Although in his lifetime Cecil Beaton - royal photographer and theatrical designer - published six short volumes of his diaries he was shy hurting the feelings of those he wrote about. Hugo Vickers has gone back to the originals to produce the Beaton diaries as they were written. Beaton records a vigorous social life among hostesses such as Emerald Cunard and Sybil Colefax, performers including Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn (on the not wholly successful Alan Jay Lerner-Andre Previn musical, COCO) and Marlene Dietrich, as well as artists from Cocteau and Picasso to Bacon and the young Hockney. Running through the diaries are his friendships with the Queen Mother, with Diana Cooper and Greta Garbo. In the unexpurgated edition Vickers shows what Beaton really had to say about those with whom he worked. He could be waspish, even brutal. His diaries are frank and uninhibited.