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The PR guru on working with Thatcher and Murdoch and moving to the centre – geographically at least

Tim Bell has been moving to the centre all his life. For a man who was Lady Thatcher’s PR guru, this would be sensational news except that the movement has been geographic rather than political. “As my career progressed,” he says with a laugh, “I have worked my way from north London to the centre,” from a Norman Shaw house in Frognal Lane, Hampstead, to a Belgravia town house.

Thatcher lives round the corner, Yehudi Menuhin used to be the residents’ spokesman and a few doors away is a house that fooled an entire generation of television viewers into believing they were witnessing events from a police station in the East End of London. Now a private residence, then it was London’s most famous police station. “The Queen Mother,” explains Lord Bell, “used to give it the prize for being the prettiest police station every year for God knows how long. And Jack Warner stood outside it in Dixon of Dock Green, [a British TV series that ran from 1955 to 1976].”

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