Antiques Roadshow boss Simon Shaw dramatically quits

Presented by softly spoken Fiona Bruce, family favourite Antiques Roadshow conveys an atmosphere of genial curiosity to its millions of Sunday evening viewers. Behind the scenes, however, it appears to be a very different story.

I can reveal that the BBC show’s boss, Simon Shaw, has dramatically resigned after his boyfriend, Lloyd Farmar, 55, was rumoured to have been forced off the programme.

Shaw had drafted the interior designer in to his production team in 2004. However, Farmar left the programme two months ago after a string of complaints were allegedly made about his behaviour on set.

‘For many years, there’s been a great deal of unhappiness there,’ a source tells me. ‘Lloyd was rude to people.

‘A number of them have been incredibly unhappy. They made official complaints and the powers-that-be have swept the thing under the carpet. How the BBC allowed it to happen, God only knows.’

Executive producer Shaw has worked since 2003 on Antiques Roadshow, which returns for its 40th anniversary series next weekend. Cardiff-born Farmar had previously worked on the BBC makeover programme Home Front, of which Shaw was also producer.

The Antiques Roadshow source claims of the couple: ‘Basically, they had a fiefdom and a power game between them. A lot of nice people have gone.’

A BBC spokesman confirms that Shaw has quit the programme, but refuses to comment on Farmar’s departure or the allegations of rudeness.

‘We can confirm Simon has decided to leave the show,’ the spokesman says.

‘Antiques Roadshow is a much-loved programme enjoyed by over five million viewers each week and we would like to thank him for his creativity and passion over the years which has made it such a success. He leaves the show in great shape.’

Shaw and Farmar could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley forced the BBC to reveal the names of its best-paid stars, yet she appears reluctant to name her own high-flyers.

The highest is likely to be permanent secretary Sue Owen, on more than £150,000 a year, according to figures elicited by Labour MP Jim McMahon in a written question.

Some 23 nameless toilers are on more than £80,000, while a further seven have salaries over £100,000.

Socialite Jemima Goldsmith joked earlier this year that her brother Ben should ‘stop breeding’ after he described Britain’s rapid population growth as ‘madness’.

Happily, the 36-year-old financier has ignored his sister’s advice and added another member to the Goldsmith clan.

Ben’s model-turned-caterer wife, Jemima Jones, 30, has given birth to their second child, a boy they’ve called Arlo.

The son of late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith already has three children with his ex-wife, the banking heiress Kate Rothschild.

‘We are very happy and very lucky to have a new baby boy,’ says Ben, whose brother is Tory MP Zac Goldsmith. ‘Jemima is absolutely fine and we’re taking him home today.’

Jemima is pictured cradling Arlo outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, London, where Prince George and Princess Charlotte were also born.

Ben is holding their 14-month-old daughter, Eliza, in the snap, which Jemima shared online with friends.

While the Earl of Snowdon’s lovechild Polly Fry decides whether to contest her father’s will, which left her nothing, the mother of the royal snapper’s illegitimate son, Jasper, is delighted with his inheritance of £250,000 and suggests there may be more to come.

‘Things are not yet finalised,’ journalist Melanie Cable-Alexander tells me. ‘There are still other elements under discussion.’

Snowdon’s £3.2 million estate was divided mainly between his two children by Princess Margaret and his daughter from his second marriage, to Lucy Lindsay-Hogg.

Snowdon acknowledged he was the father of Polly, now a divorced mother-of-five, only after a DNA test, but had been a constant in the life of Jasper, 19, even paying his £18,855-a-year school fees.

Melanie adds: ‘Things aren’t quite finished, but we are very happy with whatever he’s left.’

Lady Colin Campbell is holding a Frankenstein-themed ball (tickets £80) at her Grade I-listed country house, Castle Goring, in West Sussex and once the home of Dr Frankenstein’s creator Mary Shelley.

‘Who will Lady C go as?’ wonders one of the royal biographer’s friends, unkindly. ‘Forget the monster, she’d be scarier as herself.’