JLA in the Press

Former MI5 boss gets permission to start work as an after-dinner speaker at up to £25k a speech
Posted on November 21, 2020

The former head of MI5 has been cleared to embark on a new career as an after-dinner speaker earning up to £25,000 a speech, less than six months after stepping down as Britain’s spy chief.

Andrew Parker, who headed MI5 for seven years and oversaw the security service’s response to a spate of terror attacks inspired by Islamic State, has been graded “A”, the second-highest band for speakers by Jeremy Lee Associates (JLA).

In his new public speaking role, Sir Andrew joins Sir John Sawers, the former head of MI6 also ranked as an “A” by JLA, and Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, one of Sir Andrew’s predecessors at MI5, who is a “B” commanding lower fees of up to £10,000.

Only stellar speakers such as astronaut Buzz Aldrin and comedian Jack Whitehall are in the “AA” category where speakers command fees of more than £25,000.

During lockdown, the after-dinner speaking circuit has remained popular through video conferencing.

Boris Johnson to ‘charge £30,000’ for after-dinner speeches just a month after announcing divorce
Posted on October 13, 2018

The former foreign secretary has joined an exclusive agency for celebrity speakers.

Boris Johnson will reportedly charge up to £30,000 per-speech after signing up to an exclusive celebrity agency, just over a month after announcing his divorce.

The former foreign secretary has offered his services to JLA – an agency that provides famous after-dinner speakers for corporate events.

Last month Johnson announced he’d be splitting from his wife of twenty-five years, Marina Wheeler, after rumours of infidelity.

In a joint statement, they said they would ‘continue to support our four children in the years ahead’.

Now, a speaker for JLA, Johnson will share the esteemed company of famous names such as Buzz Aldrin and Richard Branson, as well as fellow politicians John Prescott and David Miliband.

Described in his JLA profile as ‘one of the most captivating political speakers of his generation’, Johnson is expected to charge a £30,000 fee every appearance, in which he’d be required to make a 15 minute speech.

Original article appears here

Boris Johnson set to give £30,000 after-dinner speeches to raise funds ahead of divorce
Posted on October 13, 2018

The former foreign secretary has joined JLA agency, also home to tennis player John McEnroe and TV chef Nigella Lawson

BORIS Johnson has signed to up give after-dinner speeches at £30,000-a-time as he looks to raise cash for his divorce.

The former foreign secretary recently announced plans for what could be a costly divorce from his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler.

The Daily Mail reports Mr Johnson has joined JLA, an agency which manages celebrity speakers on he after-dinner circuit.

Other star names on the firm’s books include tennis player John McEnroe, TV chef Nigella Lawson and fellow politicians William Hague and John Prescott.

The company’s website states Mr Johnson ‘is regarded as one of the most captivating political speakers of his generation, with a famously entertaining style of delivery’.

Original article appears here

Boris Johnson signs up to give after-dinner speeches for £30,000 a time as he raises funds for his divorce
Posted on October 12, 2018

Boris Johnson has signed up to give £30,000-a-time speeches on the after-dinner circuit as he seeks to raise cash to fund his divorce.

The former foreign secretary has joined JLA, an agency which supplies celebrity speakers for business dinners and corporate events.

It comes just weeks after Mr Johnson announced plans for a potentially costly divorce from Marina Wheeler, with whom he has four children.

Mr Johnson was banned from holding second jobs while in the Cabinet and is known to have complained privately about having to manage on his £141,405 salary, telling friends it was not enough to cover his ‘extensive family responsibilities’.

In 2009, he also described his £250,000-a-year fee for writing a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph as ‘chicken feed’. When he resigned from the Cabinet in July, Mr Johnson’s salary was cut to £77,379. But, with divorce proceedings imminent, he has moved swiftly to boost his income.

In August, he resumed his weekly column on an annual fee of £275,000. He has also resumed work on a biography of Shakespeare, which was put on hold when he joined the Government in July 2016.

Now he has signed up with the prestigious JLA agency, whose books include celebrities such as John McEnroe and Nigella Lawson, as well as politicians William Hague and John Prescott.

JLA’s website states that Mr Johnson ‘is regarded as one of the most captivating political speakers of his generation, with a famously entertaining style of delivery’. A source said he could expect to command a fee of about £30,000 a time for hosting corporate events at which he would be expected to make a 15-minute speech.

Mr Johnson and his wife announced last month that they were divorcing after 25 years. In a joint statement, they said they would ‘continue to support our four children in the years ahead’.

The former London mayor has since been linked romantically to the Conservative Party’s former communications chief Carrie Symonds, although neither has commented on their relationship.

His latest move risks a fresh clash with the parliamentary watchdog that polices the revolving door between politics and business. The advisory committee on business appointments has not yet given formal approval for Mr Johnson to take up the role.

All ministers are supposed to consult the committee before taking up any paid role within two years of leaving office.

Rules also ban ministers from taking up paid work for three months after leaving office.

Mr Johnson was rebuked by the committee for ‘failing to comply with [his] duty’ when he resumed his Telegraph column just days after resigning without seeking approval. Mr Johnson said he had not been aware of the rules.

But the committee’s chairman Baroness Browning later said the restrictions were enshrined in the ministerial code, which all ministers are required to sign.

Mr Johnson declined to comment last night.

Original article appears here

Sir Bradley Wiggins calls Sir Dave Brailsford’s marginal gains mantra ‘a load of rubbish’ and he wouldn’t put his mother in car from sponsors Skoda
Posted on March 27, 2017

Sir Bradley Wiggins has dismissed the marginal gains process at the centre of British Cycling’s success under Sir Dave Brailsford as ‘a load of rubbish’.

Wiggins was also critical of fellow Olympic gold-medallist Victoria Pendleton and sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters, who worked with Brailsford at British Cycling and Team Sky and created the ‘chimp paradox’ model for dealing with pressure.

Former Olympic champion Chris Boardman originally headed up British Cycling’s ‘Secret Squirrel Club’, now known as ‘Room X’ under head of technical development Tony Purnell, to find any slight advantage through modifications to bike technology and riders’ clothing.

Wiggins won eight Olympic medals, including five golds, as well as the Tour de France for Brailsford’s Team Sky but he said at a JLA motivational breakfast event on Friday: ‘A lot of people made a lot of money out of it and David Brailsford used it constantly as his calling card, but I always thought it was a load of rubbish.

‘It’s a bit like the whole chimp thing. At the end of the day, chimp theories and marginal gains and all these buzzwords – a lot of the time, I just think you have got to get the fundamentals right: go ride your bike, put the work in, and you’re either good or you’re not good.

‘Sometimes in life or in sport, whatever, you’re either good at something or you’re not. That’s what makes you a better athlete: your physical ability and whether you’ve trained enough – not whether you’ve slept on a certain pillow or mattress.’

Wiggins was also questioned by host Sarah-Jane Mee on Friday at the event that he was reported to have used a special mattress during his 2012 Tour victory but he was dismissive.

He said: ‘Yeah, but that was just the sprinkles on the top. Underneath it all was this dedication and this sacrifice and something mentally instilled in you from a young age that made you do what you did as a teenager and made you go out in the rain and all that stuff.’

Wiggins then added: ‘In some ways it’s almost a bit disrespectful for these people to come along and say, ‘Yeah, it’s because we made him sleep on this certain pillow, or he drank this certain drink before this race’.

Pendleton, who won sprint gold at Beijing 2008 and the keirin at London 2012, has credited Dr Peters as a major part of her success.

But Wiggins said: ‘Vicky’s a bit of a milkshake anyway. You can overanalyse things but at the end of the day, it’s about your ability and whether you’re a better athlete than the other person or not.

‘Whether you’ve come to grips with this other person living inside you, it’s all a bit… well, each to his own. That may work with some people, but as Roy Keane would say: it’s utter nonsense.’

Wiggins made no mention in the interview of the ongoing investigation into a medical package delivered to him at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

Meanwhile, 36-year-old Wiggins was also asked whether he would put his mother in a Skoda, in which he has an advertising deal with the car manufacturer.

However, in the Q+A, he was quick to insist that he would never put his mum in one of their cars, saying: ‘Nah, I wouldn’t put her in a Skoda.’

Original article appears here

Former Tory leader William Hague earning £50k a week for after-dinner speaking engagements
Posted on January 24, 2016

Peer earns more as a public speaker than £134k he was paid while in the Cabinet

WILLIAM Hague is raking in £50,000 a week as an after-dinner speaker.

The former Tory leader and Foreign Secretary has been hired for a string of events since he left frontline politics. It means he can earn more in a few weeks than the £134,000 he was paid as a Cabinet minister.

Experts predict that with book contracts and royalties he will soon make £1million. Lord Hague is signed up with JLA, Britain’s top after-dinner speaker agency, which says he has “true Yorkshire wit and natural comic timing”.

Described as “the David Beckham of toasting” by Hillary Clinton, his AA rating means his fee is “over £25,000”.

Only a handful of others command the same fee, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Ex-Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown gets £5,000 to £10,000, while former home secretary David Blunkett earns £2,500 to £5,000.

Lord Hague, who made £820,000 for writing, speaking and TV appearances in his last political break, recently made two speeches in eight days, according to Lords records.

The week after he flew to Dubai for two engagements in 48 hours.

Richard Kay
Posted on January 8, 2014

After-dinner speaking agency JLA has published a list of MPs, businessmen, TV presenters and sports stars on its books, offering a useful guide to what they consider their market worth to be.

BBC newscasters Fiona Bruce and Huw Edwards are classed as A-listers who expect to be paid an eyewatering £10,000 to £25,000 per engagement.

Meanwhile, Today programme presenter John Humphrys and Daily Politics host Andrew Neil are rated B, who will settle for a more modest £5,000 to £10,000 per talk.

I know who I’d prefer to listen to.

Original article appears here

Funny Business, BBC Two, Review
Posted on January 17, 2013

Michael McIntyre: £40,000. Ricky Gervais: £25,000. Jason Manford: £25,000. Jo Brand: £10,000-£25,000. Barry Cryer – who after that lot looks an absolute steal – is £2,000-£5,000.

This, according to Funny Business (BBC Two), is what it costs to hire the above to tell some jokes at a corporate event. The documentary was about comedians’ relationship with money: how much they earn, how they earn it, and how they feel about how they earn it. And when it comes to corporate events – hosting, say, an awards do for the burglar alarm industry, or the national association of actuaries’ Christmas party – some of them itch with self-loathing.

Rhod Gilbert, a Welsh comedian, said he had such miserable memories of corporate events that he no longer does them (he once did a set for the Professional Footballers’ Association. His efforts were met with total silence). Other comedians said they by and large found themselves going down well, but none the less seemed vaguely ashamed.

The same went for adverts: easier money but seen by many more people, which is the last thing comedians want. Glad as they are of the cash, many comedians talk about doing adverts the way other famous people talk about having their sexual misdemeanours exposed by the tabloids. They know they shouldn’t have done it, but they couldn’t help themselves, and they’re only human, and, and…

But is it so wrong? The venerated US comedian Bill Hicks sneered that if you do an advert “you’re off the artistic roll call”. Why a comedian should worry about “the artistic roll call” is hard to say.

Until about 30 years ago, it was thought fine just to tell jokes and be well-paid for it. Then came “alternative comedy”: liberal, leftish, notionally anti-establishment. Now no self-respecting comedian could be merely a jester. He had to be an artist. And an artist must hate himself for making money, or, if he doesn’t make money, hate peers who do.

Especially if that money is made from adverts, because adverts are made on behalf of firms with products to sell, and selling products is evil. The idea that selling products is good, because it keeps people in jobs and their children fed, rarely gets a look-in.

