A Russell in Sherwood Forest; 1.evelyn Waugh 2.princess Diana 3.noel Edmonds 4.russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer

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Byline: Compton Miller

GLADIATOR star Russell Crowe will take no chances when he arrives in London to spend six months filming Ridley Scott's Robin Hood remake, Nottingham. Nearly every leading letting agency has had precise instructions as to his housing requirements.

"It must be in a gated property that isn't overlooked, with 24-hour security," says estate agent Glentree. Crowe's nervousness follows an incident seven years ago when he received kidnap threats while filming Proof of Life. Alas, just as the New Zealand-born hotelier's son has finally found a ?20,000-a-month house in Mayfair, his visit has been postponed because of the threatened Hollywood actors' strike. Eventually, he will be bringing his actress wife Danielle Spencer and sons Charlie and Tennyson..

ADY Teresa Waugh has sold Combe Florey, the Somerset mansion that for 60 years provided inspiration for her late husband, Literary Review editor Auberon Waugh and his father, Evelyn, who wrote Brideshead Revisited, now a new film.

The Grade II listed eight-bedroom property dating from 1665 fetched nearly ?2.25 million through Knight Frank. "There's barely an author worth their salt who hasn't at some time found themselves in the house," recalls Evelyn's granddaughter Daisy. Among them were VS Naipaul, John Betjeman, Salman Rushdie and Paul Theroux.

The house's 35 acres near Taunton includes an Elizabethan gatehouse, walled garden, tennis court and lake. "It's time for us to bow gracefully to the inevitable," adds novelist Daisy. "We ain't got the cash and it's time to hand it over to someone who has."

YOU have to feel sorry for Deal or No Deal host Noel Edmonds, even though he probably vies with former Swap Shop colleague Keith Chegwin as Britain's most irritating TV personality. …