It’s been a tough year in the diary world. Covid has wrecked the usual party circuit of canapés and cocktails, with hard pressed hacks forced to pump their sources for a rapidly diminishing supply of gossip for the past 15 months.
Now it appears that not even the legendary Sebastian Shakespeare is safe. Shakespeare, an Oxford contemporary of Boris Johnson who once dated his sister Rachel, has long been regarded as the doyen of diary reporters. A fifteen year stint editing the 'Londoner's Diary' at the Evening Standard between 1998 and 2013 saw his column earn multiple awards and the ire of one well-known public figure who attacked him with a bucket of horse manure.
Since then he has spent the last seven and a half years at the Daily Mail editing the page's regular diary as a worthy successor to the legendary Nigel Dempster. But it seems that Shakespeare's tales of the rich and famous have not found favour with the paper's supremely-connected editor Geordie Greig. This week the Old Etonian dispensed with the services of his veteran diarist – to the consternation of many hacks in Northcliffe House. One told Mr S they were 'devastated' by the news.
A spokesman for the Mail told Steerpike 'After seven years of outstanding service, Sebastian Shakespeare is stepping down to pursue new writing and commercial ventures.' Shakespeare's place will instead be taken by former Mandrake deputy Richard Eden, whose 'Eden Confidential' column now goes five days a week.
From one diarist to another, Steerpike wishes Shakespeare the best of luck in his future career and looks forward to him gracing the pages of other nationals very soon.