Pandora: BBC's Prix is not right for Murray

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The Independent Online

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone may claim that moving the sport from ITV to the BBC won't harm its coverage, but others in the racing world aren't so sanguine.

Veteran pundit Murray Walker – who worked at both stations during 52 years as a Grand Prix commentator, and is about to release a DVD – tells me he's less than confident about the Corporation's ability to live up to its rival's standard.

"ITV devoted a lot more time to Formula One than the BBC ever did and they did an absolutely superb job," says Walker.

"One thing that's clear is that the BBC hasn't got the rights back as a result of competition. They will have a hard furrow to plough to even match the ITV coverage."

Despite having spent most of his career working for the Beeb, Walker insists that when he moved to ITV, he noticed several major improvements in the way the sport was treated.

"The last time the BBC had it they didn't appreciate how important it was. They didn't devote the right people and facilities.

"ITV spent a great deal on those rights and they made the most of them. They made sure they had the right people, they brought in experts – people like Tony Jardine. They devoted a lot more time than the BBC ever did."

Jake does not believe in Marriage

Something tells me Jake Chapman might want to work on his marketing skills.

Better known as one half of Brit Art's rebellious duo, the Chapman Brothers, he is currently performing the hard sell on a solo project: his debut novel, The Marriage Of Love And Squalor.

Or not, as the case may be.

During a promotional talk at Foyles, Chapman went out of his way to emphasise the strong points of his work.

Explaining the book to art historian Tim Marlow, he observed: "Reading it is rather like sucking a lemon. What I've done is use a terminal misuse of metaphor, making it very difficult for the book to be understood.

"I've always been turgid, dark and venturing on the suicidal with controversial themes. This is no exploration into something spontaneous, fresh and bouncy, and if someone's thinking that's what it is, they shouldn't read the book. Actually, maybe no one should read it at all? Yes, don't read it."

Sounds like a real page-turner, Jake.

Kim heads into the interior

It seems that an unlikely career move is in store for Kimberly Stewart, daughter of kitten-heeled rocker Rod. The leggy socialite tells me that she hopes to add a further suffix to her already-lengthy job description of heiress-model-actress-TV presenter.

"Actually, I'm hoping to go into interior design," she enthuses. "I moved to London a while ago and have been doing up my new place. I got really into it and now I'm thinking that it's something I should like to do more of in the future."

While it's unclear how the nation's design community feels about the added competition, Pandora suspects they're not quaking in their boots.

Backing away from the Leader

People with whom one wouldn't wish to be associated: Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and quite probably, Gary Glitter.

Pandora can't help but feel a twinge of sympathy for the disgraced rocker's erstwhile backing band the Glitter Band. Contemplating a comeback album, the diamante-studded quintet are distancing themselves from their former leader. In an interview with music website The Quietus, they attack Glitter as a prima donna, moaning: "He insisted on staying in a hotel while the band shared bunk beds behind the stage. We've not spoken to Gary for 30 years. And we have to speak about him: the tabloids ring all the time."

UKIP sniping over Kilroy's exploits

He's only been in there for a day, but already Robert Kilroy-Silk's presence on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is causing backbiting in Brussels. Members of the vociferous MEP's former party, UKIP, are doing their best to make sure Kilroy doesn't profit from his TV exploits.

One asked: "As he will not be in Parliament, I wonder if he will give his wage and allowances to a suitable charity?"

Paxman playing up the theatrical

Jeremy Paxman's rapid-fire questioning has won him a spot as one of the BBC's most generously paid journalists, but one person it fails to impress is his former colleague Valerie Singleton. Of his talent for voluble enunciation, she tells me: "I always wanted to say 'look Jeremy, it's all right – they're just sitting in their lounges, not at the back of the theatre', but it wasn't really up to me."