Arts Diary

A weekly round up of what's happening in the arts world

Two conspiracy-thriller novels about the "murder" of Diana, Princess of Wales (below) - The Accident Man, by a writer with the pseudonym Tom Cain, and 12.23: Paris by Eoin McNamee - will hit the shelves this summer and film companies are slavering. Paramount is about to snap up the rights to The Accident Man and Ioan Gruffudd and Ed Norton are already being touted as leads. Some Hollywood big cheeses, including the producer and Spider-Man 3 director Sam Raimi, were put off by the sensitivity question. Cain, however, is armed with many cheeky defences. "My book is as much about Diana as The Day of the Jackal is about General de Gaulle," he tells me. Yeah right!

A couple of years ago Toby Young boasted to me that his hit book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People would be made by Hollywood and would star Jake Gyllenhaal as the hapless hero. He even dubbed it Midget Jones. Well, a film is being made, but here in the UK, and the star is the rather less stratospherically well-known Simon Pegg. Still worth a try, Tobes.

There is a certain logic to the outgoing director of the Proms, Nicholas Kenyon, having controversially booked Michael Ball to perform Lloyd Webber for this year's season. Kenyon has probably never been to a musical in his life, but Ball is to star in Kismet this summer at English National Opera . . . where Kenyon is on the board.

Irvine Welsh's TV film Wedding Belles was, he tells me, meant to end with a montage featuring the Scots scribe dancing in full drag and pot belly to the Vanessa Williams hit "Save the Best for Last" (in homage to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert). It was edited out of the final cut - but will be restored for a forthcoming DVD. You may be glad to hear.

Ben Dowell is a 32 year old freelance journalist who has written extensively on the arts and media for a range of publications including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, the Sunday Mirror and most tabloids. As well as providing punditry for a number of media outlets he has also sat on judging panels for many awards including Bafta and the Royal Television Society. He writes the Arts Diary in the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 14 May 2007 issue of the New Statesman, What now?