Allegra Stratton, co-presenter of Peston on Sunday, has made the “painful” decision to leave the political show after two years in order to reclaim weekends with her children, Vaughn, four, and Xanthe, 11 months.
Stratton, right, who is also ITV News’s national editor, said she’d hoped to be in her role “for the whole life of Peston on Sunday” but that although the pressure of keeping up the “three-way struggle between news, kids and weekend work” was “possible”, disappearing on Sundays at dawn was getting harder and harder and meant missing out on seeing her children grow up. “Xanthe is already ginormous. And I want to enjoy her before she is a teenager who won’t talk to me.”
Stratton returned to work six weeks after Xanthe’s arrival — her birth in May 2017 was announced on the show. Initially the baby joined her at work and producers gave them ITV’s star dressing room. “Recently I’ve been trying to close the front door every Sunday morning at 6am and not wake both kids. But they are now always waking.
“During the week I have a full-time job, which is a lot of dawn starts too. So I have decided to cut back on the weekend. The programme is established —firmly part of the Sunday TV carousel. I’ve done 70 shows.”
Among things she’ll miss are her chats with co-host Robert Peston “during the opening titles and the ad breaks”. She says they gossip about “my shirt or his shoes” and she gives him much-needed space to “get the swearing out of his system before it all starts”.
She cites giving Boris Johnson cake to demonstrate how to have your cake and eat it (which he did) as a highlight. “They never have cake on Andrew Marr,” she says.
Stratton is married to The Spectator’s political editor James Forsyth. “He has been 150 per cent supportive of both my role and the programme… but when I told him I was going to stop he was visibly relieved.”
Peston said that he was “gutted” at the news and that the show without Stratton would be “like Dec without Ant”.
No news is good news for Bennett
ALAN Bennett loathes Have I Got News For You — not because of its lack of women hosts but its “pernicious” men.
“I watch five minutes and I always wonder why Ian Hislop and Paul Merton are happy to be on the same show as people like Nigel Farage, Jeremy Clarkson and Boris Johnson,” he said of the long-running BBC quiz show at an event for homeless charity C4WS last week. “Johnson does not have a moral bone in his body, Farage likewise. It makes people think politics is only a joke, but it very much isn’t.”
Celebrity snappers have papped Eddie Redmayne on the Bakerloo line and Rod Stewart hiding at Tottenham Court Road. But there is one star you won’t be seeing. Elizabeth Hurley was once asked if she ever deigned to use public transport. “God no,” the glam actress answered. “Too famous.”
AMAL Clooney’s rented New York townhouse has a wine cellar, a chef’s kitchen and… four building violations. The New York City Department of Buildings raided the address last month. There’s no suggestion Amal and George were aware of the complaints. Perhaps the case could be a busman’s holiday for her.
The art of recycling high fashion — but do give it a wash first, please
OH THE joy of swapping clothes on holiday — and who wouldn’t want to get their hands on Sienna Miller’s wardrobe?
This weekend Miller, right, was in Rome for the E-Prix — a racing event using only electric cars — and also lapped the circuit of parties thrown to toast its presence in the Eternal City.
On Friday she wore a boho-chic dress made of sheer, patchwork fabric, which plainly exposed her black underwear, and a pair of patent coral heels.
The following night she and her friend Josephine de la Baume, far right, actress and ex-wife of producer Mark Ronson, went out again. Jospehine wore, well what a coincidence, a boho-chic dress made of sheer, patchwork fabric, which plainly exposed her black underwear, and a pair of patent coral heels.
While we thoroughly approve of recycling outfits (saves on excess baggage if nothing else), we do hope de la Baume washed those knickers.
Tory MP Johnny Mercer doesn’t follow the rules when it comes to door-knocking. “You get taught to go after key groups. Tory voters read the Telegraph, drive a nice car… so you go and knock on their door,” he says. “I didn’t buy any of that. I got a map of Plymouth, I divided it all up into how many houses I could do a day, and I did everybody.” Plymouth Moor View, his constituency, has an electorate of 69,342. That’s a lot of canvassing.
Oh to be a fly on the wall last week as Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, met Bernie Sanders, the US senator and one-time running rival of Hillary Clinton. After their chat, Thornberry tweeted that their meeting in Washington addressed “issues of mutual concern” including “Syria, Yemen, North Korea, gender equality and Trump”. What she didn’t mention, though, was that Sanders, who is Jewish, was keen to discuss the Labour Party’s anti-Semitism row. Awkward.
Quote of the day
“I might arrange a dress rehearsal before I go.” Sir Ian McKellen says that he has already planned his funeral, and thinks it sounds so fun that he is sad to be missing it
Enninful puts Burberry in the frame
A few weeks ago, ex-Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman wrote a column in the Business of Fashion in which she wondered whether Riccardo Tisci was up to the job as Burberry’s new creative director. Her concern was that the pairing wasn’t the right fit after Christopher Bailey’s tenure.
Shulman’s replacement, Edward Enninful, has no such fears. Over the weekend he was hanging out with Tisci and their old friend Naomi Campbell — the trio taking time to curate a few poses for Instagram. Timely? Possibly. When showing your allegiance, a picture is worth a thousand words.