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Bitesize: Never mind the smart bombs, it's time to send in Kate Adie; fletchfiles.

Byline: Patrick Fletcher

DAME Kate Adie of Tian'anmen Square has been enjoying something of a renaissance of late.

The BBC's very own former Chief News Correspondent has been popping up all over the place giving her views on a conflict in the Middle East.

It's my view that the Beeb made a grave error in pensioning Ms Adie off from her pounds 150,000-a-year contract.

It's not so much that she's an expert - her star was on the wane at the time of the last Gulf War, when she was re-legated to somewhere in Saudi rather than up the front with John Simpson and the other big boys.

It's not even the case any more that a war is not a war if Kate's not there.

No. It's because she'd be a tremendous asset to the prosecution of the war.

I met the grande dame once at a conference and made the near fatal error of seeking out an interview. I was pretty hopeful, too, as her autobiography was about to be published and I figured she'd be interested in the publicity. Wrong there, Fletch. Fixing me with a withering stare I'd not experienced since my nan caught me scrumping for apples, she declared that she was there under Chatham House rules and that meant nothing she said was going to be quoted.

Chatham House rules, I later learned, is MoD for off the record.

I don't know what she'd be like interviewing Saddam, but she sure scares the hell out of me.

# So Catherine Zeta Jones is the Queen of Hollywood. Her best supporting actress role in Chicago has catapulted her on to Tinseltown's A-list according to most accounts.

She'll feel crushed. Mrs Michael Douglas already thought she'd made it.

# You can imagine it, can't you. You've turned up for a match, having been told that the opposition are just going to lie down and let you walk in and take their country, that it'll all be over by Monday and so on.

Then it turns out that, rather unsportingly, the other lot aren't that shocked or awed and are firing back.

Let's hope matters in the Gulf are not quite as Black-adder Goes Forth as they cur-rently sound. Chances are the troops didn't believe it anyway.

History has long taught them never to believe what their political masters tell them.

# And, finally, much mirth has been created in the office by an alleged likeness between myself (on the left) and the chap on the right. He's apparently Barbie's grandfather (yes, that Barbie).

All I can say is I don't have a grand-daughter, and certainly not one called Barbie.

I do, unfortunately, possess a round-neck jumper, which I have vowed never to wear again.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 27, 2003
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