Maybe we’re having this debate 10 years too late, though. We’re now in the era of Jimmy Carr, a former marketing man for Shell who’s been upbraided by the Prime Minister for not paying enough tax. I don’t know whether Carr would make it on to the Hicks Artistic Roll Call, but I have a funny feeling he doesn’t care.

Original article appears here


Richard Kay
Posted on April 13, 2010

Comic Frankie Boyle, who was last week criticised for making jokes about Down’s syndrome, clearly finds cruelty sells.
The former Mock The Week panellist has had his fees increased by public speaking agency JLA.
Last year, Glasgow-born Boyle caused offence on the show with smutty remarks about Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.
His services were then being advertised by JLA at between £5,000 and £10,000 a time.
Now, perhaps commensurate with his public disapproval, the company have promoted him to their ‘A-grade’ speaker status, with fees of £10,000 to £25,000.
‘We don’t comment about the individual situations behind people on our books,’ says JLA boss Jeremy Lee.
‘But as a general remark, it’s self-evident that people’s fees can go up or down.’

Prezza The TV Star Makes The Grade
Posted on November 27, 2008

By Alice-Azania Jarvis

John Prescott’s brief stint on television appears to have paid off.

The former deputy prime minister won praise for his BBC2 documentary Prescott: The Class System And Me – although his wife Pauline seemed the real star, reportedly attracting offers of future small-screen work.

Now, however, I hear that Prezza has seen his own stock rise, with demand for his presence on the lucrative after-dinner speaking circuit higher than ever.

So in vogue is Prescott that he has been bumped up to “A-grade” status by his London-based agency, JLA. According to its website, the Labour veteran can earn up to £25,000 for a single booking – especially pleasing given the widespread mirth caused by his demotion to “B-grade” last spring.

Jeremy Lee, the boss of the agency, acknowledges the boost in interest since the show. “We have absolutely had an increase in demand [for John]. People loved it,” he says.

Now established as one of JLA’s top earners, Mr Prescott is in glitzy company: Alastair Campbell and his old Commons foe, William Hague, are among its fellow A-listers, while Ken Livingstone and Michael Portillo remain in the more modest B-band, where fees start at £5,000.

“It is determined by the market, by how in demand people are,” adds Lee. “John has been very popular.”

Blunkett Junket
Posted on January 21, 2005

By Martin Waller
IT HAS not taken him long. David Blunkett, still enjoying his £3 million grace-and-favour Belgravia mansion despite losing his job as Home Secretary, has signed up with an agency to offer lucrative after-dinner speaking arrangements.

Large companies are being approached by e-mail with the news that he is on offer from JLA, one of the larger firms in the field, which has also recently acquired the rights to Sir John Stevens, the retiring Met Police Commissioner. No fixed fee — “I would discuss each individual one with David,” says JLA’s Tom McLaughlin — but a comfy five-figure sum should be assured for every rubber chicken dinner. Useful for a man whose salary dropped from £130,000 to a mere £57,000 when he quit.

The agency also represents William Hague, who has made quite a success of the after-dinner circuit, and Mervyn King. No, not that one — a South African judge who is apparently a whiz on corporate governance.


What TV Stars Get For Dinner
Posted on April 24, 2001

By Rhymer Rigby and Jade Garrett

So Angus Deayton can earn £50,000 for hosting an awards ceremony. He’s not the only one. A famous face and a nice line in after-dinner patter can earn you a fortune

Angus Deayton’s £50,000 pay packet to host this year’s Bafta awards catapults him to the top of the super-league of celebrities who can earn more from presenting award ceremonies and after-dinner speaking than from their TV careers.

A few years back, Deayton charged £6,000 for a 20-minute after-dinner speech at the far less glamorous Gwent Training and Enterprise Council. Next month Bafta will fork out £416 a minute for the Have I Got News for You host’s two hours’ work delivering several one-liners and schmoozing back-slapping luvvies.

