Howards’ Enda-Way 

Malta pic.jpg

ALL AT SEA: Kate O’Mara, second right, with the cast of Howards’ Way


ROGER TAVENER heads for Malta, courtesy of the BBC, in search of the inside story about the sex-and-sails TV drama

Kate? Have you had a boob job...?

Well, you'd know.

Not necessarily, Kate.

Make your own mind up.


Some prurient prick on the desk, possibly Mike Parry, has heard that Dynasty and Howards’ Way sex symbol, Kate O'Mara, has had some work done.

And I have to ask her. Luckily, I have her number.

In the early 90s cosmetic surgery, is, apparently, a story...

A few months earlier: The BBC fly us out to Malta for a Howards' Way special.

I’m sitting next to legendary Mail and Mirror newsman Ted Oliver (now MIA), immortalised, not for his astonishing academic achievements at Trinity College, Dublin, or award-winning journalism, but because he got his nose bitten off by footballer/thug, Vinnie Jones.

Quite why the hardest of hard hacks is on this trip is a mystery to both of us. But I’ve sold my soul to the showbiz devil, in return for a few cheap kicks. So I know the score.

Ted and I have been pals for years after covering the Troubles in Northern Ireland. And he takes no prisoners.

We absorb an incredible amount of licence-fee tax-payers' alcohol. We stagger off the jet.

Ted isn’t in our hotel. He’s staying at Hilary Bonner’s villa. She’s Showbiz Ed at the Mirror. Hmmm. Whatever.

The BBC always shoots itself in the foot.

This trip, it shoots both feet. And in the knee-cap too for good measure.

Story1: We discover the hotel is owned by Colonel Gaddafi, sworn enemy of the West, which wants to rub him out. Libya's a cruise missile away.

So, the BBC is paying him to buy arms from the Russians to fight the West? Fuck me, doesn’t anybody at the Beeb check this stuff?

Meat and drink for the Express and Mail. Page 1, here we come.

Story 2: Then we discover the show’s two lead stars, Jan Harvey and Stephen Yardley, are having an affair. Now, we didn’t know that. Nor did their partners.

So we can’t talk to the paranoid couple. They're in hiding. It only serves to stand the story up and give us an intro.

BBC ask if we can overlook this one ...

Too late, it's filed.

Howards’ Enda-Way. Hold the fucking front page... The tabs are getting their money's worth.

Story 3: Very sad. Lovely Tracey Childs — the nation loves her — has just discovered she's got cancer. But she seems to have an off-screen thing going on with co-star hunk Tony Anholt (MIA). They eventually marry.

Like so many of these daft showbiz trips, they provide yards of copy and great pics. But very little about the TV shows they’re trying to promote.

TBH, we don’t give a toss about the shows. We just want news on the stars and the smuttier the better.

There's been a sea-change in coverage.

Hard news guys have replaced the sycophantic “friends of the stars” and their bland PR            puffs.

So the Beeb feed us Kate O'Mara (MIA) to keep us happy and away from the feeding frenzy of scandal. Nothing wrong with that.

She's been around the block, done Hollywood in super-soap Dynasty with Joan Collins, and had been in a decade-long relationship with The Sun's veteran sports-supremo Steve Howard.

She knows how it works.

Lots of interview time with the lovely Kate, crazy emerald eyes and smoky, husky: ‘don’t-dare-leave-this-bed’ voice, who eventually came to live in my native Somerset.

She's our go-to for features info about the show and likes the company of hacks. Kate's getting the Beeb out of a hole.

So over the week she has dinner with us, often exceedingly late drinks and is just a great girl.

And she's in the room next-door to mine. Sunning herself on our shared balcony.

Lots of off-the-record ... she'd had a very sad life at times. And worse was to come.

But, sometimes, what happens in Malta, stays in Malta.

Boob info included.

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre