Pandora: A royal scandal... Queen's composer takes on MPs

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Honourable Members, form an orderly queue here (and remember to get a receipt with your ice cream): you are soon to have your very own opera, courtesy of none other than Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, pictured, Master of the Queen's Music.

Following in the footsteps of recently appointed Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy – whose first official poem attacked the political corruption in the wake of the expenses scandal – the Queen's personal composer has decided to put together a "comic opera" on the subject.

"Like everybody else I'm outraged over the extent and depth of the MPs' expenses claims," explained Sir Peter at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney. "I am registering and expressing my disgust the best way I can – through my music."

"I may even invite a few MPs to the opening night – they will of course want free tickets, but be able to claim them on expenses for some fictitious fee!

"These people are a public disgrace and deserve to be publicly disgraced on stage. The bankers are also in for a rough ride in the work too."

Hitchens brothers go head to head

*Could Christopher Hitchens be in for some familial competition? Pandora hears that atheism's most active recruitment officer is to come up against his own brother in the God debate.

Peter Hitchens, a firm Christian and columnist for the Mail on Sunday, has been approached to pen a book on the subject and is sounding out ideas with a publisher. If all goes according to plan, the book could take on his brother's God is Not Great. Let's hope the clash doesn't cause too much awkwardness at the next family reunion.

Jude takes another Miller to Wimbledon

Last time Pandora caught up with Jude Law at Wimbledon, he had his former fiancée Sienna Miller nestled on his lap.

Not so yesterday. We ran into the actor, currently receiving iffy reviews for his Hamlet, enjoying the luxury in Evian's VIP tent in the company of another Miller: old friend Jonny Lee, ex-husband of Angelina Jolie.

Jonny's about to start a run on Broadway opposite – of all people – Jude's Sienna with whom, we're told, he will share several on-stage clinches.

Judging from his spot at Jude's side yesterday, the development has yet to cause any problems for the friendship.

Boulton gets a little carried away

*Pandora's not one to mind a bit of red-blooded debate, but even we were surprised to hear Adam Boulton exercising his very best French during this weekend's Sunday Live. Is this Sky's attempt to woo a younger audience?

Apparently not. Yesterday Boulton was forced to apologise via his blog: "My presenter's microphone was left open when I was having a somewhat heated discussion about an aspect of internal editorial policy," he explains. "I would like to make an unconditional apology to any viewer I offended."

Mariella sticks up for the autocuties

*Traditionalists, watch out. The ever-feisty Mariella Frostrup has waded into the debate on newsreaders, shooting down Peter Sissons after he became the latest to moan about the proliferation of photogenic females in TV newsrooms. "(He) proves yet again that the most dangerous aspect of the job is the threat of broadsides from jealous colleagues," Frostrup fumes in the Radio Times. "Instead of highlighting attitudes that suggest he might be better off retiring, a far more justifiable target would be the insidious ageism that continues."