Joely and Jamie back together

For months they have claimed to be just good friends.

But it seems Jamie Theakston's roller-coaster relationship with Joely Richardson is on the up again.

The couple strolled hand in hand during a holiday in the South of France.

And the way they exchanged lingering looks and sat with their heads close together pointed to a couple back in love.

The pair arrived separately in France last week. They met in Nice, where they stayed in a three-star hotel before heading for a mountain villa belonging to Miss Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave.

The holidaymakers were pictured during a short tour of villages around St Tropez, during which they stopped for lunch and even attended a church service.

"They were very affectionate with each other," said one observer. "Although there were no public kisses, they are clearly very much at ease in each other's company and they seemed very close."

The pair have maintained the closest of relationships since their well-publicised split almost two years ago.

Miss Richardson, 38, who is divorced from producer Tim Bevan, dumped the 32-year-old TV

presenter with a "Dear John" note days after he described her in an interview as "the love of my life".

Five months later, Mr Theakston faced embarrassment as he publicly confessed to having visited a brothel.

His former girlfriend, whose films include Maybe Baby and 101 Dalmatians, was said to have been a tower of strength at the time.

"It has always been an on-off relationship and now it is back on," a friend of Theakston's said yesterday.

"Joely completely backed Jamie after those prostitute revelations and a few weeks ago they decided to give it another go.

"They have tried very hard to not make their romance public because they think it will put more pressure on them. But they never fell out of love with each other.

"This is a trial period, really. If they feel it can work none of their friends are in any doubt that it will eventually lead to marriage."

Friends say the actress has encouraged Mr Theakston's budding acting career.

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