Biggins turns on charm at Hogan Lovells
Christopher Biggins, the man who went from playing Nero in the BBC’s 1976 landmark production of I, Claudius to being one of the country’s favourite pantomime dames, survived his outing at transatlantic law firm Hogan Lovells on Friday.
Biggins had been called in off the subs’ bench after another old trooper, Miriam Margolyes, had to cancel her appearance at the firm’s annual Pride lunch. The gig is held as a celebration of all things lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and Biggins was something of a controversial choice as he has expressed less than sympathetic views about bisexuals.
Still, on the day, the consummate performer charmed his audience, kicking off his post-lunch speech with the exclamation: “I love being gay.”
The 68-year-old has also ruffled feathers in the past by saying that single-sex marriage was not for him, despite being in a longstanding civil partnership. But Biggins reassured the Hogan Lovells audience that he supported gay marriage for others, despite his initial unease over the legislation. “I just didn’t want to see loads of men walking down the aisle dressed in big white fluffy frocks,” he giggled.
Chambers extends olive branch to chastened silk
The dust kicked up by Simon Spence, QC, and his aborted attempt to become the vice-chairman of the Criminal Bar Association has still not settled.
Spence managed the feat of alienating just about every criminal law solicitor in the country by suggesting that they did little more than act as post boxes for barristers. Even his own head of chambers, Max Hill, QC, was less than amused by Spence’s remarks. Spence fell on his sword and shelved his campaign.
Hill, who is also the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, had posted a rebuke on the Red Lion Chambers website. But Hill has told The Brief there was a way back for Spence, who stays with the chambers. As the website says, the chastened QC “will continue to practise from these chambers,” and he “is entitled to and will receive personal support in moving on from this unfortunate episode”.
Perhaps Spence will have another pop at the CBA slot next year – memories can be short.