As hundreds of comedians packed up their bags, and their gags, for another year and headed out of Edinburgh at the end of the Festival Fringe this summer, few were likely to have been thinking of Israel - but black, Jewish, runway model-turned- stand-up comedian, Michelle de Swarte was looking forward to a holiday in the holy land.
He's no stranger to The Apprentice - the BBC programme has billed him as the fiercest interviewer in Britain - but now businessman Claude Littner has the chance for a little stardom, He has been upgraded from Lord Sugar's occasional adviser to his right-hand man.
When you picture a stand-up comedian, Ashley Blaker isn't the first person that comes to mind. Sure, he has a beard like a lot of laughter merchants on the circuit but, unlike them, he also has peyot and wears tzitit, rarely sighted at The Comedy Store.
Like a rock star, Norman Rosenthal sweeps into his favourite Soho café (which does not open until half an hour after he commands me to be there, leaving me standing on a chilly street), one and a quarter hours late for our interview. And, like a rock groupie, I wait patiently, unwilling to relinquish my grasp on this big beast that I've been stalking for three months.
Highclere Castle, the ancestral home of the Earls of Carnarvon, is an impressive country estate, situated in Hampshire about five miles south of Newbury in Berkshire. This stately edifice and its upper-class family is the inspiration for television's most addictive pleasure, Downton Abbey.
‘Well, I try to keep the Jewish stuff completely separate from my day-to-day work.” So said the mover and shaker at one of London’s most successful TV production companies and board stalwart of a local United synagogue to me as we sat facing each other in a stylish Soho café.
For more than 20 years my husband and I have been interested in tracing our family stories. I have two surnames that I can confidently match to places; he can identify ancestors back to the 18th century. We always knew they came from Russia but were curious to find out more.