Jilly Cooper's unhappy endings

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Does Jilly Cooper have the reverse Midas touch? The Diary's favourite novelist has been seen waving placards on behalf of closure-threatened Barnwood Park girls' school in Gloucester.

"Jolly Super", who befriended head Gill Pyatt and her school while researching her new education-themed blockbuster, joined protesters presenting a 3,500-signature petition to Gloucester education officials last week. "It is a wonderful place. This makes no sense," says a not-so-jolly Cooper.

But the Diary can't help noticing a pattern here. The last school Jilly was involved with was the Village community school in Derby, now closed. She also became great mates with Angel school in Islington, also a goner. Is the queen of the bonkbuster bad luck? Or are darker forces at work?

Meanwhile, the effusive one is looking for closure herself. Her book, scheduled to be handed to the publishers in December, has not reached the end of its first draft. "It is going to be longer than the Bible. My publishers are such sweeties. They say 'whenever, Jilly darling' but they only give you so much money. I shall run out of money soon." Perhaps we need a "Save Jolly Super Fund"?

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