SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Laid to rest: film slur on Bridge Too Far general

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As A Hollywood war epic, A Bridge Too Far had everything — major stars such as Robert Redford and Sean Connery, a blockbuster budget and Richard Attenborough in the director’s chair.

It also distorted history — most glaringly in its portrayal of Lieutenant-General Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning, commander of the British airborne troops who made the heroic but doomed attempt, called Operation Market Garden, to break through German lines by trying to seize a series of bridges including at Arnhem in occupied Netherlands in September 1944.

But Browning’s family hope that the slur on his reputation will finally be dispelled, 43 years after the film’s release, with a private wreath-laying ceremony this weekend at Iping Marsh churchyard in West Sussex.

It’s there, I can disclose, that Browning’s grandson, Paul de Zulueta, will join Caroline Frost at the grave of her father, the legendary Johnny Frost who, with fewer than 800 men, held out for four days while surrounded by overwhelming German forces. 

 As A Hollywood war epic, A Bridge Too Far had everything but it distorted history — most glaringly in its portrayal of Lieutenant-General Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning

The pair, who will meet for the first time in the churchyard, only recently learned that they live close to each other, yet are inevitably bonded by the past.

Caroline’s father acted as one of the specialist military advisers while A Bridge Too Far was filmed — or tried to. ‘It did really get quite heated at times,’ she tells me. 

‘To anything he said, Attenborough just said, “Oh yes, of course, darling.” So Dad did get frustrated. It was a re-writing of history. Absolutely galling.’

For Browning’s family, especially his widow, the author Daphne du Maurier, it was unbearable, making it appear that Browning, played by Dirk Bogarde, was solely responsible for the operation’s failure — and indifferent to the fate of his men.

‘It was intensely painful for my grandmother,’ recalls de Zulueta, who served with the Welsh Guards in South Armagh at the height of the Troubles. 

‘Attenborough wrote to her apologising, saying that it was American money which determined the script.’

Professor John Buckley, author of Monty’s Men, sympathises. 

‘The film was the major culprit in destroying Browning’s reputation,’ he tells me.

‘Browning has to shoulder responsibility for weaknesses in the plan, but the central idea came from Montgomery.

‘And the American General Lewis Brereton, who was Browning’s boss, altered the plan, severely compromising it, and then still let it go ahead.’

Brereton, of course, was entirely airbrushed from the film.

Jagger’s eldest hits 50 with a candle and a crumble

While Sir Mick Jagger’s youngest of eight children, Deveraux, turns four next month, his eldest is celebrating reaching half a century.

Actress turned food blogger Karis Jagger marked her 50th birthday at home in California with a glass of wine and a solitary candle in a blackberry crumble. 

Mick Jagger's eldest daughte, actress turned food blogger, Karis Jagger marked her 50th birthday at home in California with a glass of wine and a solitary candle in a blackberry crumble

Mother-of-two Karis, who is married to film producer Jonathan Watson, is the daughter of American singer Marsha Hunt.

Sir Mick, 77, met Hunt when she was still married. She split from the rocker while pregnant with Karis, and was the inspiration for the Stones song Brown Sugar.

Boffin chef Heston Blumenthal — who failed his chemistry o-level — reflects on how his culinary scientific prowess won him an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry. ‘

About three people a year get offered a fellowship. When I went, these two other guys were Nobel Prize-winners — and I chop onions.’

Sir Sean Connery had many admirers, but Valerie Singleton was not among them. 

The former Blue Peter presenter recalls meeting the Bond actor at a party in London in 1960. 

‘People were sitting on the floor, and next to me was Sean Connery. He had an open-neck shirt with a gold medallion showing on his chest. 

Sir Sean Connery had many admirers, but Valerie Singleton was not among them.

'I said something to him, I don’t know what, but I do know he was very dismissive — he put me down. 

'Whatever I’d said was clearly stupid as far as he was concerned. I remember shutting up after that.’

Ellie’s diet goes doughnut shaped over Biden

Wheat-phobic Ellie Goulding recently claimed she hadn’t eaten pasta since last year and couldn’t remember the last time that she had touched bread.

But during the stress of the U.S. presidential election, the 33-year-old singer, who performed at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception in 2011, reveals she’s been bingeing on carb-laden treats to keep her anxiety at bay.

Ellie Goulding, the 33-year-old singer, reveals she’s been bingeing on carb-laden treats to keep her anxiety at bay during the US election

Sharing a picture of the £22 box from Crosstown Doughnuts — which she had delivered to her home in central London — Ellie, who has been supporting Joe Biden, pleads with her fans: ‘Don’t let me order these again! Stress eating is real. Go Biden.’

Having raked in £2 million in a single year, at least the cost isn’t an issue.   

Nonoo piles on praise for loyal chum Meghan

The Duchess of Sussex might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she can always rely on Misha Nonoo to fight her corner. 

The London-raised fashion designer, at whose wedding to oil tycoon Michael Hess last year Meghan read a poem, has praised her pals including the former actress for their loyalty. 

‘I have wonderful male friends, but it’s really my girlfriends I get so much more from,’ says Misha, 35. 

‘You can’t share everything with your partner because you lose a level of mystery. It’s great to have your girlfriends to call upon.’ 

The mother-of-one, who lives in New York, adds: ‘I have the greatest girlfriends in the world, who I might not see for more than a year — but you pick up the phone and nothing ever changes.’

With galleries and museums closed for a second national lockdown, Tracey Emin has revealed how you can bag a placement with her. 

Tracey Emin has revealed how you can bag a bag a placement

‘When i interview people for a job at my studio, I ask them what their hobbies are. the more elaborate and amazing their hobbies, the more chance they have of getting a job. 

'The person who worked for me for 14 years, her hobby was ice dancing — she used to get up at 5am twice a week to go ice dancing.’

Xmas Eve Bono for Santa Paws Give the dog a Bono 

Actress Eve Hewson, 29-year-old daughter of the U2 lead singer, dressed her Pomeranian dog, Burly Bear, in a red Father Christmas outfit. 

‘Having my Christmas card picture taken, and look who i get to flirt with,’ Eve captioned the picture — written in the voice of her dog — on his own social media page. 

Dublin-born eve, who starred in the hit BBC adaptation of The Luminaries this year, is the younger daughter of Bono and his wife, activist Ali Hewson.

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