[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 16:38 GMT 17:38 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 Chris de Burgh (main picture), with PAUL ROBINSON, KIRAN DESAI, SAMANTHA MORTON and CHRIST THE REDEEMER.

Chris de Burgh

To his millions of fans, Chris de Burgh is the ultimate romantic singer. But to many others he's a figure of fun and now it seems they have one more stick to beat him with: his latest claim that he can heal the sick simply by laying his hands on them.

The singer, who turns 58 on Sunday, made his confession on Gloria Hunniford's Sunday morning BBC TV show Heaven and Earth.

De Burgh told the programme that he'd met a man in the West Indies who was unable to walk and, when he put his hands on him, the man got up. He insisted he didn't want to say more because the tabloids would get excited about it.

Chris de Burgh first talked about his mysterious powers in the early 1990s. And then in 2001, he visited the Liverpool defender Markus Babbel, who was suffering a rare form of paralysis, and passed his hands over the footballer's legs.

Chris de Burgh
Chris de Burgh is said to have helped footballer Marcus Babbel
Babbel later said that he could move his toes more easily after de Burgh's visit.

But when the singer's daughter, the former Miss World Rosanna Davison, commented on his powers he threatened to sue anyone who repeated them.

So this latest revelation has invited sniggering and incredulity from commentators in the press, who've suggested that he may have spoken out in a bid to publicise his newly released album, The Storyman.

Fast food debut

The singer was born in Argentina, the son of a British diplomat. In his early childhood, the family moved a great deal but when Chris de Burgh was 12, they went to live in Ireland, buying a castle and converting it into a hotel.

It was here that he learnt to play the guitar and entertained many of the guests. But he continued his classic English education, first at Marlborough College and then at Trinity College, Dublin.

After graduating, he started looking for work and began singing to earn a living.

Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana: Lady in red?
A fast food restaurant and, rather implausibly, a hairdressers are said to have been two of his earliest venues.

In the early 1970s, he moved to London and after two years got a recording contract. He found success abroad initially but then in 1986 he hit the big time at home with the song everyone remembers him by, the Lady in Red.

The number one single was inspired by his wife, Diane, although she later said that she was mortified by it and couldn't wear red for a long time afterwards.


Princess Diana and the Duchess of York were both said to be big fans. After one performance Diana apparently went to see him backstage, under the impression that the Lady in Red had been written or dedicated to her. Huge commercial success followed.

The Lady in Red sold eight million copies worldwide and reached number one in 25 countries. He's also worked hard, producing 18 studio albums and playing 3,000 concerts. That's one every three or four days since 1975.

Chris de Burgh
Rock veteran: De Burgh has played 3,000 gigs
But Chris de Burgh's squeaky clean image, largely created by the Lady in Red, was tarnished in 1994 when it emerged that he'd been having an affair with his children's nanny, Maresa Morgan. His wife was in hospital at the time, having broken her neck in a horse riding accident.

The singer said he felt very guilty but had been feeling desperate about his wife's condition. They patched things up and he recently insisted his marriage was solid.

He's also been ridiculed as naff and uncool. When the staff of Melody Maker were putting together a lampoon edition of a new arts and music magazine, they chose a beaming Chris de Burgh for the cover. The actor and stand-up, Bill Bailey, refers to him as the "monobrowed purveyor of ultimate filth".

And commenting on the singer's latest revelations about his healing powers, the comedian Marcus Brigstocke said that had Chris de Burgh laid hands on him he too would have moved.

Paul Robinson: Goalmouth blunder
Paul Robinson

The sporting blame game has started and the England goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, is in the firing line. His dejection was plain to see after he missed a simple clearance to allow an own goal against Croatia. But the England coach Steve McClaren has also won some brickbats. He's conceded that his decision to field three central defenders didn't work.

In the money: Kiran Desai
Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai has become the youngest female author to win the Man Booker Prize - an award that has eluded her mother, fellow novelist Anita Desai, three times. The Indian born writer was presented with a 50,000 cheque for her second novel, The Inheritance of Loss - which tells the story of characters torn between East and West. Desai said the book was as much her mother's, as her own.

Jail anger: Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton

According to the actress Samantha Morton, paedophiles are being treated better than children in care. She was brought up in children's homes and says the conditions were often appalling. The Oscar nominated actress also has first-hand experience of prison, having visited a category C jail for her latest film about the Moors murderer, Myra Hindley. She said she felt cold all over when she saw the new wing where sex offenders are held.

Christ the Redeemer: New wedding venue
Christ the Redeemer

If you're looking for an exotic place to tie the knot, you could do worse than consider the chapel beneath the statue of Christ which has become the public face of Rio de Janeiro. To mark the statue's 75th anniversary, the chapel has been consecrated so that religious ceremonies can be conducted there. But the nuptials will have to be planned carefully - private cars are not allowed up the hill the statue stands on and tourists who use the electric railway often have to queue for several hours.

Written by BBC News Profiles Unit's Helen Morgan-Wynne

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific