Entertainment

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: The Sussexes must have felt on top of the world with Spare the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever and a ‘£88million Netflix deal’ in the bag… So why was it this year that their sanctimonious bubble burst?

Can it be really be almost a year since Prince Harry’s autobiography Spare was published?

It became the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever, with more than 3.2 million copies shifted in the first week. At the time, the Sussexes, with a reported £88 million Netflix deal, must have felt on top of the world.

Especially after their performance on Oprah Winfrey’s show had been hailed as the most successful interview in royal history.

How public perceptions have changed. This month, as they were doubtless decorating their eco-friendly Californian Christmas tree, their world came crashing down.

The respected bible of showbiz, The Hollywood Reporter, declared them ‘two of the biggest losers in Hollywood’ in 2023.



This month, as the couple were doubtless decorating their eco-friendly Californian Christmas tree, their world came crashing down

This month, as the couple were doubtless decorating their eco-friendly Californian Christmas tree, their world came crashing down

At the time of Prince Harry's book Spare, the Sussexes, with a reported £88 million Netflix deal, must have felt on top of the world

At the time of Prince Harry’s book Spare, the Sussexes, with a reported £88 million Netflix deal, must have felt on top of the world

Spare became the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began in 1998 and sold 3.2 million copies worldwide in the first week of publication

Spare became the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began in 1998 and sold 3.2 million copies worldwide in the first week of publication

They were singled out for their ‘whiny Netflix documentary, whiny biography (Spare — even the title is a pouty gripe) and their inert podcast’, Archetypes, which was dropped by Spotify after just one season.

Spotify’s head of podcast innovation and monetisation, Bill Simmons, derided them as ‘grifters’ when their £16 million multi-year deal with the company was cancelled.

We have also discovered their expensive six-part Netflix Harry & Meghan docuseries failed to make the company’s top 200 shows, languishing in 211th place of most-streamed programmes. The Hollywood Reporter take-down was merciless: ‘The Harry and Meghan brand swelled into a sanctimonious bubble just bursting to be popped — and South Park was the pin.’

The magazine was referring to the U.S. cartoon show which ridiculed the Sussexes’ ‘World-Wide Privacy Tour’ with Harry feverishly promoting his book Spare while pleading for his and Meghan’s privacy.

Pilloried and parodied in their chosen home America, cancelled by Spotify, put on the back-burner by Netflix . . . could it get any worse?

Alas it did. We learned that donations to their charitable foundation Archewell had fallen £8.7 million to £1.6 million a year.

There is no doubt Harry’s victory yesterday, winning 15 claims in his case accusing Mirror Group Newspapers of unlawfully gathering information about him, will be a filip for the Prince and Princess of Montecito.

But there is no escaping the fact The Hollywood Reporter is right. This was the year the sanctimonious Sussex bubble finally burst.

Full time for Gary?

The BBC’s incoming chairman Samir Shah says Auntie’s top earner Gary Lineker (£1.35 million a year) ‘appears to have breached’ its social media guidelines with tweets attacking or mocking Tory MPs in contravention of their code of conduct requiring ‘respect and civility in public discourse’.

As a football fan I say Lineker is a good presenter and now wonder if he’s actually trying to get sacked. A future in politics, perhaps — but could he afford the pay cut?

It’ll be Goody if Bobby wins Strictly

And so to the final of Strictly tonight, when fans will vote for either: professionally trained dancer Layton Williams, 29, who first performed on stage aged 12; Corrie star Ellie Leach, who admits to learning ‘a little tap and ballet’; or Jade Goody’s eldest son Bobby Brazier, 20, the only real novice.


If Strictly is true to its original promise of teaching amateurs the magic of ballroom, adorable Bobby — dancing with Dianne Buswell — is the only one we should vote for. Maybe some heavenly intervention from mum Jade Goody will wing it.

If Strictly is true to its original promise of teaching amateurs the magic of ballroom, adorable Bobby is the only one we should vote for

If Strictly is true to its original promise of teaching amateurs the magic of ballroom, adorable Bobby is the only one we should vote for

Dakota’s so ill at eazzze

Despite her dazzling career and being loved up with Coldplay’s multi-millionaire Chris Martin, Fifty Shades Of Grey actress Dakota Johnson says she suffers such anxiety she needs ten to 14 hours sleep a night, hot yoga, Pilates and weight training five times a week . . . oh, and hot baths as well as two sessions of meditation a day. No wonder the poor lass is fifty shades of miserable. 

