EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Mark Bamford in fight to save stars’ haunt in Mayfair


JCB scion Mark Bamford is digging in to try to save his favourite restaurant, which has been a London landmark since the Swinging Sixties.

Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s, at the Hilton in Park Lane, Mayfair, has been attracting the rich and famous, including The Beatles, since 1963, but is being evicted by the American hotel chain at the end of this month.

Rhett Rosen, chief executive of Trader Vic’s Worldwide, says the Hilton has ‘decided to renovate’, adding: ‘I wanted to say from the bottom of my heart how much we appreciate and love all of you.’

Mark — whose billionaire brother, Lord (Anthony) Bamford, runs the JCB digger company — tells me: ‘I have been a guest at the restaurant since 1965 when I was first taken there with my late parents. I am now led to believe that I am their longest-serving guest.

Trader Vic's South Pacific theme bar, Park Lane Hilton, 22 Park Lane, London W1

Trader Vic’s South Pacific theme bar, Park Lane Hilton, 22 Park Lane, London W1

JCB scion Mark Bamford is digging in to try to save his favourite restaurant, which has been a London landmark since the Swinging Sixties

JCB scion Mark Bamford is digging in to try to save his favourite restaurant, which has been a London landmark since the Swinging Sixties

‘I, and many others, view this decision as totally crass. It is, without doubt, an institution and part of the establishment.’ Bamford, 71, adds: ‘Trader Vic’s has some of the most incredible decor and I’ve already told the manager that, if they do sell, then I’d like to buy it. But I really hope it doesn’t come to that. It would make no sense at all for it to close. This decision seems so short-sighted.’

Racing driver Sir Stirling Moss was a regular, along with James Bond stars Sir Roger Moore and Sir Sean Connery. The 007 producers Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had an office nearby.

More than 6,000 people have already signed a petition asking the hotel to reverse its decision.

A Hilton spokesman declines to comment.

Sienna’s big sister ties knot for second time

Wedding dress designer Savannah Miller has got to wear a bridal gown for the second time.

The sister of Hollywood star Sienna Miller exchanged vows at the weekend at St Peter’s church in Petersham, South-West London.

Her groom was James Whewell, the 41-year-old heir to the 800-acre Wyresdale Park Estate in Lancashire.

‘The most magical day,’ says Amelia Warner, musician wife of Fifty Shades Of Grey star Jamie Dornan, who was among the guests. The reception was held at Petersham Nurseries, the celebrated restaurant nearby.

Savannah, 43, who wore one of her own creations, has three children with ex-husband Nick Skinner, a bushcraft teacher from Devon. 

Savannah Miller on her wedding day at the weekend

Savannah Miller on her wedding day at the weekend

Savannah Miller and Sienna Miller The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, Arrivals, New York, USA - 07 May 2018

Savannah Miller and Sienna Miller The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, Arrivals, New York, USA – 07 May 2018

Savannah Miller's wedding pictured in this social media post

Savannah Miller’s wedding pictured in this social media post

A little hero for royal pal

Princess Charlotte’s godfather Thomas van Straubenzee is far too busy to watch Prince Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix series.

I can reveal that his wife, Lucy, has just given birth to their first son.

‘He’s a healthy little chap and weighed 9 lb 8 oz,’ one of their friends tells me. ‘They’ve called him Albert, with the middle name Fenwick, after Thomas’s great-uncle, Major Ian Fenwick, who was an SAS hero in World War II.’

Lucy is a teacher at Thomas’s, the London schools which were attended by Princess Charlotte as well as her elder brother, Prince George, before the family moved to Berkshire in September. Knight Frank estate agent Thomas also has a two-year-old daughter, Mary, with Lucy.

Em’s mood dress ticks all the boxes

Everyone’s encouraged to talk about their emotions these days, but Oscar winner Emerald Fennell has them emblazoned on her dress.

The Call The Midwife star, 37, turned up to a party at the Chelsea studio of her jeweller father, Theo Fennell, wearing a vintage Moschino dress with ‘How do you feel?’ written on it.

Below was a list of options including ‘scared’, ‘in love’ and ‘old fashioned’.

Novelist Kathy Lette, pictured near right with Emerald’s sister, Coco, 34, far right, jokes: ‘If diving head first into the mulled wine leaves us too tipsy to talk, we can just point out our feelings on Em’s magical mood dress.’ 

MAMMA MIA! has grossed more than £3 billion from stage productions around the world, but Monty Python star John Cleese turned down the chance to write his own ABBA musical.

The Swedish group’s Benny Andersson recalls: ‘We met John Cleese in Barbados. We said: ‘We’re thinking about writing a musical about New Year’s Eve. Would you be interested in writing the book for that?’ He said: ‘No!’ We didn’t get any further with that idea.’

Justin Hawkins, of The Darkness, says he insisted that the lyrics sung by a children’s choir on their festive hit, Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), were non-negotiable.

Justin Hawkins from The Darkness performing onstage during the Thundergong! Benefit Concert at the Uptown Theater on November 12, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri

Justin Hawkins from The Darkness performing onstage during the Thundergong! Benefit Concert at the Uptown Theater on November 12, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri

‘The thing that was important to me was ‘bells end’ and ‘ring in peace’. OK, they’re nearly rude.’ A victory for puerile schoolboy humour surely appreciated by the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College choir.

Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking the entertainment world is a friendly one. ‘The thing people like to tell themselves about showbusiness is that we all just get along, we’re all pals, it’s all a big funhouse,’ comedian Al Murray says. ‘And, obviously, it isn’t.’

The Pub Landlord star adds: ‘One of my daughters is at drama school and there’s a bit of me that thinks, ‘Maybe reconsider and become an accountant.’

Sue Barker has been besieged with offers to appear in reality TV shows.

‘I’ve said no to every single one of them — Strictly and I’m A Celebrity,’ says the 66-year-old. ‘I’m terrified of making a complete idiot of myself’. She adds: ‘I can’t dance and I don’t like spiders.’

A new musical about The Osmonds has been a smash hit, but Merrill Osmond, the lead singer of such 1970s hits as Love Me For A Reason and Let Me In, has revealed the torment behind the smiles.

‘I was always a nervous little boy,’ he says. ‘I was the one who struggled a lot. I was the least confident of the brothers. Everyone knew I struggled with my weight. I had an eating disorder.’ Happily, Merrill is in better mental health now.



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