Pandora pandora@independent.co.uk

Is Greg Dyke Santa Claus? The BBC director-general and Manchester United director certainly has the beard for it. Pandora hears a festive rumour that Tony Blair turned to gregarious Greg to help with his Christmas list last year. Greg was allegedly asked to help the PM to get hold of some Manchester United strips, presumably for Nicky Blair, whose idol is the striker Andy Cole. If this tall story were shown to be true, might Cherie be asking Uncle Greg for some bootees this year?

MEANWHILE TONY Blair's visit to Boots the Chemist in, er, Bootle this week prompted a typically humorous response from the Merseyside townsfolk. As the PM went into the store one local shopper called out: "Bit late for that now." Cherie's comment is not recorded.

The Sun rose on the Millennium Dome this week. "Dawn of the thrill-ennium" screamed the leader of the red-top tabloid on Monday, wetting itself with the "excitement of the year 2000". The soaraway rag continued, "We are also certain that cynics who doubted the Dome's success will start to reconsider. The Millennium Dome has been attacked by what The Sun calls `the negative forces in this country'." Whoa! Could this be the same Sun that once shone with headlines such as "Dump the Dome, Tony"? The same paper that started a "campaign" backed by Richard Branson to "axe this monstrous folly before another penny is wasted"?

THE PR whiz Max Clifford spilled the beans on how he set up the Jeffrey Archer and Gary Glitter scoops at a Reform Club dinner this week. But, rather ironically, the inside story on Max's inside stories was only for the ears of those in the room.

HiYa!, Scotland's answer to the celebrity trash magazine Hello!, has hit the newsstands. The title reflects the particular Scots twang given to this everyday greeting, and was probably a better bet than "See you, Jimmy". The first star-studded issue features - wait for it - Elaine C Smith. Best known as Rab C Nesbitt's wife in the BBC television series, Smith is also noted for her journey across Scotland's political spectrum from Labour stalwart to SNP advocate. Early reaction to the mag is sceptical. "Expect to see `Tea and Digestives with Donald Dewar' in the next issue," jokes our man on Princes Street.

LAURENCE MARKS, comedy writer, is the latest celebrity to out himself as an Arsenal fan. In his new football diary A Fan For All Seasons, the co-creator of Birds of a Feather and The New Statesman parallels his "Gooner" love with his TV career. In one passage Marks writes of waiting to meet New Statesman star Rik Mayall from a train, "When the train pulls in only about half a dozen people get off, none of whom is Rik Mayall. Surely he didn't miss the train. With Rik, of course, anything is possible." Indeed it was, as Mayall, whose latest work includes ads for Virgin trains, was locked in the train toilet.

Sharon Stone believes that girls assessing a guy should first check out his vintage. Speaking during a promotional tour, the actress said: "Watch the way a man drinks wine. Notice if he knows what he is doing, before you decide to take him home." Raising a glass to class, Stone added: "I want to be savoured like a great Bordeaux, not thrown back like some screwtop bottle of cheap wine."

STELLA McCARTNEY'S protestations for animal rights fell on deaf ears this week when she clashed with her fellow fashion designer Stefano Gabbana. Stella sent him a video about the slaughter of animals for their fur. When the two met at New York's Metropolitan Museum Gabbana, who designs fur coats, gave McCartney short shrift. "He told her to take the videotape and shove it," a witness told the New York Post.

Another case for the fashion police is Friends star Jennifer Aniston: "I remember thinking `couture' was a designer. I thought, `Wow, this guy is on every label.' That's how much I know."

Arts and Entertainment
The new Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris
architecture

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album