Dakota Johnson says she suffers such anxiety she needs ten to 14 hours sleep a night, hot yoga, Pilates and weight training five times a week and hot baths as well as two mediation sessions a day

Dakota Johnson says she suffers such anxiety she needs ten to 14 hours sleep a night, hot yoga, Pilates and weight training five times a week and hot baths as well as two mediation sessions a day

The Crown writer Peter Morgan was clearly demob happy creating the final six episodes of the hit Netflix series as he reunited the three actresses who played the Queen — Olivia Colman, Claire Foy and Imelda Staunton — in the church as Charles and Camilla married. They appear as weird ghosts. Note to Morgan, who insists accuracy is all-important — our late Queen didn’t even attend the wedding. 

Not a Lottie time with Leo

Leonardo DiCaprio’s seen partying with Kate Moss’s half-sister Lottie, 25, at London’s Chiltern Firehouse.

Rumours abound of a relationship. It’s a bit creepy as he had a liaison with Kate, now 49, 30 years ago. Poor Lottie! She is 26 in January — the age eternal bachelor Leo, 49, dumps all his arm candy for a younger model.

Poor Lottie! She is 26 in January — the age eternal bachelor Leo, 49, dumps all his arm candy for a younger model

Poor Lottie! She is 26 in January — the age eternal bachelor Leo, 49, dumps all his arm candy for a younger model

My moggie Ted is horrified to read scientists want to wage war on ‘killer cats’ they say kill up to 75 million birds and small mammals in Britain every year. Ted insists many felines like him do not prey on tits or mice and he’s never killed either. But he admits to being lethal with the odd moth or daddy long legs. 

Fantastic news that Rebecca Welch, who once juggled refereeing regional games with her NHS day job, will be the first female to referee a Premier League game. And what fun for us to watch the often abusive top-flight players squaring up to no-nonsense Rebecca as she sternly pulls another card out of her pocket. That’s a big win for equality. 

Westminster Wars

A shameful day this week when Tory rebels tried to topple the Government over Rwanda. With Rishi plummeting in the polls, don’t the Conservatives realise their disloyalty is abhorrent to the voters who will surely be the very ones to bring this Government down at the next election?

Just when we’d lost faith in the Conservatives, MP David Davis, who trained with the SAS, saves a homeless man from being beaten by two vicious thugs yards from Parliament. Davis took Gareth — who had blood pouring from his head — back to his home then to A&E the next day. His selfless actions prove there still are good guys left in politics.

After risible notices for Meg Ryan’s latest movie What Happens Later, even our reviewer Brian Viner could not help but comment on the distraction of ‘some ill-advised cosmetic surgery that it seems ungallant to mention yet can’t be ignored’. She is almost unrecognisable from the Sally who met Harry. Maybe her next movie should be When Meg Met Her Surgeon, a horror film where she’s screaming: ‘No, no no!’ 

Happy ending for missing Alex

As details emerge about British boy Alex Batty, who disappeared six years ago aged 11 when his mother took to him to live in a Spanish new age commune, what joy for the Nan he contacted and a relief for him to be on his way home. And let’s thank the French truck driver, who gave him a lift, ultimately to freedom.

In the season of goodwill, this story of a Good Samaritan is most welcome.

What joy for the Nan Alex Batty (pictured) contacted and a relief for him to be on his way home. And let’s thank the French truck driver, who gave him a lift, ultimately to freedom.

What joy for the Nan Alex Batty (pictured) contacted and a relief for him to be on his way home. And let’s thank the French truck driver, who gave him a lift, ultimately to freedom.

Cop28 hails a ‘landmark’ decision after nearly 200 countries agreed ‘to transition away’ from fossil fuels. No explicit commitment to phase out or even phase down the fuels, certainly not from the world’s greatest polluters, China, the U.S., India and Russia. So Cop28 was all hot air, the very thing they were supposed to be reducing. 

Hugh Grant, 63, star of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Bridget Jones, Notting Hill and Love Actually, says he loves the films but ‘never felt comfortable really doing them’ and wants more interesting roles. Good luck. Hugh only had one movie persona — as a love interest. But he must find it some comfort, actually, that he earned $150 million making movies he didn’t really like. 

Labour MP Stella Creasy blames the ‘motherhood penalty’ for the fact she can’t enjoy boozing at festive parties, mouthing off about having to collect her kids from nursery. Many childless women, me included, would have done anything to be so deprived, Stella. 

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