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Aboard The BBC Election Boat With Andrew Neil’s Nicky Haslam Meets Captain Bligh

MOST ghastly fun of election night was Andrew Neil’s celebrity Thames barge party. Whenever Jeremy Paxman drawled himself into bored paralysis in the BBC studio – where a hereditary Dimbleby anchor modelled Dame Barbara Cartland’s mortuary makeup – we cut pierside and to Andrew’s game attempt to cross Nicky Haslam with Capt Bligh, writes Madame Arcati.

Beyond Andrew’s well-chronicled adoration of stars it was hard to see what his Debrett’s People of Today-approved liggers added to the occasion, but at least the likes of Bill Wyman kept him happy. We wouldn’t want the chairman of the rightwing Spectator publishing company not to feel indulged.

The Best And Weirdest Election Pictures: A Gallery

There was Bruce Forsyth. Bereft of a gameshow crowd of dentured chucklers, he twirled to face the party-gatherers behind him and cried, “Nice to see you …” etc, to indifferent response. The former Sunday Times editor didn’t know where to look. Standing by Bruce’s side was Sir Ben Kingsley (or “Sirben” as he’s better known to luvvies) who irrelevantly paid tribute to democracy in a poorer part of the world. Neil looked unengaged (Gemini!), backed away a bit… [cut to studio!].

Private Eye fans will have welcomed the sight of Ian Hislop positioned within slapping distance of our host. For years the magazine has repeatedly published a photo of a vested Andrew partying with some gorgeous gal (not Pamella Bordes!), wilfully misspelt his name (Neill) and teased his thatch (“Brillo”). But for the TV cameras they were buddies – isn’t that always the case with slebs? Ian seemed put out by the Lib Dem collapse which gave Andrew an opportunity to josh him as a commie bastard, or something.

Oh, revenge handbags at the next starry do!

The Best And Weirdest Election Pictures: A Gallery

Earlier, Andrew had talked with Ian’s other mortal foe, Piers Morgan. It was a shocking exchange. Piers sounded intelligent and faintly socialist! He looked slimmer than I recall! Next to him was Mariella Whatsup who bemoaned the influence of markets on democracy; and did I see Jane Moore of The Sun there, sounding a lot less enamoured of the Tories than in her column? I guess she has to keep Rebekah happy.

Later Andrew invited Martin Amis to bring some “literary sense” to the election. Mart tried but it’s hard to think amid canapés. And then I noticed on Twitter that Guardian writer Jemima Kiss thought Andrew “needs a better colourist. Sheesh.”

Yes, to start with.

The Best And Weirdest Election Pictures: A Gallery

Posted: 7th, May 2010 | In: Politicians | Comment