SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: TV arts supremo Alan Yentob secretly weds his love


While some couples found that being cooped up together during lockdown spelt doom for their relationships, for TV bigwig Alan Yentob it had the opposite effect.

I can reveal that Yentob has finally married his TV producer girlfriend Philippa Walker after almost 40 years together.

‘It was lockdown love,’ he tells me. ‘Back in the Sixties and Seventies, when we were young, no one got married and being unmarried was the thing to do.

‘But now, particularly after spending so much time together in lockdown, we decided it was time to get married. I even have a ring on my finger to prove it, which feels very strange after all this time.’

Alan Yentob finally married his TV producer girlfriend Philippa Walker after almost 40 years together 

Yentob, 73, stepped down as the BBC’s creative director in 2015, but continues to make and present its Imagine arts series.

He exchanged vows with Philippa, 65, last Friday in front of their children, Isabella and Jacob, and just a handful of friends at Bridgwater register office in Somerset, where the family own a country house nearby. Their main home is in London’s Notting Hill.

Lady Rogers, owner of the fashionable River Cafe in London, prepared a ‘delicious’ wedding breakfast. Ruthie, who is married to celebrated architect Lord (Richard) Rogers of Riverside, sat beside the happy couple and watched them cut the wedding cake (right) she had created for the occasion.

Bride and groom wore white, a summer dress for Philippa and a polo shirt for Yentob — almost formal garb for a man who has been teased for wearing pyjamas to work.

‘Our kids had got used to the idea of being illegitimate, but now we’ve legitimised them,’ he jokes. ‘They’re very pleased for us.’

Yentob and Philippa Walker pictured on their wedding day. Bride and groom wore white, a summer dress for Philippa and a polo shirt for Yentob ¿ almost formal garb for a man who has been teased for wearing pyjamas to work

Yentob and Philippa Walker pictured on their wedding day. Bride and groom wore white, a summer dress for Philippa and a polo shirt for Yentob — almost formal garb for a man who has been teased for wearing pyjamas to work

The couple’s daughter Bella was hand-picked by Burberry for its 2015 advertising campaign. The striking brunette was billed as fashion’s latest ‘bright young thing’ as she modelled for the label that kick-started the illustrious catwalk careers of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Cara Delevingne.

But the English Literature graduate decided to give up modelling to work on a book for a children’s charity. 

Godparents to her and her brother were American comic legend Mel Brooks and his late actress wife Anne Bancroft.

Although Princess Anne pulled the plug on the Gatcombe horse trials, which she’d held at her country estate for 29 years, she’s still keen to attract riders.

The Queen’s daughter is advertising for equestrians to pay to gallop across her 700 acres in Gloucestershire. ‘Many of you were sad to see the horse trials come to an end last year so we hope that you will love and support this just as much,’ says an online ad.

When the Daily Mail Diary disclosed the end of the trials, a firm fixture of the sporting calendar, it caused shockwaves among the horsey set.

Angel Ella is not just a pretty face

She’s already appeared in a Hollywood film, but Charlie’s Angels star Ella Balinska is keen to prove her acting credentials.

The 23-year-old daughter of TV cook Lorraine Pascale and Polish musician Count Kaz Balinski-Jundzill has graduated from Guildford School of Acting with a first-class Bachelor of Arts.

Proudly showing off her certificate online, Ella, an alumna of the £18,000-a-year James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich, declares: ‘A4 piece of paper never looked so good.’

Charlie's Angels star Ella Balinska is keen to prove her acting credentials

Charlie’s Angels star Ella Balinska is keen to prove her acting credentials

Sadie Frost, who has three children with film star Jude Law and one with Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp, is suffering from acute empty-nest syndrome now her brood has left home. 

‘There’s a huge sense of grief that I was kind of pre-empting over the last few years,’ says the actress and former model, 55. 

She’s downsizing from the six-bedroom Victorian villa where she has lived in London’s swanky Primrose Hill since her divorce from Law in 2003 and says she’s ‘become incredibly lost’. She adds: ‘We won’t be having family meals so much and I’m going to have to move house. There’s been a huge amount of loneliness.’

Kiduldhood star Noel Clarke overdid the humility when he shared an Edinburgh TV Festival drama panel with Doctor Who writer Russell T. Davies and Lucy Prebble, who pens scripts for acclaimed American Succession. ‘To be mentioned in the same breath as Russell and Lucy…I couldn’t hold their G-strings,’ gushed Clarke. Thanks to Zoom, viewers were able to see both writers turn a distinct shade of puce. 

Despite hosting Channel 4’s Naked Attraction, which seeks to promote ‘body confidence’, Anna Richardson reveals she has recently resorted to cosmetic work due to her fear of ageing. 

‘I’ve just had two fine threads inserted into my cheeks to lift the jaw line,’ admits Anna, girlfriend of former Bake Off host Sue Perkins since 2014. ‘I’m afraid the big 5-0 is but a few weeks away. Barely noticeable needle mark, excellent result.’ 

Having written the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first three hit musicals, Sir Tim Rice was shocked by the composer’s plans for the following one, Cats. 

‘I thought this was a barking idea for a show … if barking is the right adjective for a cat show,’ Sir Tim admits. 

‘But more relevant to my situation was that this project did not need a lyricist, as the words were already written by T. S. Eliot. Clearly an insane idea for a musical, I thought. How wrong can you be?’ Cats became one of the longest-running shows in the West End, making £2.7 billion worldwide by 2012. 

Crumbs! Claudia hits half century

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer turned 50 yesterday — but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her.

Exuding glamour in a bespoke Balmain blue lace dress, she marked the occasion with a chocolate cake adorned with gold candles. ‘I am so happy to be turning 50 and have never felt more confident or happy in my life.

‘I don’t try to look or feel younger, I embrace now,’ says the mother of three, who lives in Suffolk with her husband, English film director Matthew Vaughn.

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer turned 50 yesterday ¿ but you wouldn't know it by looking at her

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer turned 50 yesterday — but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her



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