SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Playwright Sir David Hare blasts ‘elephant’s backside’ plan for neighbour’s pad
His award-winning plays never shy from castigating the deficiencies of modern Britain. But Sir David Hare has excelled himself with his latest withering invective.
It takes the form, I can disclose, not of a script but a passionate denunciation of a neighbour — in particular, his plan for a new house in the millionaires’ enclave of Hampstead, North London.
‘This proposed development is hideous — a big elephant’s backside with namby-pamby balconies which belong on a Tyrolean fairground ride,’ asserts Hare in a statement jointly signed with his second wife, French fashion designer Nicole Farhi, and submitted to the local council.
Hare, whose plays include the three-hour-long Stuff Happens, doesn’t leave it there.
His award-winning plays never shy from castigating the deficiencies of modern Britain. But Sir David Hare (pictured right with his his second wife, French fashion designer Nicole Farhi) has excelled himself with his latest withering invective, writes Sebastian Shakespeare
‘The whole design, out of proportion to the rest of the street and violently obtrusive to anyone who has to live near it, is an unholy mix of the gargantuan and the twee — and has absolutely nothing to do with design principles of the surrounding streets. It looks like it’s been blown up with a bicycle pump.’
His words strike a chord with several locals, with one describing the proposed four-bedroom house, as ‘too muscular and ostentatious’.
Alison Brooks Architects drew up the plans but remains above the fray.
‘Because of the consultation process we’re not able to say anything,’ a spokesman tells me.
‘It’s not ethical for us to wade in, so we’ll refrain.’
But the spokesman does point out that Alison Brooks has a number of awards, including a Civic Trust Award for its Cohen Quad at Exeter College, Oxford.
But those details seem incapable of placating 72-year-old Hare. ‘I can’t believe that [the council] is going to go ahead with anything so remarkably ugly.
‘If there is an opportunity to build a beautiful new house, then please let it be in scale to everything else.’
Perhaps Alison Brooks will advise him on the duration of his plays.
Pictured: A typical old English high street in Hampstead, north west London (file photo)
- Amazing what you can find in the attic — at least at 189-room Dunrobin Castle, the Earl of Sutherland’s ancestral seat. Having decided to clear out Dunrobin’s attic and cellars, the Earl was rewarded when the ‘clutter’ was auctioned at Bonhams in Edinburgh this week. It made £732,528, with a duchess’s coronet being snapped up for £11,475, rather than the anticipated £1,500.
I hope Iris isn’t getting cold feet…
Film star Jude Law’s daughter, Iris, will make her acting debut in Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols drama, playing punk icon Soo Catwoman. Off screen, the model, 20, displays a very different taste in fashion.
During a break from filming, Iris, whose mother is Jude’s ex-wife, Sadie Frost, went shopping in London’s Borough Market wearing a pair of £120 Ugg fluffy yellow platform sandals, and a cropped T-shirt.
Lockdown, she admits, has made her feel more at home in casual attire.
‘The way I’ve dressed has changed drastically because I’m just constantly wearing comfortable clothes now,’ she muses.
During a break from filming, Iris, whose mother is Jude Law’s ex-wife, Sadie Frost, went shopping in London’s Borough Market wearing a pair of £120 Ugg fluffy yellow platform sandals, and a cropped T-shirt (pictured)
- Quizmaster Jeremy Paxman says Covid has left us being treated like idiots. ‘We all put up with masks and with bossy simpletons trying to enforce that oxymoron “social distancing”, he says. ‘In the lifts where we make University Challenge, someone has even stuck labels on the floor to show where you should put your feet. So very helpful for those of us considering the ceiling.’
Oscar nominated actress Sarah Miles, 79, has a spring in her step having found love with a younger man – retired lawyer Ian Hollis, 62
What ho Jeeves! Oscar nominated actress Sarah Miles, 79, has a spring in her step having found love with a younger man, as I disclosed last week.
I can reveal that her playmate, whom she playfully calls Jeeves, is retired lawyer Ian Hollis, 62, a divorcee with one daughter. ‘He’s extraordinary,’ Sarah tells me.
‘There is nothing he can’t do. He’s a Mr Fixit.’ The Ryan’s Daughter actress says she first met Hollis 22 years ago as he lives ‘up the lane’. They bonded recently playing chess and backgammon and now live together at her Sussex home.
Miles has had a colourful love life having been married to screenwriter Robert Bolt (twice) and she had affairs with her Ryan’s Daughter co-star Robert Mitchum, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
So will they soon be tying the knot? ‘We hadn’t thought about it,’ chuckles Jeeves. Time to fix it.
Brave Helen’s legacy for kids
Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter star Helen McCrory, whose death at the age of 52 shocked fans last week, will leave an inspiring legacy.
An arts charity has set up an award to help disadvantaged children achieve their dreams in her memory.
‘Helen was a huge believer in that the arts should be accessible to every child,’ says Debbi Clark, chief executive of HVH Arts in North London, of which the actress was patron.
The McCrory Award will support gifted children from disadvantaged families. It will be funded by donations the charity receives in trib
No pregnant pause for Mary
Model and DJ Lady Mary Charteris is indignant that mothers-to-be are expected to sacrifice partying.
‘I had visions of working throughout my pregnancy. I’ve almost never seen pregnant women DJing,’ says the 33-year-old daughter of the Earl of Wemyss.
‘I was hoping if there was any underlying stigma in our culture about pregnant women doing that sort of thing I could help squash it. Sadly, Covid put a stop to events and dancing.’
Mary, who is married to musician Robbie Furze and due to give birth to their first child in June, adds: ‘Being pregnant doesn’t mean women can’t or shouldn’t dance, jump around, stay up late and play music.’
Model and DJ Lady Mary Charteris is indignant that mothers-to-be are expected to sacrifice partying. Mary, who is married to musician Robbie Furze and due to give birth to their first child in June
- Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood’s ex-wife Alex is surprised to find her online baking video tutorials are attracting unsolicited male attention. ‘I’m a woman in my 50s, a cook and author, and my Instagram account is the perfect platform for getting me noticed for knocking up simple delicious food,’ she says. ‘It really isn’t a kind of foodie Tinder. I won’t be stripping off any time soon — this to the bloke who asked for the “sexy bikini shots”. Personally, I’ve always found it’s best to cover up when cooking.’
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