Pandora

JEREMY PAXMAN recently hosted the video-taping of the "Broadsheets vs Tabloids" special episode of University Challenge, due to be broadcast over Christmas. Representing the "Broads" were Boris Johnson, Richard Ingrams, Libby Purves and Decca Aitkenhead, while the "Tabs" fielded Anne Leslie, Peter Hitchens, Jane Moore and Tony Parsons. After the contest, all the hacks were sworn to secrecy about the final outcome. However, Pandora quickly learned the result. Without wishing to spoil the suspense for future viewers of this epic battle of brains, it is probable the outcome would have been happier for the chattering classes had a representative from the nation's most intelligent and informed newspaper (ie the one you are holding in your hands) been among the contestants.

THE LINK between the distinguished Garrick Club and the late rock singer Sonny Bono, former husband of Cher and later a Congressman from Palm Springs, is not immediately apparent. However, all eyes in the club have been on the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Term Act for the past months as it has wended its way through the US Congress. The reason for this rapt attention was that the Disney Corporation's offer of pounds 40m to the Garrick for its share of the rights to AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh was conditional on the passage of Bono's legislation. It stretches copyright protection in the US from 50 to 70 years and, with the Act, Winnie the Pooh would have been in the public domain within a few years. The joyous news is that President Clinton signed the "Bono Bill" into law on 27 October.

ALAS, THE Sunday Times Christmas party has been ditched this year. Demoralised staffers in Wapping are being told this draconian move is part of belt- tightening measures taken by Rupert Murdoch's News International in the face of a possible recession. . There is a sneaking suspicion among some ST staff that cancelling the boozy Xmas party had more to do with the socially awkward editor, John Witherow's distaste for such gatherings than it did with any lack of Murdoch cash.

INSTEAD OF enlisting the former Mail on Sunday editor, Jonathan Holborow, to help him embarrass the Gov-ernment, perhaps Tory leader William

Hague should have hired old-school comedian Bobby Davro. At last week's Hospital Doctor of the Year Awards at the Grosvenor House, Davro paused before the major award of the evening. "And now, the moment you have been waiting for, but just to prolong your suffering, a few words from Minister of State for Health Alan Milburn MP."

IN NEXT Tuesday's first episode of BBC2's Match of Their Day, the Seventies football star, Rodney Marsh reveals why his career as an England player ended so abruptly in 1973. In the Wembley dressing-room prior to the World Cup qualifier against Wales, the legendary manager, Sir Alf Ramsey confronted Marsh. "Tonight is your last chance for England. If you don't work harder tonight, I'm going to pull you off at half-time." Marsh retorted, "Christ, at Manchester City we only get a cup of tea and an orange!". That was Rodney's last match ever in an England shirt. Pandora wonders if England's current manager, Glen "Holy Joe" Hoddle would have even got the joke.

DUE TO a US television technicians' union, late-night news bulletins on the ABC network are originating out of its London studio, rather than from New York or LA. While the other American networks have settled, ABC is living in hope of bringing the union into line. This has meant feeding its British staff at 4am and, to feed the troops, ABC has turned to a catering firm called Lox, Stock and Bagel. How appropriate that LS&B is owned by an American expatriate named Janet Evans, who used to make speeches as a "surrogate" for President Ronald Reagan - hardly a supporter of the American labour movement.

THE HUNT for the Tom Cruise lookalike has received some rather puzzling, even disturbing, mail, but very little in the way of credible information. However, one e-mail from an "M Simon" received yesterday does make some sense. "If the mysterious Tom Cruise lookalike is truly as adept at impersonating that actor as he seems to be, he is certainly a better actor than Mr Cruise. He should step forward; a film career beckons." Are you listening, whoever you are?

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