NEVER MIND sequels, it is the series of `Star Wars' "prequels" that is causing much consternation at the moment. But for once it's not the stars that are the problem. The word in Tinseltown is that the first prequel's budget has rocketed up to $115m because early footage appeared to be out of focus. This is because the director used video footage instead of recording daily rushes on film in an effort to keep costs down, insiders told the `New York Daily News'. The Lucas camp deny this and have said that "nothing is being reshot". Hopefully this means the much-hyped movie will not disappear into a black hole shortly after its release.
NO ONE can doubt the Labour Party's success in increasing both its funds and its membership, but will MPs stop at nothing to continue this success story? A source has told Pandora that, before the election, some Labour MPs enquired whether they might be allowed to channel the money that the House paid for staff pensions (a contribution equal to 10 per cent of their salary) into party funds. Luckily for numerous overworked and underpaid parliamentary assistants, the staff pension allowance is not transferable. The Labour Whips Office, where the MPs go for advice on these matters, said that they had not received such a query. If enquiries of this nature ever existed, Pandora hopes they will not resurface with Minimum Wage legislation now underway.
THE GOVERNMENT'S penchant for reviews and working groups seems to have infected those at the top of the sports world too. The FA Premier League has a working group of its very own. One item "under consideration" is the introduction of boards showing how much injury time is left to play, to be shown towards the end of each half of the match. The system has been used to good effect in the present World Cup.
It would seem that this useful system enjoys universal popularity. Indeed, Sheila Spears from the National Committee of the Football Supporters Association said: "Most people seem to think it's a damn good idea." Not so the Premiership who, while admitting that they could adopt it quickly if required, did not consider their feedback on the issue to indicate popular support. Put down those pens, and start picking up those telephones.
TWO BEAUTIFUL reconciliations have taken place in the press this week. Both are surprising, to say the least, and both are borne out of selective amnesia. First, the Sunday Telegraph reports that Earl Spencer has struck a deal with The Sun to promote a video that will be shown to visitors at Althorp, the Spencer family home. Was The Sun not one of the tabloids guilty of "hounding" his sister Diana? Evidently not. Meanwhile, the Guardian has been indulging Jonathan Miller, Rupert Murdoch's former henchman at Sky.
Monday's Media Guardian gave a glowing description of Miller as "the respected associate editor in charge of business" at The European, meanwhile leaving him free to put the boot into Murdoch in another article. Interesting to note that old acquaintance can be forgot at Grauniad HQ.