Pandora: Expenses scandal hits the Beeb's newsroom

What's this? While BBC editors work themselves into a lather over MPs' expenses, a tale of excess from within their own ranks.

Pandora hears that rumblings of discontent are echoing across the Corporation's newsrooms, after the world news editor Jon Williams, and head of news gathering, Fran Unsworth, decided to oversee cost-cutting measures in the Washington bureau – including, apparently, several redundancies – by taking the highly economical step of flying across the Atlantic, at tax payers' expense, and personally informing the guillotine-ready staff of their individual fates.

"The purpose was to manage important staff restructuring taking place," explains a spokesman. "And to do face-to-face appraisals."

Sceptical hacks at the Beeb, however, are wondering about more recreational motives. Surely the decision couldn't have anything to do with the fact that – the very same week that the pair were due to fly over – President Obama was hosting the illustrious annual White House correspondents dinner? Pandora would never be so cynical. Incidentally, though, we gather that both Williams and Unsworth felt "obliged" to attend.

O'Leary bags some swag

A lesson in credit crunch survival at Tuesday night's Glamour Awards, courtsey of one Dermot O'Leary.

No longer facing the prospect of a well-employed summer of Big Brother, the resourceful presenter was nevertheless to be seen scrabbling under the table in search of an extra goodie bag.

"It isn't ours, but we're taking it anyway!" he boasted, when his efforts were finally rewarded.

A risqué send-off for Jacqui

In characteristically flamboyant style, Ben Westwood – the photographer son of Dame Vivienne – was to be found yesterday celebrating Jacqui Smith's departure with a glass of champagne at East London's Bodhi Gallery.

Of course, Smith and Westwood are old foes: he greeted her legislation banning "extreme pornography" by sending a parade of barely-clad chain-bound models through central London. "One down, a few to go," he cheered of the Home Secretary.

Remarkably prescient, in the event.

Jaime warms up for rock 'n' roll debut

Soon to complete that enviable showbiz trio, actress-musician-model, is Jaime Winstone, star of Kidulthood and girlfriend of Alfie Allen.

The talented sprite tells us she is to make her debut with her new band at a mystery location. Also in attendance: mumbling substance-abuser Pete(r) Doherty.

Can we expect a duet? We'll have to wait and see.

"It's in a couple of weeks' time," says a bashful Winstone. "I'm really excited about it."

Cash for crisis? Ray begs for help

Desperate measures from the Labour Party's Ray Collins ahead of today's inevitably disastrous poll.

The wipe-out fearing General Secretary has sent out a last-minute appeal to members, asking them to donate to a fund for printing anti-BNP leaflets.

Pleads Collins: "We literally have hours left... Donating £15 now lets us print an extra 1,000 leaflets."

pandora@independent.co.uk

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