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Side show

By SHARON FINK, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 5, 2002

THEY DON'T GET IT: After months -- well, weeks -- of bonding with their people after the deaths of Princess Margaret and the beloved Queen Mother, the British royal family is back in a public relations pickle. And what else would be the cause but the late Princess Diana.

The commoners are grumbling about comments a close friend of Queen Elizabeth's made about "their princess" in a documentary marking the queen's 50 years on the throne.

"I think the queen, or anyone else, would never quite understand what Princess Diana was about. It would be impossible," Lady Kennard told the BBC for Queen And Country. "I mean, I suppose one could say she was very damaged by her background and her childhood. It is difficult to know.

"She had many fine qualities otherwise."

Don't we all.

Anyway, everyone pretty much knew the queen and Prince Charles' one-time wife-future king William's mother didn't get along famously, but this is the first time someone has gone on record as saying so. Not only does the rest of Britain think the comments were uncalled for, the interview clearly was approved by Buckingham Palace, media reports say.

* * *

DON'T STOP THAT DIET JUST YET: Cancel that liposuction appointment. Tell Sarah Ferguson that Weight Watchers has become irrelevant. Get rid of all your scales. The no-effort weight-loss trick the world has been waiting for is here.

UniFirst Corporation, a uniform rental service, says it has developed a shirt that makes you look thinner -- and, in a bonus benefit, taller.

It has designed two polo shirts with a combination of dark colors and white to absorb light and "camouflage the parts of the body that most often need it," a press release says. When combined with the right color of pants, the visual effect makes any -- any -- body shape or size appear taller and thinner, the company says.

* * *

FROM THE FLUSHING MONEY DOWN THE TOILET DEPT.: The rabid fans of ABC's canceled Once and Again either have cash to burn or would rather go hungry than go without the show.

They've donated more than $20,000 of their own money in an effort to save the low-rated cult favorite, a news release from the "Save Once and Again Campaign" says, and $12,350 of that has gone to erect a billboard in West Hollywood asking ABC to bring it back.

The billboard went up Thursday and will remain at a West Hollywood intersection for the rest of the month. "Even if OandA isn't renewed, we will be directly in Michael Eisner's face for a month!," fan Melinda O'Brien writes on the campaign's Web site, www.saveoanda.com., referring to the head of ABC's owner, the Disney company.

Meanwhile, there is rumbling in Hollywood the campaigners could have saved their money and still gotten what they wanted. Word is that ABC, finishing one of its worst seasons ever, is so unhappy with the pilots it's seen for next season, it could bring back Once and Again under the general thought that it would be the lesser of two ratings evils, Zap2it.com says.

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