27/09/2011 20:03 BST | Updated 27/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Lipgoss: the art of the Celebrity Playdate

Hollywood publicists don't have it easy these days. Once upon a time, all you had to do to secure column inches of empty flattery for a client was to stage a fauxmance (usually with Jennifer Aniston, as observes ) or strategically leak a sex tape or saucy snap (a technique employed by everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Blake Lively, according to ).

No longer. In this digital age, audiences have the attention-span of a TOWIE girl and celebrities regularly castrate their publicists by rejecting the "official statement" in favour of a crazed outburst on Twitter (witness Kanye West comparing himself to Hitler . Seriously, when will famous people learn to NOT MENTION HITLER? It never works out; just look at John Galliano, Lars von Trier and Megan Fox).

Thanks to Twitter, and Hitler, there is now such a thing as bad publicity. And so the job of the publicist becomes a delicate balancing act, where they heroically endeavour to keep their charges in the public eye, whilst simultaneously proving how "normal" and non-crazy they really are. (Truly, the best compliment you can pay a celebrity is to call them 'normal'. A quality which we normal folk don't seem that grateful for, strangely enough.)

And so a canny soul concocted the Celebrity Playdate. Because there's publicity, and there's Marks & Spencers publicity. Playdate publicity is Grade-A stuff. Just check out the Daily Mail's ecstatic response to the Brangelina Bunch's visit to Gwen Stefani's Primrose Hill home. First, you've got the combined fame of Ange and Gwen. Then you've got some cute kids. And crucially, they're doing a NORMAL ACTIVITY. That's right, if you ignore the throngs of minders and nannies in the background, the expertly-styled 'normal mom' outfits, and the non-stressed faces of the parents, this could be any playdate in the country.

If we were cynical sorts, it would occur to us that this prime slice of publicity pie might have been cooked up in celebration of Brad Pitt's hitting U.S. cinemas this week, or even Gwen Stefani's upcoming No Doubt album.

But we aren't like that.

James McEvoy as Elton John?

Now here's a conundrum. Could you ever fancy Elton John? No? Really? Not even if we made him look like James McEvoy? Because this is how Hollywood is next planning on mucking with our heads, say

And the award for most consistently entertaining red carpet fashion goes to....

the British Soap Awards!

When it comes to red carpet garb, the Oscars are a snorefest, unless you're a crazed fan of mushroom-coloured chiffon, that is. By contrast, the British Soap Awards are gloriously tasteless. Take a peek and tell us this doesn't look like a special Christmas episode where the girls from The Square meet up with the girls from The Street for a Sambucca-soaked hen night.