end — and beyond. ‘I’d love to insist it’s only white roses on the sides of the see-through hearse,’ she says of her final journey.

‘In white rose heads things should be spelt out. One side just says, ‘Help’ and the other side just says, ‘Not Dead’. As the hearse goes by, that’s what people see.’

The Duke and Duchess of Rutland’s daughters, Lady Alice, Lady Eliza and Lady Violet Manners, were delighted when David and Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham came to visit their ancestral home, Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire.

Indeed, so excited were the sisters that they decided to perform a Spice Girls dance routine. The Duchess recalls: ‘I don’t think Victoria was very impressed.’

It has always been a bone of contention that the monarch is exempt from taxes, although they do pay some voluntarily.

Now the King has found he is not exempt from another one.

For it can be revealed that he will have to foot an £8,000 bill if he wants to go ahead with plans to make the visitors’ shop at his Gloucestershire retreat permanent.

The King has been given approval to replace a temporary marquee store with a brick building to sell souvenirs to visitors to the gardens at Highgrove. But Cotswold District Council said he would have to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) of £8,032 as soon as work starts.

The levy councils can put on new developments is used to pay for infrastructure in the area.

His town council in Newmarket voted for him to resign as an MP this week, yet Matt Hancock should be hailed as a charismatic star by the Tories, claims Boris Johnson’s father. 

‘Anyone, who does I’m A Celebrity is a celebrity, by definition,’ Stanley Johnson tells me at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane. 

‘The Conservative Party cannot conceivably afford to be without a man of such charisma and such absolute can-do ability.’ 

The MP for West Suffolk had the Whip suspended after entering the jungle, but Stanley adds: ‘He will absolutely be back on track in Parliament – there’s no doubt about it.’ 



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