According to sources at some of the country’s top talent agencies, this places Deayton just behind Lady Thatcher, who can now demand up to £60,000 for a couple of hours’ work, ahead of David Frost at £25,000 and Carol Vorderman at £20,000. Davina McCall received what was considered a generous £15,000 to front the Brit awards for ITV last year, a similar amount to that offered to Ant and Dec, who hosted the ceremony this year.

Jeremy Lee, managing director at JLA, a London-based speakers agency, says the amount a star can earn is practically limitless.

“There is one artist, who shall remain nameless, who describes it as a ‘bank raid’,” he says.

“Their careers are like that of Premier League footballers. They have comparatively short careers in which they earn vast sums of money. A lot of them earn between £10,000 and £20,000 for each appearance, and they could feasibly be doing something every week. Some are in a position where they can earn more from the corporate circuit than from their TV careers, but they are all aware that it is their TV profile that enables them to earn so much, so that is always prioritised. Very few have any great longevity.”

He adds that demand for stars is huge because of their ability to add a level of prestige and glamour that only celebrity endorsement can.

This is the world of celebrities’ second incomes. For while most associate the wealth of Jonathan Ross, Deayton, Vorderman and pretty much every other star with the telly, chances are they are also pounding the after-dinner circuit, appearing at everything from surveyors’ soirées to oil-industry beanos. Anywhere, in fact, where the organisers will stump up the cash.

Even Michael Fish, the BBC weather man, is getting in on the act. The 57-year-old Fish has signed up as director of publicity for Wrinklies Direct Names and Faces, which specialises in finding work for ageing celebrities. His details are displayed on the company’s website along with those of 35 other ageing “celebrities” keen to cash in, including Cynthia Payne and Neil and Christine Hamilton, who are running corporate training courses on crisis management.

“It’s a very significant income for some,” says Khalid Aziz, chairman of the Aziz Corporation, a spoken communications consultancy. “It can be far more than they get from the BBC.”

From the celebrity’s point of view, it’s a lot of cash for what, even if they prepare assiduously, isn’t a great deal of work. “It remains a nice little earner,” says Dominic Morley, a former managing director of After Dinner Speakers UK, “and usually they’ll do it as often as they’re asked. It’s very good money.”

Fair enough, but what about the companies in question  do the celebs bring enough to the party to justify their enormous fees?

“If your objective is a morale boost for the troops,” says Aziz, “then a TV personality is a great help. You get success by association. Some, like Nick Ross, are very good. But others regard it as a bit of gravy and give the minimum possible.”

Speakers such as George Best may come with a health warning, though you have to suspect that most of those who’ve hired him would feel a bit let down if he didn’t fall over. Interestingly, repetition tends to reflect badly on the organisers rather than the celebrities.

“It’s pointless and ridiculous to suggest they start each speech from scratch,” says Lee, ” but ideally you wouldn’t book someone for events with audience overlap so close to each other.”

“With sporty people,” says Morley, “the truth is, many are hopeless. Just because you can kick a ball doesn’t mean you can speak.”

The financial rewards paid by British awards ceremonies pale in comparison with their competitors in the USA. The American actors Steve Martin and Billy Crystal each commanded fees said to be in excess of £500,000 for hosting the last two Oscar ceremonies. Even the value of the goody bags handed to the stars at awards events can outstrip a British compère’s fee. Top guests at last year’s Oscars received a £1,000 Cartier watch, a £500 bracelet, a £300 pen and a £120 crystal heart.

The presenters of last month’s Golden Globe film awards each received a Dior watch in an antique Chinese wedding-chest, a pair of Chanel sunglasses, a Palm electronic organiser, a Phillips MP3 player and 2lb of Godiva chocolates. Total value: £5,000.

For now English audiences are happy to be entertained for a couple of hours by a celebrity chef, ageing agony aunt or former politician. But when it comes to real professionalism and good value, one name comes up again and again. From audiences to agents, no one, but no one, has a bad word to say about Bob Monkhouse.