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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Jonny Wilkinson (main picture), with Chris Moyles, Derren Brown, Denis Quilley and Jane Asher (clockwise from top left). Compiled by Bob Chaundy of the BBC News profiles unit.

Jonny Wilkinson
With football in turmoil, eyes will now turn to Rugby Union, with the start of the World Cup. For England, Jonny Wilkinson is the blue-eyed boy, and at 24 already its record points scorer. Now he is set to make his mark on the global stage. Yet he shuns the celebrity lifestyle.

Jonny Wilkinson tells the story that when he was at school and unhappy with his place kicking, he went out with a bag of balls at 7.30 in the morning to practise.

The next thing he knew, he looked at his watch to find it had gone 12.30. This near-obsessive striving for perfection has not left him.

With England's kicking coach, Dave Alred, Wilkinson stays on for practice sessions long after his team mates have gone.

Jonny Wilkinson has a thoughtful attitude to his rugby
Pensive: Jonny Wilkinson is thoughtful about his rugby

The result is that no team in the world dare give away penalties anywhere in their half for fear of a Wilkinson score. In his 46 England appearances, he has netted 704 points.

But to describe Jonny Wilkinson merely as a kicking machine is to seriously misrepresent him.

His status as the world's finest fly-half is also based on his running and passing but, above all, on his tackling, an ability not normally associated with the position.

Former England centre, Jeremy Guscott, recalls how, when he once tried to run past Wilkinson, "he walloped me and sent me hurtling backwards. It was as if two people had hit me."

It was Guscott who, on Wilkinson's first appearance in the England team room at the age of 18, mistook him for the winner of a competition to spend a day with the England squad.

The Beckham of rugby

Jonny Wilkinson was four when he first got coaching lessons from his father, together with his older brother Mark.

The brothers currently share a flat near Newcastle where Jonny plays club rugby with the Falcons, managed by his mentor, and former England fly-half, Rob Andrew.

With his good looks and sporting prowess, Jonny Wilkinson has invited comparisons with his England football counterpart, David Beckham.

Indeed, the pair have collaborated in a TV commercial for Adidas boots. Like Beckham, Wilkinson has enormous commercial potential, albeit in a lower profile sport.

He already earns upwards of 500,000 a year through sponsorships, and a successful World Cup could bring more riches.
Jonny Wilkinson and David Beckham
Iconic: Jonny Wilkinson and David Beckham

Yet the reason the England fly-half avoids the chat-show rounds, the celebrity parties or the film premieres is that he both keeps his private life private, and commits himself to no more than 20 days a year of commercial and media work.

He turns down two-thirds of the offers he receives. As his father, Phil Wilkinson, who handles his endorsement deals, says "If it encroaches on his training time, it isn't going to happen."

Neither does the sex symbol idea sit well with Jonny Wilkinson. There was pressure to do a nude shot for an England rugby calendar. Wilkinson wouldn't even remove his shirt. "That's not what my life's about", he has said.

His attitude paints a contrasting image to that currently afflicting the world of football.

Should Jonny Wilkinson emerge as England's hero in a World Cup-winning team, he will need all the single-mindedness he musters in his place-kicking to resist the pressures that increased fame will impose upon him.


Chris Moyles: Breakfast bruiser
Chris Moyles

BBC Radio One's flagship breakfast show is to have a new presenter. The laddish Sara Cox is to be replaced by the equally laddish Chris Moyles. Among his many bon mots is a threat to "tear the head off" the Pop Idol judge Neil Fox and "poo down his neck." More recently, Moyles said, "I could absolutely kick anybody's arse on breakfast, ever." Bend over listeners, here he comes.

Has Derren Brown shot his bolt?
Derren Brown

Derren Brown, caused a stir when he performed a Russian roulette stunt on TV. The viewers may have winced when he twice put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger or when he "shot" the one bullet into a sandbag. But they winced even more when the police divulged that the bullet was a blank and that the supposed shot was all done with smoke and mirrors. A case of illusionist disillusionment.

Is Jane Asher cooking up a storm?
Jane Asher

Actress and queen of the cake makers, Jane Asher, has publicly backed drug testing on animals. Speaking at a meeting in London, Ms Asher, patron of the charity Seriously Ill for Medical Research, said: "It's very hard to see how any rational person can object to carefully controlled, humanely conducted experiments used to develop drugs and medical techniques to benefit mankind." Oh dear, Jane, what will your old boyfriend, Sir Paul McCartney, make of this?

Gifted: The late Denis Quilley
Denis Quilley

One of Britain's most gifted and versatile actors, Denis Quilley, died of cancer at the age of 75. He joined Sir Laurence Olivier's National in the 1970s, appearing in most of the classics. He excelled in musicals, most notably Sweeney Todd and Privates on Parade. He once said: "On a wet Wednesday... you hear the band start the overture and the dancers warming up and it gives you this great lift."




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