EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Eileen Atkins is one up on Judi Dench – she’s in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book!
Known as the ‘little black book’, it’s 97 pages long and contains the names and addresses of almost 2,000 world leaders, famous personalities and businessmen including Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Tony Blair.
Now, Dame Eileen Atkins has discovered that she’s included in convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous contacts book — but has managed to see the positive side.
The celebrated actress has concluded that being in it is much better than being left out.
‘I thought you are nobody if you are not in there,’ she declares at The Oldie Gang Show, at the Reform Club in London’s Pall Mall.
In a withering comment on her fellow theatrical dame, she adds, jokingly: ‘And I noticed Judi Dench wasn’t.’
The pair enjoy a friendly rivalry and played sisters in the hit BBC costume drama Cranford.
Epstein’s book is thought to have been compiled by his friend and supposed lover, Ghislaine Maxwell.
The British former socialite was convicted on five charges related to sex trafficking last month.
Dame Judi Dench, left, and Dame Eileen Atkins pose together at the Britweek launch party at the British Consul Generals’ residence in Los Angeles in 2004
Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell pictured together in 2005
This week, however, she filed for a retrial, due to a juror’s possible failure to disclose that he was sexually abused as a child before the trial.
The book includes 301 British contacts and is being reviewed by the FBI after U.S. prosecutors vowed to pursue all those involved in her ‘pyramid scheme of abuse’.
It features a host of famous names, from rock stars Sir Mick Jagger and Phil Collins to supermodel Naomi Campbell and broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby.
There is no suggestion that any of them has done anything wrong.
Dame Eileen, 87, who co-created the TV classic Upstairs, Downstairs and also played Queen Mary in The Crown, tells me: ‘I have no idea why I’m in there — it’s supposed to be Ghislaine’s address book.’
She says she ‘came to the conclusion that it was just famous people’ after watching this week’s ITV documentary Ghislaine, Prince Andrew And The Paedophile.
Let’s hope that Oscar-winner Dench, 87, finds her friend’s jibe amusing. Atkins once said about Dench: ‘What she was loved for by her fellow actors was the humour that bubbled inside her.’
They first acted together when they were both 24 in the 1959 TV series Hilda Lessways.
Dench was awarded a damehood in 1988, while Atkins had to wait until 2001.
Rees-Mogg can’t mask his Old Etonian pride
David Cameron always seemed embarrassed about his expensive education, and pledged to send his children to state schools (before changing his mind as soon as he left office).
But Jacob Rees-Mogg is proud of having attended Eton College.
Jacob Rees Mogg seen leaving a pre Budget cabinet meeting in Downing Street in October
So proud, in fact, that the Commons Leader wore a face mask decorated with the blue and white stripes of the £44,000-per-year school when he sat near fellow Old Etonian Boris Johnson at PMQs this week.
‘It is indeed an OE face mask,’ he tells me. ‘How very well spotted.’
Once described as London’s ‘posh wild child’, Lady Mary Charteris is making sure her child inherits her flamboyant fashion sense.
The 34-year-old daughter of the Earl of Wemyss has been showing off the matching leopard-print swimsuits they wear while on holiday in Mexico.
Her eight-month-old girl is aptly named Wilde. ‘Just a couple of Wilde beasts,’ the model and DJ jokes.
Never afraid of bold sartorial choices, she raised eyebrows with her semi-transparent wedding dress when she married Robbie Furze, of indie rock band The Big Pink.
Like her friend Holly Willoughby, Fearne Cotton was once a TV sweetheart, but now she’s slipped into relative obscurity — and insists she prefers it.
‘The other night a bloke came up to me in a restaurant and asked, “What do you do these days?” Because he watches mainstream TV and isn’t aware of what I do — which is absolutely fine,’ says Cotton, 40, who writes books and hosts a podcast.
‘My work might be smaller, but I am happier than ever.
‘When I was supposedly at my success peak, my life was falling apart.’
Double Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins took issue with the notion that he might have once courted U.S. cookery queen Martha Stewart, insisting they had dinner together only once.
Yet, she remains adamant they would have enjoyed a longer friendship had she not been frightened off by the cannibalistic serial killer he played in The Silence Of The Lambs.
‘I have a big scary house that’s way by itself on 100 acres in the forest and I couldn’t even imagine taking Anthony Hopkins there,’ she explains.
‘All I could think of was him eating, you know . . .’
To be, or not to be a woman? That is the question.
Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard, who recently revealed a desire to be ‘based in girl mode’, has announced a production of Hamlet with just one cast member: Izzard.
It is unknown whether the comic will play all of Shakespeare’s characters, including the Danish prince and Ophelia, with Izzard saying only: ‘I am developing a solo version.’
Eddie Izzard during the Six Minutes To Midnight photocall at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in March last year
The play will be performed at London’s Riverside Studios.
Monty Python star John Cleese is amused by the prospect, remarking: ‘I can’t wait to see the duel.’
Usually ebullient former Strictly star Nancy Dell’Olio is mourning her ex-husband, the Italian property lawyer Giancarlo Mazza, who has died aged 87.
‘He was the most important man in my life, after my father,’ says Nancy, 60, adding: ‘I was so lucky to have shared a part of my journey with him.’
The pair’s journey ended when Nancy had an affair with football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Fiery Nancy left Mazza for Sven, moving to London when the Swede became England boss.
Sven later explained: ‘Giancarlo said Nancy was expensive and impossible, but still the best thing that had ever happened to him.
I think he was trying to tell me not to take her away from him. I probably should have listened.’
Under fire for promoting cryptocurrencies to her impressionable Instagram followers, as I reported last week, Georgia Toffolo has found herself in hot water again.
I hear the I’m A Celebrity winner is in trouble for flouting Covid rules in Mexico, where she’s on holiday.
‘Just got told off for not wearing a mask outside while travelling on a buggy with no windows or doors,’ she wails, adding: ‘We’ve got it pretty good in the UK.’
Hit Netflix drama Sex Education is aimed at teenagers, but clearly appeals to much older viewers, too.
George Robinson, 24, who plays a lovelorn man in a wheelchair, tells me he was approached by an 80-year-old fan in the street who thanked him for spicing up her sex life.
The actor, who was paralysed aged 17 when he broke his neck on a school rugby tour in South Africa, jokingly mimics his awkward response: ‘Ah . . . cool. Great. I’m glad it helped.’
When Caroline Nokes bravely accused Stanley Johnson last year of smacking her ‘on the backside as hard as he could’ at the Tory conference in 2003, the MP thought there might be consequences.
In fact, Boris Johnson’s father, who said he had ‘no recollection’ of Nokes, has been welcomed back into the Tory fold.
Yesterday, he joined Environment Secretary George Eustice at a Conservative Environment Network event in Westminster.
Ben Goldsmith, the Government adviser on stage with Eustice, hailed Stanley as the ‘big gorilla of Conservative environmentalism’.
Nokes, who declines to comment, might call him something rather worse.