Pandora

PANDORA HAS often wondered whether you need more luck than talent in order to present a TV show. Viewers of Channel 4's Powerhouse political programme may have noticed that Charlie Whelan's guest presentation last week went like a spinning top - the wooden variety, that is. However, since no presenter can do more than a week guesting on the show, viewers will be spared more stilted posturing from Gordon Brown's former press supremo. Or will they? It is interesting to note that the programme editor of the show is Andrew Brown, brother of Gordon. Would this coincidence explain how Chuckles got his job in the first place?

THE FASHIONABLY discreet Portobello Hotel in London, where in their romantic days Johnny Depp and Kate Moss enjoyed a champagne bath, is getting a little self-conscious about guests booking into the hotel on their own. The hotel has introduced measures to get guests into more of a sociable mood. Visitors will have a chance of enjoying games of solitaire and backgammon, together with carpet croquet and golf - especially good for those feeling a little under par.

PANDORA COULDN'T help noticing the lack of communication between Sir Edward Heath and the political commentator Hugo Young, who were placed next to each other at last Sunday's House Magazine/Channel 4 Political Awards for 1998. Despite their shared passion for the European ideal, the pressure of their both being up for Political Book of 1998 kept them silent. Hugo Young once described Heath's memoirs, The Course of My Life, as "a book that did not need to exist". Perhaps it would have been more convenient if it had not existed, as Heath's book went on to win the award.

WILL HUTTON has told Anticipations, the journal of the Young Fabians, about who he would like to see leading the Labour party after Tony Blair. "I'd like it to be a woman. Tessa Jowell, just, but if it's got to be a man, Charles Clarke." Hutton goes on to say: "I've ruined their reputations now, haven't I?" Perhaps not. Charles Clarke, now an education minister and formerly head of Neil Kinnock's office, told Pandora: "Will Hutton has shown himself to be an interesting economic analyst but a less perceptive political pundit."

SPEAKING of hotels, a new and very unusual hotel opens for business, in London, at the beginning of March. 112 Harley Street will be the first boutique hotel to offer complete nursing care. It will have only 15 bedrooms, all luxuriously designed by the interior decorator Kelly Hoppen, with food cooked up by Richard Shakespeare. Pandora now knows where to convalesce after her cosmetic surgery - but with room prices reaching pounds 1,200 a night, this hotel will not act as an overflow for NHS patients, and they have no intention of accepting Bupa or PPP payments.

AT THE Mayfair Club, in London, Bjork, Keith from Prodigy, Michelle Collins, Robert Carlyle and Natalie Imbruglia were all part of the celebrity set who had shown up for the Saturday nighter at the former strip joint. While the beautiful people got ready for some Valentine romance, a sleek Mercedes pulled up outside and two very glamorous-looking women stepped out in search of some action. After looking at the queue, however, they decided to leave - much to Pandora's disappointment. The women in question? Joan Collins (pictured) and Rod Stewart's former wife, Alana Stewart.

THE OSCAR ceremony has always been a gaudy parade, but this year the sparkle seems to have gone out of control. US sources have told Pandora that the actress Geena Davis will be wearing $12m worth of jewels to the awards, but Ms Davis will be outshone by the master of ceremonies, Whoopi Goldberg, who is planning on getting decked out in $30m worth. The jewels are on loan from the Hollywood jeweller Harry Winston. Pandora hopes they remember to give them back - unlike Sharon Stone who treated a similar loan as a rather generous gift.

Pandora can be contacted at pandora@

independent. co.uk

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