No-holds-barred biography unearths Agatha's secrets

After almost 80 years of speculation, we are going to be told just what happened to Agatha Christie, pictured, when she disappeared in 1926 - and a lot more besides.

Laura Thompson, who has written a bestselling biography of the Mitford sisters, is working on a new life of the author, with the blessing of Christie's notoriously protective family.

Matthew Prichard, the crime-writer's grandson, has agreed that Thompson will be permitted to have full access to all her papers, including letters dealing with her private life, which have never been seen before.

"I think it is fair to say that there are certain things that I have been given access to that will cast light on her private life in new ways," the biographer tells me.

"I'm not exactly official, so there's no question of the family's having control, but they seem to trust me to do a fair job. I'm not setting out to be controversial, but I fully intend to tackle where she went in 1926, and to deal with all the questions of lesbianism and suchlike."

The book will be the first with which the family has agreed to co-operate since the whitewash provided by an authorised version by Janet Morgan 20 years ago.

The new biography, Thompson hints, "will be rather different from that."

* The creators of Little Britain have suffered a sense of humour failure in their dealings with the producer of the third series, Jeff Posner.

David Walliams, left, and Matt Lucas, far left, have been credited as the writers of both series one and two of their hit television comedy show, but now find that Posner wants to share the writing credit.

"It's not that Jeff Posner is belittling their work, but he wants an 'additional writing' credit on the end of the series," I am told.

"Likewise, it's not as though David and Matt don't recognise the contribution that Jeff makes as producer, but they aren't happy that he should also be credited for writing the material."

The stand-off continues. However, a BBC spokesman was keen to play down differences when Pandora called yesterday.

"I haven't heard about this, so I can only say that it is a matter between David and Matt and Jeff," I am told.

* The cockney film-maker Nick Love wants to set the record straight about his decision to have one Georgina Chapman as the leading lady in his new film, The Business. Chapman, right, has little acting experience, but happens to be the girlfriend of one of Hollywood's most powerful men, Harvey Weinstein.

"The story is this," he says, at the Edinburgh Film Festival. "She walked into the casting room and we thought, we fancy this girl rotten. She pictures so well that even if she's not going to deliver such a good performance as the other girls we considered, she will still light up the film. It wasn't until a few days into filming that she told us, because Harvey was coming out to visit her."

This must be some consolation, at least, to the young ladies who didn't get Chapman's part, including Mena Suvari.

It is good to see that with Downing Street telling us that Tony Blair will be back from his holiday "very shortly", John Prescott's office is still concentrating on important matters of state.

* Within minutes of Pandora's story of last week landing on his desk, the Deputy PM had instructed a lackey to ring me up to insist that Mr Prescott does not - contrary to the belief of the cartoonist Steve Bell - wear a hairpiece.

"It's Alan from JP's office here. I'm just calling to state categorically that the Deputy Prime Minister doesn't wear a wig," I was informed.

Hair has always been a sensitive subject in the Prescott family. Back in 1999, Prescott was criticised for being chauffered a few hundred yards at the Labour party conference, and explained: "My wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about."

* The chairman of the high-street clothing retailer Next, Mr David Jones, has generously invited me to a party to celebrate the launch of his imaginatively titled autobiography, Next to Me.

The invitation - and it's a pretty impressive one, on splendidly shimmering gold card - arrived, however, without a stamp, leaving poor old Pandora to pay 21p for second-class postage - and a fine of £1.

A spokesman didn't apologise, but said that it was probably a mistake, rather than penny-pinching. Still, you can't imagine Philip Green making his guests stump up £1.21 for invitations to any party of his.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all