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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Bankruptcy battle looms for ex-BBC executive who racked up £1.1 million hotel bill

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He’s pulled off the sort of things that most of us can only dream of, whether it’s checking into the sumptuous Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel and racking up a room service bill for £25,000, or shelling out £3 million for Piers Court, the country house where Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited.

But those glory days must now seem a distant memory for former BBC executive Jason Blain. 

For I can reveal that the Scot, 52, has been named as debtor in a bankruptcy petition at the High Court.

This follows a bleak December during which Piers Court was sold at auction, at the insistence of Hoare’s Bank, which had lent one of Blain’s companies £2.1 million — only for the company to default on repayment.

The house went for just over the £3 million which Blain had paid for it — despite it being occupied by two friends, who, by agreement with Blain, had become sitting tenants for just £5-a-week rent.

I can reveal that the Scot, 52, has been named as debtor in a bankruptcy petition at the High Court (pictured)

I can reveal that the Scot, 52, has been named as debtor in a bankruptcy petition at the High Court (pictured)

Hoare’s declines to comment, but Companies House records state that Winston’s House Ltd – of which Blain is a director – still owes the bank money, notwithstanding the sale of Piers Court.

Blain, previously BBC Worldwide’s director of business, could not be reached for comment.

He is named as a director of no fewer than 26 companies, four of which — including Winston’s House — are months overdue in filing their accounts.

His difficulties date back to 2020 when he booked into the Mandarin Oriental in London’s Knightsbridge, opting for its £4,725-a-night Penthouse Suite, which boasts three bedrooms and bathrooms, its own terrace and, of course, private butler service.

Intending to luxuriate there for just six nights, Blain ended up staying for eight months, at the end of which his tab came to £1.1 million – boosted by £30,000 fees for valet parking, £8,600 for spa treatments and his room service charges.

A bill that some football pundits might struggle with…

Du Maurier grandson marries lingerie boss

His grandmother conjured up perhaps the most terrifying second marriage in literary history.

But, happily, Paul de Zulueta — grandson of Rebecca author Daphne du Maurier — found this did not put him off as he wooed Georgina Willis after a chance meeting in Notting Hill, West London.

Indeed, my picture shows de Zulueta — ghost writer of Field Marshal Lord Guthrie’s memoirs — carrying Georgina across the threshold of the house they now share in Petworth, West Sussex.

Paul de Zulueta carrying Georgina across the threshold of the house they now share in Petworth, West Sussex

Paul de Zulueta carrying Georgina across the threshold of the house they now share in Petworth, West Sussex

Of their first encounter, de Zulueta recalls: ‘Our eyes met across the bar at the Ladbroke Arms.’

Far from reprising the brutal proposal favoured by Max de Winter (‘I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool’), he eased Georgina towards matrimony by taking her on honeymoon before their wedding. ‘A “pre-moon” in Sri Lanka,’ he tells me.

Married at Chelsea Old Town Hall, the couple joined family and friends for a dinner given by his mother, Tessa, Viscountess Montgomery at the Cavalry & Guards Club.

Then it was down to Petworth — and Guilt. No, not a du Maurier novel but Georgina’s acclaimed lingerie emporium.

Just the job for Fiona to practise her balancing act

Unfairly criticised for her efforts to provide balance as chairman on Question Time, Fiona Bruce struggled with a huge Pilates ball as she set off for some exercise before her return to the BBC1 programme last night.

Question Time host Fiona Bruce announced she was stepping down as ambassador of domestic violence charity Refuge

Question Time host Fiona Bruce announced she was stepping down as ambassador of domestic violence charity Refuge

Understandably, Ms Bruce, 58, cut a rather glum figure ahead of her appearance on the show.

With ‘real sadness’, she was forced to step down as an ambassador for the domestic violence charity Refuge, following a comment she made on air about Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley.

Just weeks away from her 90th birthday, singing legend Shani Wallis – Nancy in the musical film Oliver! – has revealed she has an eye for younger men. 

Shani, who worked with superstars including Frank Sinatra and Charlie Chaplin, was married to her agent, American actor and producer Bernie Rich, until his death in 2016. ‘Bernie was the greatest guy,’ she tells me. 

‘I loved him dearly. We had a great relationship of over 50 years. And now I look at nice-looking young men.’ 

London-born Wallis, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, adds: ‘I’ve always had an eye for young men. They’re definitely at the top of my list. 

‘Young men are beautiful. What’s not to like about them?’ 

When asked how young, she replies: ‘Eighteen, 19, in their 20s, 30s, 40s… it doesn’t matter. Not so young men are beautiful, too. The more the merrier. I just have fun with them.’ 

Moneypenny for your thoughts, Naomie

James Bond star Naomie Harris is on a mission to reveal the truth behind showbusiness’s glittering facade. 

‘When I say I am an actor, people tend to say, “What an exciting profession to be part of”, and it is,’ confides the Londoner, 46, who played Moneypenny. 

‘But, at times, it can also be an incredibly lonely one.

James Bond star Naomie Harris is on a mission to reveal the truth behind showbusiness’s glittering facade

James Bond star Naomie Harris is on a mission to reveal the truth behind showbusiness’s glittering facade

‘I know that, no matter how things might appear, inside someone can be hiding tremendous loneliness. 

‘I want to encourage people to check on one another and make sure they’re OK.’

Would you pay £2,000 for a 12-year-old slice of cake? Perhaps, if you knew it was from the creation served at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

One unidentified guest at their Westminster Abbey nuptials has put the slice on auction website eBay with an asking price of £1,950. 

It comes in a specially designed tin that was handed to each guest as they left the reception, which was hosted by William’s father and stepmother, Camilla. 

BBC Two historical satire The Witchfinder, starring Tim Key and Daisy May Cooper, has been axed after failing to set viewers alight.

Comedian Key hopes to rekindle the spirit of the Gary Lineker rebellion. 

‘Relying on other comedians to down tools till this is fixed,’ he says. 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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