Pandora: Crunch time in the kitchen

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The Independent Online

Jade Goody, Jordan, Ulrika Jonsson, Lady Isabella Hervey, Peter Kay... Will the chef and human bog brush Gary Rhodes be next to tread the sweaty footsteps of the celebrity fitness film studio?

Rhodes, who has had his hair cut shorter in a possible attempt to less resemble a lavatory accoutrement, will be 48 in three weeks. He seems keen to press home his zinging state of health, claiming to rise at 4.30am, six mornings a week, and head down to his basement gym for a 60-minute "daily hit" upper body workout. "It's an addiction, no question," he tells Men's Health magazine. "This is my drug." Before Christmas he informed another interviewer: "My main exercise is abdominals – this morning I did 150 but that's because I was rushed. Normally I do between 200 and 300." Nurse, the Ritalin!

So, Honourable Member, should you be paid more?

Rub together your thumb and index finger – that's right, play the world's smallest violin. Within a few weeks, we should know how hard done by MPs feel.

The Commons' Members Estimate Committee, which is currently reviewing all salaries and allowances paid to our elected representatives, has commissioned an opinion research company, Hay Group Insight, to anonymously question MPs about their wonga. All 646 of them have been sent a link to an online survey.

To what extent do your staff help you? How many hours do you work each week? Have you suffered from (please tick each that applies) your integrity being impugned in a public way; hate mail; verbal abuse; physical threat to your security; actual physical attack or harm? If you had not become an MP, how much do you think you would be better off by (pre-tax): up to £20k pa; £20-24k; £41-60k; £61-80; over £81k pa? Should MPs' staff be employed by the House, not by the member?

There does not appear to be a question covering employment of relatives.

Derek Conway, whose expenses chits led in part to the inquiries, was unavailable last night to disclose whether or not he will complete the survey. Pandora was leaked the link and will, in case Conway cannot find time to respond, take a moment to answer the questions "in his style".

The Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, chairs the Members' Estimate Committee but is not leading the MPs' pay review, which is considering a 50 per cent rise in place of expenses.

Hollywood pillow talk: Fallon flogs book to Jen

Ricky Gervais, directing his first movie, This Side Of The Truth, which is set in "a world where no one has had the ability to lie – until now", will soon have company in his endeavour to crack Hollywood. The comic's long-term partner Jane Fallon yesterday secured a big-screen adaptation of her novel, Getting Rid Of Matthew.

The film will be shot by Jennifer Aniston's new production company Echo Films, which has acquired the rights. Fallon, an established television producer, is to work on the screenplay about a personal assistant who has a lengthy fling with her older boss – only for him to leave his wife and suddenly become less attractive.

Interviewed last year, Fallon joked: "I harbour ambitions for the Hollywood adaptation, and for Harrison Ford or Michael Douglas as the married man – although Bill Nighy would be great." Can't think why it appealed to Aniston.

Sven's home ground

Having earned so much from the Football Association for sitting around in his Y-fronts watching Quincy, it is pleasing to see Sven-Goran Eriksson splash out on a few comforts.

The Swede enjoys life as a man of leisure. Nine months into his managership of Manchester City, Eriksson has not found a house and remains ensconced, à la Alan Partridge, at the city's Radisson Edwardian hotel. Sven now refers to his £1,500-a-night, 14th-floor "Valentino" suite (marble bathroom, balcony) as "home". He particularly likes the cleaning regime and drinking afternoon tea with fellow guests.

Sven watchedhis former England team lose 1-0 to France last week with room service just a telephone call away. "I watched it on the TV at home," he says, suggesting no immediate plans to move.

Terminal lie

"Dear Mr [Journalist]. We are weeks away from the opening of Terminal 5, and I wanted to share with you the excitement we feel at British Airways. You'll find one of the Terminal's major attributes is its total air of calm. This was one of our main objectives, a place where you can feel relaxed and completely at ease at all times..."

* Slurp. Grassroots Labour Party staff have been called to the barricades to keep out Boris Johnson. "Come along and help to re-elect Ken Livingstone for his third term as London's mayor," urges an email. There is a telephone canvassing tutorial tomorrow. "Ken hopes to join us and there will naturally be a trip to the pub. Refreshments will be provided." Naturally! Cough medicine, Mr Mayor?

pandora@independent.co.uk

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