Pandora: David's insurance gamble

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The Independent Online

David Beckham chose to relax over the weekend by throwing his tattoo-splattered body off Auckland harbour bridge.

The former England captain plunged 134ft on a bungee rope during his side LA Galaxy's off-season visit to New Zealand.

All jolly japes, I'm sure, but just how happy were his employers about it?

It's a widely reported fact that Becks has taken out a huge premium on his legs, which apparently insures them for £35m. Whether that insures his precious gams from getting injured during such daredevil antics, however, is another matter.

If any harm had come to Beckham, it's likely his club would have been left to pick up his astronomical wage bill while their most valuable asset sat on the sidelines.

"It all depends on the contract, but I do know that a number of football clubs don't even allow their players to partake in winter sports," says one insurance expert. "Of course, it's all down to the wording of the contract, but, by and large, policies tend to not to cover them for indulging in daft acts."

Brundle mauls chef's missing formula

Martin Brundle has managed to keep his job as television's "voice" of Formula One, after the BBC decided to invite him over from ITV to front next season's coverage.

I fancy, however, that the former racing driver is unlikely to receive any such generous offers from London's Grosvenor House Hotel, where he was a guest at Sunday night's Autosport Awards. The awards are the annual end-of-season bash attended by the great and the good of motor racing, which this year included Lewis Hamilton and Sir Stirling Moss.

After arriving on stage to present one of the night's awards, Brundle proceeded to lay into the prestigious Mayfair hotel's catering staff.

"I'm still picking the lamb out of my teeth," he complained to the 800-strong audience. "Wasn't that the worst meal we've ever been served at the Grosvenor House?"

A spokesman for the hotel graciously refused to return fire on Brundle yesterday, but said the chef would like to get in touch with him.

"We serve over 300,000 people at the hotel each year, which we'd like to think is in no small part down to the quality of the food," she says. "Sadly, there can be an occasion when it might not be up to someone's personal standard. However, we would like to get in touch with Mr Brundle and speak to him about it."

If not, Brundle will just have to let them make it up to him at next year's bash. I'm sure they'll remember him.

Cheryl's no Vogue walk-out

Someone out there really isn't too happy about Vogue's decision to allow Tyneside pop poppet Cheryl Cole to grace its hallowed cover.

This week's Heat magazine includes a catty little tale from "a source" which claims the comely star wasn't happy with her photo shoot with the glossy style bible and ended up storming out early.

Vogue's publishers Condé Nast angrily denied the story yesterday, whilst a spokesman for Cole claimed the story has been "doing the rounds" for the past week but is total piffle.

"She did not walk out, in fact she absolutely loved the shoot," I'm told. "I don't know where the story has come from. It's been around for a bit. It's completely untrue."

Jon goes from TV to tipple

A signal honour for Jon Snow, whose local boozer, the Torriano in Kentish Town, north London, has recently created a cocktail in his honour. It's apparently a reward for the Channel 4 newsreader's help in preventing property developers from building flats above the pub.

In case you're interested, the "Jon Snow" is a heady mix of vodka, mango juice and mango liqueur, topped off with a squirt of cream and a raspberry. Chin Chin!

Greek knees-up put on hold

The anti-police rioting that's currently causing chaos across Greece is taking its toll on London's social calendar.

The Greek Tourist Office was due to throw open its doors last night for a swanky celebration of its recent refurbishment. In the light of domestic commotion, however, the festivities have been put on hold and all guests – including the Greek ambassador – temporarily uninvited. "We don't know when it's happening," said a spokesman, "It depends on the situation."

Buckley catches up with Cowell

Further to my story that Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was experiencing a renewed wave of downloads, I notice it has come in at number 30 in Sunday's download chart. If it stays popular, it could prove an embarrassment for this year's X Factor winner who will be recording the song in a bid to be the Christmas number one.