Flack's Week: 6 July

Government leaks, a menopausal PR, Ex-Daybreak presenter turned comms pro and a superhero. Flack knows it all...

'Book star': Pelican PR MD Michael Bennett
'Book star': Pelican PR MD Michael Bennett

Fishburn Hedges' public affairs head Dermot Finch accidentally caused a Government leak last week when he tweeted from an Institute for Government debate in which Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood said spending cuts would run for 'seven, eight, maybe ten years', not realising the event was under Chatham House rules. Fortunately, the story was only picked up by the BBC, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, ITV News ...

PRWeek's Pharma Comms conference last week included some astonishing revelations. AstraZeneca's Anne-Toni Rodgers broke off from her speech about market access to declare: 'I am very menopausal. My partner says there is no right or wrong answer and no solution, he just feels my forehead as he walks past.' She later pressed Flack's hand to her forehead to prove her point. Too much information, even at a health conference ...

Ex-Daybreak consumer editor Phil Reay-Smith has been sprinkling a little stardust over Ogilvy PR since joining as head of media in May. Reay-Smith told Flack he still gets recognised and asked for autographs. That's star quality for you, Phil ...

Pelican PR MD Michael Bennett has revealed he is a secret superhero. So secret, in fact, that he wasn't even aware himself. He only found out when he saw the latest novel from James Patterson, entitled I, Michael Bennett. It is the story of a man 'torn between protecting his home town and saving New York City'. Bit of a commute from Saddleworth, isn't it? ...

Flack in Pictures


So you're in Finsbury Park on a sunny day and wearing a furry, oversized beaver suit to promote E4's Beaver Falls. But you can still keep your cool, oh yes. Flack applauds the effort of Ian Johnson Publicity's Thom Will, who realised that as long as you're rocking shades no amount of oversized fake mammal will bring you down.

At Hotels.com's summer party at its new offices last week, Flack was excited to spot 'the Queen', whose picture graced these pages mere weeks ago. It appears the regal pretender has as full a schedule as the real thing but she still had time to squeeze in a picture with senior PR manager Kate Hopcraft and Alison Couper, senior comms director.

Epic car journey across Europe? Check. Drag act? Check. Daytime TV builder Tommy Walsh? Um, check. The Prostate Cancer UK team's car set out on the Thunderball Rally last week. Let's just hope Miss Moneypenny, aka director of fundraising Mark Bishop, can keep her wig on in that convertible.

(Saving) on expenses - The Gate, London EC1

Reviewer Zoe Clapp, head of comms, UKTV.

What is it good for?
This unassuming vegetarian restaurant will impress any guest with its laid-back, pared down menu. When UKTV moved to Hammersmith, The Gate became a new local favourite. As that branch is closed for refurbishment (reopening in October), I've recently had my fix at the new Islington branch.

Signature dish
The Gate shuns the signature dish for a small and perfectly formed menu that changes as regularly as the seasons. The menu contains a world of ethnic influences and isn't scared of spices. Puddings are great too.

Who's the boss?
Two brothers, Michael and Adrian Daniel, run The Gate. With no formal training, they've managed to woo customers including Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna. They describe their cultural background as 'Indo-Iraqi Jewish' which makes for some really interesting dishes.

Tips please
Take a carnivore. I've yet to find one who hasn't rated this place.

What's the damage?
Lunch costs around £25 for three courses.

The Gate, London, 370 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NN. 0207 278 5483.

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