Pandora

THE BEST take on BBC1's new costume drama Aristocrats? "Period Pain."

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THE DRESS worn by Diana, Princess of Wales when she married the heir in 1981 is to be sold. Diana, it seems, never paid for the couture creation, designed and made by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel. When the design duo split, the loaned frock remained the property of Elizabeth's company, which went into receivership three years ago. A lead creditor is now pressuring Emmanuel's liquidators to sell the dress, perceived as the bust business' biggest asset. Their plan? Cut it up and flog it in an on-line auction to bring in $$ bidders. But who is the creditor pressurising the liquidators and driving the action?

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GIVEN THAT Prince Edward's new title includes being Viscount of Severn, and that the river is currently crossed by two bridges, does this mean visitors enjoying the couple's hospitality will have been to Two Bridges Place?

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ANNABEL CROFT and Ilie Nastase were among a dozen Wimbledon champions paying homage at the Mulberry Midsummer Ball, held at the Hurlingham Club during the weekend. The object of their adulation? Roy Emerson, silver- haired winner of (count 'em) 28 Grand Slam titles. "They called us `the living legends', Rosewall, Laver, Pancho Gonzalez and me..." Emerson told a celebrity-rich crowd that included Angus Deayton, Sharron Davies and Tania Bryer, "...but after they'd seen us play they dropped the legend". Croft and Nastase led the other title-winners in falling to their knees to perform a simultaneous Wayne's World style "We are not worthy," salaam. Oh, and Wimbledon players currently face a new hazard in their preparation - flying ants.

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DAVID HOCKNEY chatted with Alan Bennett at Thames & Hudson's 50th birthday bash at the National Gallery the other day - Hockney's over from LAX because his mother has just died, and the art star is dealing with the estate.

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RAIN FORESTS? Way too wet. Why doesn't anyone campaign to save the dry ones?

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LUCKY LENNY Beige, the comic who puts the ease in cheese, will be the sole male in the room at Teatro on 5 July with more than 50 of the liveliest fillies on these shores. Why? Lesley Ash (pictured) is passing him the compere's baton for the Chicks for Charity dinner. Teatro owner Lee Chapman says of the periodic fundraiser: "The girls get very happy and noisy." Once it was ladies who lunch - now it's dames who dine.

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THE CURRENT GQ (US edition) features "the 75 funniest jokes of all time". Most are unprintable (taste and space) but here's one: a skeleton walks into a bar and says "Give me a beer and a mop."

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CITY SHENANIGANS last week produced this encounter between a protester and a woman in a Jesus Army coat. Protester: "Can I have your jacket?" Jesus Army woman: "No, because you wouldn't wear it with pride." Protester: "Yes, but I would wear it to Pride." Many of the Poshopolis boys and girls were amused. "If we can dress down, we're thumbs up for an invasion every Friday," one Lloyd's type said. "The only downside is seeing a couple of senior managers in combat fatigues and chunky Claires (Claire Rayner = trainers)."

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SIXTY-THREE per cent of Brit kids have a TV in their bedroom, according to the new Prospect.

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BILL CLINTON's new gag: he and Al Gore are hunting when a busty beauty appears from the woods in a micro-skirt. Clinton propositions her, and when she says "OK, I'm game," Gore shoots her.

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