Pandora

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SEX GODDESS Diana Dors (pictured) continues to climb in the iconography of celebrity. Next week, ITV will run a two-night special on the game dame. And next month the biographer Damon Wise will publish Come by Sunday (Pan, pounds 6.99), a candid portrait of the blonde English bombshell. One scene places the comedian Bob Monkhouse at a sybaritic party thrown by Dors and her first husband Dennis Hamilton at their Chelsea home. Monkhouse, then 24, watched blue movies before finding himself in a bedroom with a mirrored ceiling. There the young scriptwriter became entangled with a female party guest. He noticed "something not quite right" about his new friend's boudoir behaviour. Hamilton subsequently invited Monkhouse to an upstairs room where the comedian found himself looking down through the other side of the mirror. But this was one performance Uncle Bob decided to give a miss.

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JUST BEFORE the credits roll on Notting Hill the movie, Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts are shown sitting on a park bench; Julia gazes gooily at Hugh as he reads a book. Freeze frame: Hugh's peruse? Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It's an in-joke - the director Roger Michell is negotiating with Working Title to make Louis de Bernieres' best-seller his next feature.

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ALEX KINGSTON finishes her two-month sabbatical from ER this week. She's been in a new film, Essex Boys, playing a foxy gangster's moll. So how did she find the land of Lakeside and Escorts, fuzzy dice, chunky tom and denim microskirts? "The white stiletto and bleached blond hair thing just isn't true," the ER star says. "A lot of the Essex girls I talked to, I couldn't tell whether they were Essex girls or Chelsea girls." Alex, you've been away too long, baby.

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STEPHEN BAYLEY, the disillusioned major-domo of Cool Brit's design dept, is doing five-finger exercises as a writer. He's just tossed off a piece for this month's Erotic Review - on masturbation.

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SUNSHINE AND lollipops seemed to be on offer for Labour rebels, electioneering nationalists and Little Willie's Smith Squares this week. Excalibur, New Labour's "rapid response" command and control system, crashed. Yes, for the past seven days the Millbank machine has not been responding, rapidly or otherwise. Party control freaks went ballistic after a faulty SCSI card committed digital suicide. SCSI (Small Computer Serial Interface) crashes are serious events: "A malfunctioning card can wipe out all the data on the hard disk," says our resident geek. Millbank now claims the fault has been sorted, and denies that any data has been lost. But do we trust the Millbank Mafia to put their hands up to a wipe-out?

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CAPRICE WAS spotted leaving Damien Hirst's "Pharmacy" boite the other night with a stockbroker. Pandora understands: sometimes a girl needs a vigorous late-night review of her investment portfolio.

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CAN THIS be true? The Indian prime ministerial contender Sonia Gandhi is Italian. In any case, rich, educated Indians think she's a busted flush.

But poor rural peasant types are dazzled - to them Gandhi is a brand.

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SEEN ON a 24 bus the other day, travelling from the West End to North London: Mamma Mia director Phyllida Lloyd, talking on her mobe. Can't see Trevor Nunn on a double-decker, can you?

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OZZIE DJ Jonathan Coleman waxes lyrical on trendy nooks'n'crannies in a London freesheet this week. Heart FM's resident bon viveur confides that he shops in St John's Wood and shakes his thang in Kensington. But something's missing, Jono opines: "Streetside rotisseries - I'm sure they'd do as well as in Australia." He obviously hasn't included in his recent ramblings Notting Hill, South Ken or Chelsea - where he would find... streetside rotisseries.

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GLOSSY POSSE bible Tatler used to run a funny column called "Single Girl's Diary", in many ways the precursor of Helen Fielding's winning Bridget Jones phenomenon. "Single Girl's Diary" was the brainchild of Kate Morris, a lively and entertaining femme who sold the film rights to Granada. The film's in pause mode, but Morris's single life is not.

This week she

marries the photographer Luke White in London. Pandora loves happy endings.

Contact Pandora by

e-mail: pandora @independent. co.uk

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