Pandora

HOT HIP hopper Lauryn Hill (pictured) is breaking out of the box. The sometime Fugees chanteuse is enjoying a smash success with her solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - and now she's moving into the movies. Hill snared the small but crucial role of Leslie, the protagonist's ex-girlfriend in Restaurant, an indie flick about boys and girls waiting on tables while waiting for a break. The flick caught the eye of Madonna, the celebrated pitchwoman for beauty products, who is producing Ghetto Superstar, scheduled to start shooting in Toronto next month. Ghetto Superstar showcases Lauryn's fellow Fugee Pras Michel - and the word is that Madonna is putting her writers through seven shades of hell to create a role alongside Michel for Hill.

SOONER NOT later is when blades will be unsheathed for a Cabinet reshuffle: 10 June has been mentioned as a likely date. It's immediately after the Euro elections and Little Willie's planned re-rejig of the blue party's first team - also reportedly brought forward from July to next month. Oh, and although Pandora doesn't fancy Ann Widdecombe for the No 1 Chick role, you'd be bonkers not to notice that she's currently making some quality moves. There's support for Widdecombe to win motion in the ocean as Little Willie's new Home Affairs shadow: while Michael Howard was around, she couldn't do the gig because her plan is to frame and blame him for the Tories' previous disasters.

SOUR GRAPES anyone? "We had a revolution in this country to get rid of the English. Now they're running our magazines and art galleries and are writing and painting and being paid American money for it. Worst of all, before they got here, they've bought their tea-bags duty-free at the airports, at a shop owned by English people." - Tama Janowitz, in Tatler, on how the British Invasion is becoming the English colonisation. Fact: Janowitz's spouse is English.

BETTER LUCK next season (as Manchester City supporters used to say when Maine Road's gates opened every August)... to Blackburn Rovers striker Ashley Ward. If Blackburn do go down - and as Rovers confront Manchester United tonight, it's a real possibility - it will be the third time in four seasons that Ward has been on a team relegated from the top flight: Norwich in 1995/6; Barnsley in '97/98 and now...? Third time's the charm, Ash.

GREAT FACES for radio, as we now know, do not include Dolly Draper's. When the ex-Mandelson aide blew his Talk Radio slot it was reported that veteran Mirror journalist Paul Routledge had permanently moved in. Tragically, Routledge enjoyed a two-show "reign" before Austin Mitchell (Old Labour, Grimsby) steadied the ship. Talk Radio maintains Routledge was only ever "helping out", but surely even Routledge expected to last longer in a job than Dolly?

DONNY OSMOND woos the therapy vote in his new memoir Life Is What You Make It: "I felt I could not leave my house without them on. They became like magic talismans to me, with the power to ward off my own self-doubts and insecurities." He is writing about his purple socks.

CELEBRITY NIGHTSCHOOL. Today's tutor is Mickey Rourke. After conspicuously blowing his shot for a role on ER, the pugilistic thesp was admitted to hospital for "an adverse reaction to cough syrup". That Night Nurse must have more kick than we thought...

YESTERDAY PANDORA invited Home Secretary Jack Straw to clear the air about whether or not he's ever smoked cannabis. We have his authoritative answer - turn to page 8 of this section. So Pandora's delighted to accept that he can indeed meet "drugs czar" Keith Hellawell without embarrassment. And, Jack - if you thought Pandora was implying you had ever indulged in the pleasures of kif smoking, sorry.

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@independent.co.uk

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