Derren Brown backs down in battle of the mind games
Raj Persaud isn't the only mind specialist facing an awkward climbdown over one of his books. Channel 4's entertaining "psychological illusionist" Derren Brown is also under the cosh over his last tome Tricks of the Mind.
Brown has recently been forced to delete text from future editions of the work in which he makes unflattering references to Dr Richard Bandler, the noted American psychologist who pioneers a treatment called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NPL), and who is close associate of the TV hypnotist Paul McKenna.
In the book, which was released last October, he describes NLP as "resembling something of a pyramid scheme, with Bandler sat cheerily at the top", and took a further personal swipe in the book at Bandler himself, stating that it's "hard to tell whether he's hugely effective or a great, brilliant, captivating con".
Brown's publishers at Channel 4 weren't available to comment last night, but are understood to have agreed not to repeat the comments in the future
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Bandler, said he was happy to now put the matter behind him.
"Dr Bambler was quite prepared to sue over the comments, but we're satisfied they now won't be repeated in future editions," I'm told.
"He's also expecting a grovelling apology from Brown to personally apologise for any unintended offence caused, otherwise it's case closed as far as we're concerned."
Open season down at Brad and Ange's place
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's potential face-off with their new neighbours in France is threatening to turn ugly.
Last month, it was reported that the grounds of the couple's new chateau in Aix-en-Provence were used by hunters during boar season.
Given that the Hollywood couple are vocal supporters of environmental causes, villagers were concerned that they would declare the grounds, which they have leased off American millionaire Tom Bove, off limits.
However, over the weekend, the president of the village hunt's society emphatically stated that when the boar hunting season begins on 15 August, the Pitts' estate will be fair game.
"We have a written agreement in place to hunt on the estate that doesn't expire until at least 30 August," he told France Dimanche.
"There is no indication that the estate owner wishes to challenge that – quite the contrary."
Says my man on the Riviera: "There's not much they can do about it. The best you can hope is if any damage is done, someone will pay for it."
Taxi for Edmonds
When Noel Edmonds isn't filming his TV show Deal or No Deal in Bristol, he enjoys nothing more than giving the local press the run-around.
The presenter has, I'm reliably informed, recently taken to driving around the city in a London taxi, which he bought as a gift to himself last December.
Understandably, fellow motorists reckon it's a cheeky wheeze on Edmonds' part so that he can drive about making use of the numerous taxi lanes.
Although local photographers have apparently taken to chasing him Diana-style around the city in the hope of securing the proof, a spokesman insists they won't succeed,
"They've been following him for months, but it's not why he bought it," I'm told.
"Noel is just a very enthusiastic motorist who loves his cars and has always fancied driving a black cab."
Some of the of hacks heading up to Yorkshire to cover David Davis's forthcoming by-election campaign in Haltemprice and Howden will no doubt be treading a familiar path.
Howden is currently home to the Press Association's operations centre, where much of its training programme takes place.
Since the programme is popular with a number of national newspapers, they'll already be more than well acquainted with the charming village's numerous watering holes.
For any of those didn't attend the course, Pandora recommends the Minster View Hotel.
Not only is the beer good, the hostelry also possesses a particularly lively jukebox.
Will it end in tears for Anna Kournikova?
Anna Kournikova, if nothing else, is slavishly devoted to keeping her fans up to speed with all her latest money-spinning excursions.
"Just wanted to give you a quick update on what's going on in the next few weeks. This week I have two photoshoots – one for Sports Illustrated magazine and one for Maxim," reads her latest blog entry. "After that, I'm on my way to Stuttgart, Germany to play an exhibition match with Henri Leconte, Michael Stich and Barbara Schett, should be fun!"
Strangely, Kournikova neglects to mention that she's also due to play her former coach Justin Gimelstob in Washington soon, a game of which he recently promised: "If she's not crying by the time she walks off the court, then I did not do my job."
Let's hope she's saving the details for a future bulletin.