elcome back to the Londoner’s Diary. Charlie Chaplin is set to be re-examined in light of the #MeToo movement in a documentary being screened for the first time in London this week. Environmentalist and presenter Chris Packham tells us Buckingham Palace lawns could be replaced with a “wild flower meadow” and Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams tells us the publishing industry is full of nepotism and it is “just insanity”. In SW1A we take a look at Boris Johnson’s £25,000-a-week holiday near Marbella.
A DOCUMENTARY being screened for the first time in London this week re-examines Charlie Chaplin in the light of the #MeToo movement, its director has told The Londoner.
The actor and comic started a relationship with his second wife Lita Grey when he was 35 and she was 15. They married in secret in Mexico in 1924, and divorced acrimoniously three years later, with her accusing him of cruelty. The case caused a storm at the time, but Chaplin’s popularity remained high. Three of Chaplin’s four wives married him as teenagers.
James Spinney who co-directed The Real Charlie Chaplin with Peter Middleton, told The Londoner: “It felt crucial that the film foreground the voices of the women in Chaplin’s life and the impact of their relationships with him. Lita’s story raises questions not just about Chaplin’s behaviour but also about how the media and political establishment create a culture of impunity for powerful people.”
The documentary is showing on Thursday as part of the London Film Festival. It explores Chaplin’s work and life as the “first modern celebrity”, and focuses on his humble childhood in Elephant and Castle. “There’s a disconnect between his iconic status and people’s unfamiliarity with his films and also his life, which is one of the great rags to riches stories” says Spinney.
It also contains new interviews with Chaplin’s children. One son says he was “frightened” of him. “Everyone who gets too close to him he’ll end up suffocating. He couldn’t help it,” he says.
Author’s blast at ‘insane’ nepotism
QUEENIE author Candice Carty-Williams says the publishing industry is still full of nepotism and it is “just insanity”. Carty-Williams, who is preparing to launch her young adult novel Empress & Aniya, tells us there is still a glut of publishers who will give a very average book a chance, simply on the basis that it was written by a friend or contact. There is only one solution, she says: “People need to start hiring people who don’t look like themselves.”
Environmentalist and presenter Chris Packham had a tough weekend after an arsonist targeted his New Forest home on Friday morning. But it didn’t stop him marching to Buckingham Palace the next day to hand in a petition calling for the rewilding of royal estates. The royal family own more than 1.4 per cent of land in the UK, and Packham suggests that palace lawns might be replaced with a “wild flower meadow”. The presenter says Prince Andrew doesn’t have to fear wolves at Balmoral just yet: the first priority would be “beaver and wild boar”. Phew.
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