Pembroke: Playing back inside

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I SUPPOSE if you stage theatrical events in prisons you are bound to face a few problems. But Pimlico Opera, which is putting on a production of Guys and Dolls at Wandsworth prison in south London this month, hit a casting problem they didn't expect to face.

As has become customary since the company began staging operas in prisons six years ago, inmates were invited to take small parts in the gangsters versus police show or to sing in the chorus.

There was no shortage of applicants for the gangster roles, but slightly fewer for the part of Lieutenant Brannigan, who spends the entire show trying to stop illegal dice games and being constantly outwitted by the hoods.

Dismay then when Michael, the prisoner who landed the role, was released three days before opening night after having his parole brought forward. Michael, who has since taken a job with a firm of City solicitors, is now being re-admitted to the prison each evening to play the role.

'He loves it,' a Pimlico spokesman said. Apparently the bit he likes best is when the prisoners are rounded up to be taken to their cells at the end of the performance before the audience leaves. Michael then joins the rest of the cast in the pub.

CLARE SPOTTISWOODE, the new broom at Ofgas, has wasted no time in making her mark at the regulator. Just weeks into the job and a shake-up already. Her deputy, John Dorkin, is to leave because Ms Spottiswoode wants to abolish his post.

THE LAST CORK has finally popped out at Cork Gully, the insolvency practice that has been subsumed within Coopers & Lybrand. Roger Cork, son of Sir Kenneth Cork, who founded the insolvency business, and grandson of W H Cork, who founded the original accountancy business, is defecting to a rival firm after 24 years.

Mr Cork, 47, is returning to Moore Stephens, the firm he trained with in the late 1960s.

Poor relations at the top seem to be behind the senior partner's departure. 'There has been a divergence of opinion for some time over where the practice should go. I think things have got to the stage where my fortunes will be best served elsewhere,' he said.

Although Coopers & Lybrand say they have no plans to drop the Cork Gully name, there must be questions marks over its survival as the guardians of the faith fall away.

Michael Jordon, the former chairman, kept the name alive, but he retired last month. Now the last Cork has gone too. There are two other family members in insolvency work, but they work at Booth White.

So Cork Gully is Corkless. 'It's very sad,' said the third-generation Cork, who wants to concentrate on building a smaller practice.

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SIR ALLEN SHEPPARD, chairman and chief executive of the beer and Burger King group Grand Metropolitan, probably thought sponsoring the Employees in the Community awards would be a painless way to establish the group's charitable credentials.

Wrong. At the award breakfast yesterday, Sir Allen put on a brave face as he handed out awards to Whitbread, the overall winner, and Joshua Tetley, which got a pat on the back for its new programme. 'I've started giving awards to all my competitors now,' he said through gritted teeth.

NOW THAT the cost-of-living pay increase is no longer an option, workers are becoming increasingly innovative in their wage demands.

Here are a few recorded by unamused clients of the temps agency Accountemps: 'Because I play a pivotal role in the company, it will be good for morale.' 'I know my work's not very good but others in my position are making much more.' And straight out of the playground: 'My dad says I should be promoted now.'