X Factor judge and solo mother staunch supporter of marriage equality Former pop star Mel Blatt says she's glad New Zealand is catching up with Britain, which has already legalised gay marriage.

She's billed as the resident bitch on TV3's upcoming X Factor but former British pop star Mel Blatt, 37, is ruffling feathers in the political arena, with a crack at our marriage equality debate.

The pop star, an ex-member of girl group All Saints who were famed for their catty in-fighting as much as their string of chart-topping hits, told The Diary she's pleased New Zealand is catching up with Britain, which voted this year to back a bill to legalise gay marriage.

"I wholeheartedly support gay marriage and I love that New Zealand has taken the next step," Blatt told The Diary. "The fact that gay people can't marry should never have been a law in the first place."

The outspoken star is in the country filming her role as a judge on the TV3 show. The solo mum is a staunch supporter for the gay community and performed last year at the Manchester Pride Parade.


Starship captain flies in

Veteran Star Trek actor William Shatner is coming to Auckland next week to launch Sky TV's new channel Jones. The platform that promises "an affectionate homage to television's finest moments" will take a stroll down memory lane with the 81-year-old actor. Or maybe a hobble. The octogenarian, who is in Adelaide for a Comic Con forum, has been spied using a walking stick to get around rather than a Starship. How long before he asks Scotty for a beam up?

'Human' endeavours Kiwi actor Karl Urban is in Vancouver, Canada, shooting his part in the new JJ Abrams pilot Human. The show, for Rupert Murdoch's Fox network, is a police drama set in the future. Urban told The Diary this week he's "delighted to be there" but the filming timetable is hectic.

Urban plays LAPD officer John Kennex and is on set shooting scenes with Charlie's Angels star Minka Kelly and re-teaming with Star Trek producer Abrams.

"I'm thrilled to be in partnership with JJ Abrams once again and to be collaborating with the insanely talented Joel Wyman. Human is an incredible show that will truly push the boundaries of television as we know it," Urban said.

The show marks the first series regular role for Urban. His agent Imogen Johnson (Johnson Laird) said Urban's "schedule is crazy and he will be in Vancouver for at least a month".

On wheeze watch

If you were following Twitter this week you would have learned The Vatican was on smoke watch, while John Key's plane was on wheeze watch. Smoke filled the aircraft. But political reporters on board weren't panicked. "There was no panic on PM plane. Biggest news was [NewstalkZB reporter] Barry Soper took a solid crap for first time in four days," harrumphed one hack. The Herald's Claire Trevett chortled: "We call it Bazza's bazooka".

Meanwhile, metaphorical shots were being fired in Parliament on Wednesday night like celebratory blasts at a Colombian wedding. Rainbow smoke wafted in the air as MPs overwhelmingly backed the bill for marriage equality.

The breakthrough star was Nats' Chris Auchinvole, whose speech was greeted with an outpouring of Twitter love. Alas Winston Peters, not so much. He favoured a delay to the bill and pushed for a referendum, prompting One News' Matty Maclean to see the irony: "Winston wants a man date ... [er] a mandate".

Trevor Mallard declared he has "the worst gaydar ever", while nemesis Tau Henare, National's Twitter hothead, lashed out at some blue colleagues for not turning pink.

Food porn was on the menu for some high-profile over-sharers, like Kerre Woodham and JJ Feeney. Their promotional tweets for My Food Bag packages appeared more an endorsement exercise, with the Herald's John Drinnan wondering why the tweets didn't declare ad status to save confusion.

Thank Adonis for Dan Carter and pecs porn. The All Black posed in his jocks for a new Jockey underwear campaign. He tweeted something about a bathrobe and being hungry. I forget. The view was distracting.

The drought was the subject of plenty of tweets, but Cabinet Minister Judith Collins is bracing for winter. "Just had my flu injection". A girl can never be too prepared.

Top Gear hosts were prepared for the paparazzi when they dined at Euro restaurant on Wednesday and yesterday. "To the pap standing at the end of the pier. Yes, you in the blue shirt. We saw you ages ago," bemoaned Jeremy Clarkson on Twitter. But he was all yellow-toothed smiles for Campbell Live reporter Rebecca Wright who posted a piccie of her run-in with the curmudgeon.

High fashion graduation

World fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet was made an Honorary Fellow of the Universal College of Learning (Ucol) this week for "an outstanding and distinguished contribution to the wider community and society in general".

L'Estrange-Corbet, who sits on business boards, has shared the stage with John Pilger at the Peace Awards and was invited to speak at Apec, was at a loss for words. "I'm humbled to be the recipient of the highest honour at Ucol and to have been recognised in this way," she said, adding: "My biggest scholastic achievement so far has been two swimming medals at school. And the only gown I've owned is a towelling dressing one!"

Kitchen coitus interruptus

It's hot in the kitchen in one culinary wonder's abode - literally. Tempers were at boiling point when a celebrity chef was exposed, er, in flagrante delicto spread across the kitchen table - and not with their respective partner. The heat, we hear, is now down to a simmering temperature and the words "split" and "lawyers" are off the menu ... for now.