POSTED NOVEMBER 27 2008
By Alice-Azania Jarvis
John Prescott's brief stint on television appears to have paid off.
The former deputy prime minister won praise for his BBC2 documentary Prescott: The Class System And Me – although his wife Pauline seemed the real star, reportedly attracting offers of future small-screen work.
Now, however, I hear that Prezza has seen his own stock rise, with demand for his presence on the lucrative after-dinner speaking circuit higher than ever.
So in vogue is Prescott that he has been bumped up to "A-grade" status by his London-based agency, JLA. According to its website, the Labour veteran can earn up to £25,000 for a single booking – especially pleasing given the widespread mirth caused by his demotion to "B-grade" last spring.
Jeremy Lee, the boss of the agency, acknowledges the boost in interest since the show. "We have absolutely had an increase in demand [for John]. People loved it," he says.
Now established as one of JLA's top earners, Mr Prescott is in glitzy company: Alastair Campbell and his old Commons foe, William Hague, are among its fellow A-listers, while Ken Livingstone and Michael Portillo remain in the more modest B-band, where fees start at £5,000.
"It is determined by the market, by how in demand people are," adds Lee. "John has been very popular."
POSTED NOVEMBER 27 2008
Since appearing in the BBC2 documentaryPrescott: The Class System And Me, the stock of the former deputy prime minister has well and truly risen. According to the booking agency JLA, who represent Prescott, he has moved up the public speaking ranks to "A-grade" status and can now command fees of up to £25,000 for engagements.
Jeremy Lee, the head of JLA, acknowledges the boost in interest since the show. He says: "It is determined by the market, by how in demand people are. John has been very popular."
The news will no doubt delight "Two Jags". While he is unlikely to match his former boss Tony Blair's earning power – he is said to earn £200,000 for his pow-wows about world affairs and in his first year out of office reportedly made £12m – he can console himself with the fact that the former Tory minister Michael Portillo, also represented by JLA, is a "B-grade speaker" who only earns £5,000 per engagement.
Prescott should be thanking his wife Pauline for his new-found popularity: most critics saw her as the true star turn of what was otherwise a rather dreary documentary. Says a Westminster source: "People are probably only booking him in the hope that she will come along too."
POSTED NOVEMBER 16 2008
Continuing on the theme of those who are defying the credit crunch, the BBC’s raven-haired business editor, Robert Peston, has firmly arrived as a celebrity speaker. According to the firm JLA – which purports on its website to be the UK’s biggest specialist agency for keynote speakers – Peston can demand up to £10,000 a night on the after-dinner circuit.
Don’t be so shocked. His real-life voice, compared with his special Beeb voice, is actually quite normal and his hair is awfully shiny.