This Morning presenter Dermot O’Leary launched his new children’s book in Cahoots, Soho last night with his wife Dee and friends including Cat Deeley. The book is about a swift called Linus who serves in the fictional Royal Bird Force during the Second World War. “If it sparks an interest in history for just one kid, that would be amazing,” said Dermot. We applaud the sentiment, but wonder if the timing of his launch will ruffle some feathers. There is a debate rumbling this week about the number of TV celebrities who are turning their hand to literature. Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown also launched her children’s book this week and David Walliams regularly tops the kids best-seller list.
Dedicated children’s authors aren’t raving at the prospect of being outsold by TV names. Katherine Rundell, a Waterstones children’s book prize winner, published Impossible Creatures, her new work for children, this week. “There are many great non-celebrity authors, because they are putting so much time in,” she said at her launch, in an apparent dig at the new kids on the block.
For celebrities, writing books can be lucrative and fun. And it’s not just children’s books. Former Pointless quiz show presenter Richard Osman has now given up much of his television work to become a full-time writer after the success of his Thursday Murder Club series. Osman admits that he But are these big names squeezing undiscovered literary talents off the shelves?
Theresa May not keen on young MPs
Politics just isn’t what it used to be, reckons former prime minister Theresa May (well, she would say that). “People expect you to be more of a celebrity and perhaps more into promoting yourself,” she said, while promoting her book at the Southbank Centre last night. “We live in an instant society. People expect answers. As soon as something happens, the microphone is there,” she went on, while criticising the influence of social media in politics. Although the House of Commons has just got a new youngest MP, 25-year-old Keir Mather, May wasn’t too enthusiastic on the subject of young legislators. “I always say to people who are interested in becoming a member of parliament, do something else first, get some wider experience, you need to have experience of a different walk of life,” she said. “That makes you a more rounded politician.” Will May return to frontline politics any time soon? “Being on the backbench is fine, thank you!”
Rishi Sunak is feeling blue
Rishi the grump? Apparently the pressures of the job, and his apparently hopeless prospects at the next election, are getting to the Prime Minister. A profile of Rishi Sunak by the FT Magazine, out this weekend, claims he is growing more frustrated and has been heard lashing out at journalists who are “talking Britain down”. He reportedly wants the British press pack to be more like French journalists, who big up their country. Donnez-lui un break.
Newsnight editor criticises BBC cuts
As Newsnight’s future hangs in the balance, its diplomatic editor Mark Urban piped up on X this week to criticise the BBC for reducing the investigative show’s budget by about £5 million. “Newsnight as we know it, a mix of studio and film items produced by its own dedicated team, is now at risk from BBC cuts,” he wrote. Speaking out against the Beeb online could land Urban in hot water, or perhaps he will just start a chart-topping podcast like his former colleague Emily Maitlis. Rumours are that Newsnight will get rid of most of its reporters and become a talking heads panel show. Yikes.