MEDIA MAVENS reading Ink, John Preston's new novel about Fleet Street, are having fun spotting resemblances between characters in the book and real-life journalists. Take Cliff, a dogmatic and conceited individual determined to be editor of Preston's fictive paper. After being indirectly involved in a nasty accident, the Cliff character is forced to admit he's never going to edit anything on the street of shame and ends the book by saying he'll "have to go into television". Preston used to work on the Evening Standard with TV personality Richard Littlejohn. Surely not a roman a clef?
JUST WHAT'S needed on these shores now - a new ladmag. It's called Later, it's on the stands on 26 April and it's being pitched as Loaded for adults. "Our readers are responsible guys in their thirties, they'll go out and get drunk with the boys, but they'll go home to their girlfriends afterwards," says an IPC mouthpiece. The first issue will be discounted to pounds 1.50, feature an interview with Nicolas Cage and contain "lots of stuff about relationship habits". Why not just call it Older?
PREVIEWERS AT Mamma Mia, the Abba musical at London's Prince Edward Theatre, were warned last night not just to switch off their mobile phones and cameras, but that the show features Lycra and platform boots. Bearded Abba guy Benny Andersson wore neither at the show's dress rehearsal, but even though he was garbed in a conservatively-styled dark business suit the audience gave him a standing ovation as he entered the theatre. Has nostalgia warped these impressionable middle-aged minds?
THE CHOPPER crash this week a mile off the Dorset coast poses an interesting Third Way-type dilemma. The couple who owned the turbine-engined Bell Jet helicopter sat on its hull until they caught the attention of a passing fishing boat. Its crew then alerted the coastguard, who fished the duo (they had been en route from Devon to Buckinghamshire) out of the drink. Weymouth coastguard estimate the cost of the rescue at around pounds 8,000. According to Flight International the cheapest second-hand Jet Ranger available costs pounds 36,250: new, the base price is north of pounds 515,000. Is it really too much to expect Mr and Mrs Burgess, the rescued couple, to defray some of the costs of their luxurious mishap?
BBC STAFF have been informally told during a series of seminars that there are to be no more Welsh jokes. There is such a thing? Yes apparently, here's a sample. Q: Why are Cardiganshire people (known as the Cardigans) believed to be the meanest in Wales? A: They've all got short arms and deep pockets. OK, this is one PC humour ban Pandora thinks is a smart move.
WHODADRUNKIT? ULRIKA Jonsson can now down a pint in 5.8 seconds, according to eye-witnesses at the Met Bar.
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