SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Crown star Sir John Standing makes sure the show goes on during lockdown


Old Etonian actor Sir John Standing has recited from memory a Shakespeare monologue which he first learned 60 years ago

Even by West End standards it is an astonishing feat. 

Old Etonian actor Sir John Standing has recited from memory a Shakespeare monologue which he first learned 60 years ago, and he has posted the result on Facebook to great acclaim.

Prince Andrew’s thespian friend, who played Mercutio in Romeo And Juliet alongside Leonard Rossiter at the Bristol Old Vic in 1960, granted me a special audience and delivered a word-perfect, two-minute rendition all over again.

‘I’m older than God,’ he jokes. ‘God knows how I remembered the Queen Mab speech.’

Sir John, 85, has appeared on stage with Sir Laurence Olivier and in the TV series The Crown as Captain Imbert-Terry, the owner of Castle of Mey. 

But the actor is growing impatient with the current lockdown, which he is enduring in London with his second wife, Sarah, 60, elder daughter of the late film director Bryan Forbes and Nanette Newman.

‘I’m champing at the bit,’ he tells me. ‘I was told to separate from my wife, and there was a time when were in different rooms.

‘We were tested for Covid-19, but we didn’t have it. Now we are on different floors but we meet in the middle.’

So how does he pass the time? ‘I tap dance to exercise,’ he tells me. Other diversions include watching Narcos, the American TV drama about the cocaine trade in Colombia, and painting.

Sir John, 85, has appeared on stage with Sir Laurence Olivier and in the TV series The Crown as Captain Imbert-Terry, the owner of Castle of Mey (above)

Sir John, 85, has appeared on stage with Sir Laurence Olivier and in the TV series The Crown as Captain Imbert-Terry, the owner of Castle of Mey (above)

‘I went to art school before acting, but then I had to go into the family business [of acting] to earn money. I’m the fourth generation who’s been stupid enough to have been an actor.’

He has also turned to his old friend and fellow octogenarian Dame Joan Collins for solidarity.

‘On our way to buy food last night, we drove past Joan. She came out and waved at us from the balcony.’

Comedian Hugh Dennis is no longer outnumbered in his business after ousting his ex-wife as a shareholder. 

Dennis, now dating his Outnumbered co-star Claire Skinner, has revealed he now has complete control of the TV firm Philosophical Productions. His ex, Kate Abbot-Anderson, previously had a 25 per cent holding. 

Latest accounts show that cash in the business rose by almost £465,000 last year, compared with £225,000 in 2018, leaving Dennis with £1.65 million.

Sharron takes the plunge as a new granny

Olympian Sharron Davies, who was pictured ‘swimming’ on top of her kitchen counter last week, has plunged into an exciting new role.

For I can reveal that the 57-year-old has become a grandmother after her 26-year-old son, Elliott — the eldest of her three children — fathered a daughter named Ariya with his partner, Emily.

Elliott’s father is thrice-married Sharron’s ex-husband, athlete Derek Redmond. The baby had to spend her first two weeks in intensive care with an undisclosed condition, and Sharron says: ‘NHS, we are in your debt.’

Olympian Sharron Davies, who was pictured ‘swimming’ on top of her kitchen counter last week, has plunged into an exciting new role

Olympian Sharron Davies, who was pictured ‘swimming’ on top of her kitchen counter last week, has plunged into an exciting new role

That’s life. . . Camilla consoles Esther over cancelled birthday

The Duchess of Cornwall has commiserated with Dame Esther Rantzen after the broadcaster was forced to cancel her forthcoming 80th birthday celebrations in June due to the pandemic.

‘She was sweetly telling me not to feel too disheartened about it,’ Dame Esther tells me following her chat on the phone with Camilla.

‘I was saying that probably blowing out the candles wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do these days, as I don’t know if you can blow out 80 candles wearing a face mask.’

Dame Esther, who has postponed her party until next year, reveals there is a silver lining to the lockdown because it’s made her more domesticated.

‘The new thing for me — and it’s shocking to admit it — is housework. I’ve never been good at it and I’ve always made things look worse after I’ve been sweeping and cleaning.

‘So, I’ve learned how to wash my own car by hand, I’ve been ironing sheets and I’ve been washing kitchen floors, and it’s been very good for me.

‘It’s a life skill that I should have acquired many years ago.’

Ole! Why Lady Amelia is dressing up for lockdown

Lady Amelia Windsor, an aspiring fashion designer, reveals she’s digging out old outfits from her wardrobe to entertain herself

Lady Amelia Windsor, an aspiring fashion designer, reveals she’s digging out old outfits from her wardrobe to entertain herself

The Duke of Kent’s 24-year-old granddaughter isn’t letting lockdown cramp her style.

Lady Amelia Windsor, an aspiring fashion designer, reveals she’s digging out old outfits from her wardrobe to entertain herself.

‘When you can’t dress up to go out, dress up to stay in,’ she says, posting a picture of herself online in a red and blue flamenco dress.

‘I highly recommend bringing out of the cupboard garments you’ve had happy memories in over the years, like this wonderful flamenco dress shared with my sister [Lady Marina] that I wore accompanying Penelope Chilvers at El Rocio in southern Spain, where each year a pilgrimage ends with a beautiful celebration.’

Boris Becker’s estranged wife Lilly has a new passion in her life.

‘My new obsession is TikTok,’ she says of the video-sharing app. ‘I really try not to go on it, but end up spending an hour-and-a-half on it.’

The Dutch model rules out dating sites to find a potential suitor. ‘I get so many DMs (direct messages) on Instagram or on other apps that I don’t need to go on dating sites.

‘I can just check out their profile and make up my mind.’

So that’s where she gets it: Liz’s mum turns 80

Age cannot wither Elizabeth Hurley, or even her mother it seems. The actress, 54, posed for a picture at home in Herefordshire with mum Angela to celebrate the former primary school teacher’s 80th birthday.

Liz, ex-fiancee of cricketer Shane Warne, was bowled over with compliments from her online admirers as she showed off her slender figure in a plunging fuchsia crop-top. Her mother wore an orange and pink tie-dye kaftan from her daughter’s eponymous swimwear label.

Not taking good genes for granted, mother-of-one Liz described her as the ‘best mama’.

The actress, 54, posed for a picture at home in Herefordshire with mum Angela to celebrate the former primary school teacher’s 80th birthday

The actress, 54, posed for a picture at home in Herefordshire with mum Angela to celebrate the former primary school teacher’s 80th birthday

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