Homes gossip

PR legend Lynne Franks has counted Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones among her star-studded neighbours in Majorca, but has had to snip the asking price for her sprawling villa
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
© AP
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Michael and Catherine's neighbour has a bad 'deia'


PR legend Lynne Franks has finally bowed to the inevitable and snipped almost two million euros off the 5.9 million euros asking price of her magnificent Majorcan villa.

The sprawling 10-bedroom property in gorgeous Deià, with its two hot tubs, two swimming pools and two acres of landscaped gardens, has the homes of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lord Lloyd Webber and actress Anna Friel as neighbours.

“I’m simplifying my life,” declares the New Age Sultana of Spin, whose father was a north London kosher butcher.

"The place is too big for me and I’ve been there much less often than I intended,” says Franks, the inspiration behind Jennifer Saunders’ gushy Edina in BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. She also owns a “tiny” Notting Hill studio flat and rents an Oxfordshire cottage (“my writer’s retreat”) owned by Oxford University.


Melissa Porter
Melissa Porter
Melissa Porter, presenter of I Own Britain’s Best Home, on Channel 5, has rented a one-bedroom Battersea flat overlooking the Thames for £2,000 a month.

The move follows the break-up of her romance with dentist Mark Hughes, with whom she shared a two-bedroom Shoreditch flat.

“It’s only temporary while I decide which way the market is going,” says the chirpy Manchester-born “property addict”. “Eventually I’d like to buy a place to live in Battersea or Chelsea.”

Meanwhile she has invested in 14 residential units in Commercial Road, Shoreditch, and has several rental properties in her native Cheshire.

Currently “selectively single” Porter will host the Property Women Awards at the Plaza Riverbank Hotel next month.


Julian Opie
© EPA
Julian Opie
Julian Opie, the award-winning artist who designs CD covers for Blur, has splashed out £1.2 million on a family home in Islington.

The four-storey white-stucco Victorian terrace house off Essex Road has plenty of play space for his daughters, Padmini and Eleanor, from his marriage to Christine, an astrologer.

The brilliant Oxford-raised contemporary of Damien Hirst, Michael Craig-Martin and Anish Kapoor previously lived and worked in the East End.

He is perhaps best-known for his giant computer animation of a man in jeans walking aimlessly, which he designed for U2’s 2005 Vertigo world tour.


Kate Middleton
© Michael Dunlea
Kate Middleton
Former Miss World tycoon, Trevor Baines, and his wife Wendy are selling Africa House, their five-bedroom family home in Douglas, Isle of Man, for £2.75 million through Manx agents Cowley Groves.

The rambling Victorian villa is packed with boys’ toys including a disco, indoor swimming pool, snooker room, gym and a garage for his vintage car collection.

Every winter the daredevil Cresta Run aficionado teaches beginners on the St Moritz slopes. His most recent pupil was Pippa Middleton (sister of Prince William’s squeeze Kate Middleton). “She’s a very plucky girl,” Baines observes. “Maybe next year she’ll bring William and Harry.”

His other hobby is racing one of his vintage Jaguars round the deserted Manx TT racetrack at dawn. “It’s bliss. But I’d hate to meet a tractor.”

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