'Gherkin' team photo puts Sir Norman in a bit of a pickle

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* The tense relationship between Lord (Norman) Foster and his former design partner, Ken Shuttleworth, far right, has taken an extraordinary turn, just after Foster scooped the Stirling Prize for architecture for the Swiss Re building - known as "the erotic gherkin" - in London.

* The tense relationship between Lord (Norman) Foster and his former design partner, Ken Shuttleworth, far right, has taken an extraordinary turn, just after Foster scooped the Stirling Prize for architecture for the Swiss Re building - known as "the erotic gherkin" - in London.

Even at the time many insiders thought credit for the gherkin should have gone to Shuttleworth, who drew up the original designs. And when Shuttleworth left Foster's practice last December, some felt his departure was prompted - for both partners - by an increasing feeling in the industry that Shuttleworth was the real talent behind buildings like the gherkin.

Now Pandora hears that in the latest volume of Foster's Works books - a series about his projects - a photograph of his team has been altered to demote Shuttleworth. The 2002 photo, which Pandora has seen, showed Shuttleworth immediately on Foster's right. But in the picture that appears in Works he has been moved back and away from the centre.

"I spent 30 years with Norman and always found him very generous," Shuttleworth tells me. "Since I left, 18 people from Fosters have come to join me and we've got a good deal of work, including [some] that Foster bid for, too. But I have to say I do find this very sad."

Works' publisher confirmed yesterday, "Foster's do all the editing for that in-house"; but his office did not return my calls to explain.

* KRISTIN SCOTT Thomas is soon to be back on the big screen, playing the lead role in a new film written by the multi-award-winning novelist, William Boyd.

"It's called Man to Man ," Boyd tells Pandora about his first film-writing role since the critically acclaimed, if gruelling, 1999 movie, The Trench . "It's a 19th-century epic about two anthropologists who kidnap a pygmy in Africa and present it as the missing link back home in Edinburgh. It is the first English-language film by the French director, Régis Wargnier. The shoot was extremely arduous, and took 18 months. It isn't exactly going to be what you're used to seeing in the multiplex."

In the movie, due to be released next year, Scott Thomas plays Elena Van Den Ende.

The film also stars Joseph Fiennes, Hugh Bonneville and Peter Egan, who apparently "loved" the filming in Edinburgh - however arduous.

* AFTER RENOUNCING writing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival this month, Antony Sher has just announced he is writing a book.

As we reported two weeks ago, Sher said: "I was finding it very unrewarding writing novels that no one was reviewing, so I'm sticking to stage plays."

Now, however, Sher has agreed to write the story behind his one-man show, Primo.

Why the change of heart? Interestingly, Sher also confided at Cheltenham: "I've written one [play] and we had a reading that threw up some problems. So I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with that."

* THE GROUP of Labour MPs who call themselves The Old Testament Prophets has invited people to a Prophets' lunch next month to bid farewell to three old Labour stalwarts, Tam Dalyell, Alice Mahon and Brian Sedgemore, who are stepping down at the next election.

"The weight and quality of the guest list requires larger but still heavily subsidised contributions of £40," the invitation reads: "Cheap for History!"

Sadly, Dalyell is in bad health and won't be able to make the trip from Scotland. But is Tony Blair, who first observed that New Labour, "can trace its roots to the Old Testament Prophets" contributing to the weight and quality of the guest list?

"Oh no!" yelps an insider when I call. "He's certainly not invited!"

* Calls for a ban on smoking in public places have reminded the Tory MP Sir George Young of the days when he was at the forefront of debating the subject as a health minister in Margaret Thatcher's first administration. The debate seems to have moved on little since then.

"When I was a health minister, I took a tough line with the tobacco barons," he says. "I banned smoking at the meetings I held with them, and tried to get a health warning not just on cigarette packs, but on the cigarettes themselves.

"The barons resisted this; the ink, they asserted, contained substances that could damage the smoker's health."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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