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Paper Monitor

12:57 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

As ever, it took the inimitable Danny Baker, on his recent Saturday morning radio show, to give voice to a conundrum that has been troubling the entire nation:

"Who remembers that fella Stephen Fry? Whatever happened to him?"

Sightings of the Lesser-Spotted National Treasure have been few and far between in recent months. Always one with an ear to the terra firma of Bloomsbury, Paper Monitor can reveal that Fry has actually written a book of memoirs and, what's more, one or two specialist retailers are said to be stocking a few copies in the run up to Christmas.

Now the Guardian can reveal that Fry has broken cover. The raconteur has taken to performing a couple of low-key shows in a backstreet London venue called the Royal Albert Hall... one of those pub theatres probably.

The paper even sent one of its writers to the gig to pen a review.

Guardianistas will be aware that in the past Fry has enjoyed a close relationship with the paper - at one stage penning a technology column for it.

So it's bound to be a chummy write up - all friends together, a sprinkling of mildly deprecatory remarks here and there just to relieve the unctuousness of it all, but nevertheless a lather of warm words and generous sentiments.

Just look at the headline: "Slick, disarming, appealing..."

Tells you all you need to know.

"...and really rather dull"

Oh dear, it seems reviewer Stuart Jeffries has broken ranks.

"Sometimes his patter is so banal that you feel that as a responsible member of the audience you should retire to the bar..."

"Much," of the material, says Jeffries, "is stupendously dull."

Boy, it's going to be an interesting Christmas party at Guardian HQ this year when the staffers get their annual opportunity to rub shoulders with the freelance contributors.

On the other hand, maybe Fry will sit out the occasion and return to the obscurity he is so fond of.

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