Ian Shuttleworth, who writes for the Financial Times, and Tim Walker of the Sunday Telegraph, apparently fell out some time ago when the latter turned down membership of the Critics Circle drama section, of which the former is secretary. But now matters have come to a very public head, and the forum of debate has been Whatsonstage.com critic Michael Coveney's blog.
Referencing Walker's recent review of the National Theatre's Pains of Youth, Coveney said: "Now it’s got too personal, with Tim Walker ... allegedly making size-ist remarks about Shuttleworth (though he doesn’t name him) in response to a concerted campaign of name-calling and jeering by Shuttleworth and others."
Writing a comment on the blog, Shuttleworth responded: "Suffice it to say that we disagree as to whether there’s merely a difference in degree or a fundamental one in kind between run-of-the-mill lackadaisical reviewing and Tim’s frequent apparent idiocies ... And there’s certainly nothing alleged about the comments which took up more than half of Tim’s review ... it being a matter of record that I was sitting behind him and a matter of the bleeding obvious to anyone who sees me that I’m fat."
Firing back, Walker accused his critical colleague of "orchestrating a little letter-writing campaign" against him, adding, "I may have implied in a review earlier this month that Mr Shuttleworth is a man of above average weight. This is manifestly untrue and I wish to apologise unreservedly and make a hefty donation to Macdonalds (sic) or another cause close to his heart."
A reader then chipped in to accuse the two men of "looking increasingly like children", while another writes, "I’m an actor and I thought we were the bitterest bitches in the business. How refreshing!"
Click here to read the blog and comments