Strictly come dancing

The only way is Essex for cash strapped Commons

If politics is show business for ugly people, then parliament is the stage on which they shine. And since 2014 – when the first major Hollywood film was shot at the Palace of Westminster – Commons bosses have raised desperately needed funds for the site by charging media crews access to shoot here. Despite fears that such plans risked turning the institution into a ‘theme park’, figures obtained by Mr S show that parliament raised some £223,883 from 106 requests for such filming between January 2014 and November 2020. Steerpike was intrigued to peruse the records of such requests to find out who exactly has been filming here. Many of the requests are, as expected,

Sensual and silky: the Royal Ballet returns to Covent Garden

Wayne McGregor’s Morgen! and Frederick Ashton’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits are the first pieces of live dance — streamed in real time from an empty auditorium — to come out of Covent Garden since March. Unaware that recordings would be available afterwards, I clung to these fleeting displays with the panic of grandparents on a Zoom call, furiously, helplessly slapping the screen whenever it buffered. Both are quick ballet interludes to longer opera programmes — not afterthoughts, exactly, but not centrepieces either, though with two shirtless danseurs and a beloved ballerina between them, they do just fine asserting their presence. Vadim ‘the Dream’ Muntagirov tackles the Ashton work, reaffirming