Pandora: Flatley lords it again

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The Independent Online

It might, as they say, be best to sit down. Michael Flatley – Irish jigster, sometime holder of the world record for taps per second, all too easily confused with Mick Hucknall – is making a comeback. More than that: he plans to rejoin Lord Of The Dance, the multimillion-pound tap-dancing monolith he founded in 1996.

The return comes after several years out of the limelight. After a bout of poor health, Flatley appeared briefly on the US television show Dancing With The Stars, and spends most of his time in America.

Indeed, the last time he performed in the UK the critics weren't kind (best not to mention "lard of the dance"). This shouldn't, we are assured, be a problem any more. "His weight is down to the same as he was back in 1998," says a spokesman. One minor hitch: Flatley was due to fly to the UK to promote his return in person. Unfortunately he's stranded in Los Angeles, thanks to the presence of a certain cloud.

Clare anxious to get her teeth in role

A quick note, now, to would-be contestants on this year's series of The Apprentice: a visit to the dentist might be in order. With Adrian Chiles now the property of ITV, attention has turned to finding a host for BBC2's weekly spin-off You're Fired. Topping the list of preferences, we are told, is regular guest Clare Balding. The BBC insist it's speculation."They want a woman and she loves the show," says our mole. Smile!

* Ubiquity has yet to aid Jamie Oliver's verbal control. On Christian O'Connell's Absolute Radio show, the chef recalled: "These German air hostesses asked, 'You will make cappuccino for the captain?' You know what Germans are like. I thought it might have been a sexual thing. Instead of doing it in cars, they might do it in planes." Strudel with that?

* Who knew the election would present such sartorial opportunities? No sooner does Alastair Stewart receive bids for the harlequin tie he sported during last week's election debate (Jaeger, natch), than Jon Snow decides to dump his. Unusually for the chameleonic news reader, he had pledged to don the same tricolour neckwear (£65 from Duchamp) every day until the election. Alas, no more. "The campaign tie has had to go," he announces. "I can't face it again."

Election tizz over the Fizz

An election video featuring Alastair Campbell, Nadine Dorries and Nigel Farage (among others) miming to Bucks Fizz's No 1 hit "Making Your Mind Up" caused titters in cyberspace yesterday. Whether or not it will encourage voters to cast their ballots remains to be seen. If not, Fizz member Jay Ashton has another suggestion: "I'd rip off my skirt," she tells Total Politics magazine. Cough.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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