Londoner’s Diary: Lamda lambasted over departure of its director

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Benedict Cumberbatch  (Getty Images)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Getty Images)

Welcome back to the Londoner’s Diary. First up acting school Lamda is at the centre of a row as more than 100 people including Maxine Peake have criticised trustees over the departure of director Sarah Frankcom. Later today Jeff Westbrook, the lead writer on Spitting Image, talks about he problems dealing with the young and woke while Pixie Lott crowns herself “the Queen of the Takeaways”. In SW1A we spy a maskless Matt Hancock looking tanned and happy and a scruffy Ben Bradley defying Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s new request that MPs smarten up.

10:43 , Robbie Smith

Acting school Lamda is at the centre of a row as more than 100 people in the performing arts world criticised trustees over the departure of director Sarah Frankcom.

Frankcom resigned last month, with Lamda, where Benedict Cumberbatch is president, noting complaints over her “conduct and management style”. However, in an open letter, arts figures including actor Maxine Peake and Olivier award-winning playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm registered their “support and solidarity” for Frankcom.

In the letter, signatories write that they “do not feel confident that Sarah Frankcom has been supported as she should have been” during her tenure, and they accuse trustees of “halting or obstructing change” towards “actor training that is equitable, anti-racist and accessible”. The Londoner understands that Frankcom’s defenders feel that while she was brought in as a moderniser, her changes upset more established figures.

Hammersmith’s The London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Art is the oldest drama school in the UK, and launched the careers of David Oleyewo, Malcolm McDowell, and Cumberbatch, pictured. Lamda declined to comment this morning.

SW1A

15:00 , Robbie Smith

Matt Hancock was looking demob-happy in Parliament yesterday. The former health secretary looked tanned as he chatted and pressed the flesh in Portcullis House before a debate on Afghanistan. Perhaps a return to frontline politics is on the cards? One sight surprised The Londoner more than that, though — he was walking around without a mask.

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MOST MPs heeded speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s call to smarten up for their return to the Commons. Theresa May looked smart in a cream dress, her Tory colleague Dehenna Davison donned a hot pink suit and Sir Keir Starmer went for understated navy, however it was nul points for Ben Bradley, who was strolling about in chinos and a checked shirt. Get him, Lindsay.

Paddy goes from Take Me Out to takeaways

14:00 , Robbie Smith

Daisy Lowe and Jordan Saul (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Just Eat)
Daisy Lowe and Jordan Saul (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Just Eat)

Daisy Lowe and Jordan Saul were at Just Eat’s Takeaway awards, hosted by Paddy McGuinness, who, when we asked him about his time on dating show Take Me Out, huffed: “What’s that got to do with the Takeaway awards?” Elsewhere, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley celebrated the launch of Rose Inc while activist Mika Simmons and others celebrated The Happy Vagina and Atelier Romy collaboration at The Treehouse Hotel.

13:15 , Robbie Smith

Margaret Atwood (Getty Images for New York Women)
Margaret Atwood (Getty Images for New York Women)

Margaret Atwood thinks it is a “horror show” to be a young writer now. “I think the biggest hazard is social media, in which you find yourself interacting with a lot of people you don’t know very well,” The Handmaid’s Tale author told a Fane event with fellow author Joyce Carol Oates last night. She added: “That can be quite sadistic for people if they are too invested in it. You need to learn to ignore it.” Meanwhile, Oates, 83, who has written more than 100 books, said her next work would be an “erotic thriller”, which may not “be very thrilling or very erotic”. Mysterious.

Pixie’s skills leave her in the soup

12:47 , Robbie Smith

Pixie Lott (Getty Images for Just Eat)
Pixie Lott (Getty Images for Just Eat)

Pixie Lott tells us she is “the Queen of Takeaways” because she’s a danger to herself if she tries to cook. When we bumped into the Cry Me Out singer at the British Takeaway awards last night, she told us her lockdown experience was a mixed bag. While it gave her “loads of time to write” her next album, she had a “terrible time” cooking for herself: “I burned my hand from microwaving soup and I had to go to A&E, so even soup was too much.” Hospitalised by soup — maybe takeaways are the answer.

Woke wars make satire a bit tricky

11:30 , Robbie Smith

Spitting Image (Spitting Image)
Spitting Image (Spitting Image)

Jeff Westbrook, the lead writer on Spitting Image, says it’s tricky dealing with the young and woke. The show returns this month for a new season and Westbrook sighs: “I’m an old man… Now you’ve got young people working who are incredibly woke, it does make things difficult.” Last year their depiction of Greta Thunberg was criticised. He adds: “If you say one thing satirically and you mean another, there are a lot of people out there on the net who don’t know the difference.” Blurred lines.

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