The Ed ‘dad dancer’ Balls memoirs are strictly a total flop: Former shadow chancellor’s book shifts only 6,000 copies
Former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who nearly dropped his Strictly dance partner Katya Jones last week, has suffered another humiliating setback.
He lost his seat at last year’s general election, and his attempts to write about his legacy seem to be faring as badly as he does on the dance floor.
Last month, Balls, who has been entertainingly inept on the BBC1 show, released his memoirs Speaking Out: Lessons In Life And Politics to much fanfare. But the book has been languishing on the shelves, shifting a shade over 6,000 copies since it went on sale in September.
His publishers, Hutchinson, who called the autobiography ‘a unique window into a rarely seen world’ when they acquired it at auction earlier this year, had hoped that Balls’ star-making turn on Strictly would boost the book’s appeal.
Despite lasting on the show longer than anyone had predicted — he was saved by viewers again at the weekend as pop star Anastacia left the show — fans have not been persuaded to buy the tome.
‘Speaking Out is a brave and revelatory account by an influential thinker and an extraordinary politician,’ editorial director Tom Avery said in May. ‘It is a project that is unique in its candour, eloquence and range: a reckoning, a record of a remarkable career, and a rallying cry. It is a work of real importance.’
Just five months later, however, and executives have changed their tune dramatically. ‘I rather wish we’d done a book instead on his time on Strictly, even if it is often “dad dancing” at its worst,’ a source at the publishing house tells me.
Although it is unknown how much the prancing politician was paid for penning his magnum opus, it appears that, unlike his former colleague Tony Blair, who earned a £4.6 million advance for his memoirs six years ago, Balls won’t be dancing all the way to the bank.
n He’s known for his flamboyant outfits, but cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry has sadly given up on his dream of taking part in Strictly Come Dancing.
Despite having dropped many hints over the years that he would love to participate, the Turner Prize winner has apparently never been asked.
‘I used to love dancing,’ he laments. ‘There was a point where I would have gone for Strictly, but I think I’m too old now. My body’s a bit crook.’
Joanna Lumley never shies away from speaking her mind just like her Ab Fab alter-ego Patsy. The RADA reject is now claiming that young people shouldn’t bother in school if they’re not going to university.
‘I’m against all kinds of training. I go around schools to give talks and I always tell them not to go to university,’ Lumley, 70, tells me. ‘After you’ve left school, nobody cares what exam results you have. Why keep working? If you’re not going to university anyway, can you see how sweet life could be?’
As Amal Clooney dined with supermodel Cindy Crawford in California over the weekend — alongside their husbands, George Clooney and businessman Rande Gerber — onlookers might have wondered which of the two women was a lawyer and which a clotheshorse.
Cindy, 50, opted for a pair of demure, tailored navy trousers coupled with a paisley blouse. Meanwhile, barrister Amal, 38, chose a low-cut, midriff-baring black lace top skin-tight jeans and black nail polish.
While there have been grumblings around the Inns of Court about how much time Amal actually spends at the Bar, she has clearly absorbed one valuable lesson from her legal career: never lose your appeal.
Arise Sir Robert! That is the cry from friends of Robert Hardy, who are dismayed that the actor, who turned 91 on Saturday, still hasn’t been made a knight of the realm.
All Creatures Great And Small star Robert, who celebrated his birthday with a party at his Hampshire home, has been treading the boards for more than 60 years, and has played opposite acting legends such as Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton.
‘There’s no question he should be knighted,’ says actress-turned-author Carol Drinkwater, who starred with him in the hit BBC drama about Yorkshire vets. ‘I hope someone is listening.’