Pandora: From Four Weddings to Litvinenko the film

Much moustache twitching over at the Russian embassy, where officials are bracing themselves for a revival in the intrigue surrounding the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

The mysterious poisoning of the former KGB spy, which he blamed on the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is about to be made into a film – and Mike Newell, director of Four Weddings and A Funeral, has been called in to write and direct it.

The project is to be based on The Terminal Spy, the book by Alan Cowell, The New York Times' London bureau chief. At one stage Johnny Depp was rumoured to be producing it, though his involvement appears to have fallen by the wayside after Warner Brothers bought the film's rights from his company, Infinitum Nihil.

Newell's film isn't, in fact, the only Litvinenko project in the pipelines. Another, based on the banned book he sought to publish with historian Yuri Felshtinsky, is said to be underway.

Whether or not any officials from Litvinenko's home country plan to attend either's premiere remains to be seen.

"It doesn't sound interesting to us," snapped a spokesperson for the embassy. "People make films about whatever they like. It's not something for us to worry about."

Winner ensures he gets his 10 per cent

Hats off to Michael Winner – who has not only managed to have his personal hairdresser and make-up artist hired for his new TV series Michael Winner's Dining Stars, but has also

wheedled a commission out of ITV for finding a sponsor. Winner tells us he approached his friends at the insurance company eSure about the matter. "When I asked for a 15 per cent commission ITV first of all refused," he jokes. "We had some talks and they finally agreed after I dropped the percentage, but not by much!"

Bennett's head gives the silent treatment

Surely not! Alan Bennett appears to be suffering from a very specific form of writer's block. The playwright claims that, despite his best efforts, he has been unable to write any further segments of the famous Talking Heads series which made him a household name.

"They were all voices in my head," he said of the star-studded programme to an audience at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. "Thora Hird, Maggie Smith and the rest. I wrote them very quickly but I seem to have run out of voices.

"I simply can't do it any more. Believe me I've tried. I simply can't. I wish I could."

Alas, so do we!

Mirror men out to wind up Cameron wind-up duty

Top-level investigations at the Daily Mirror. We're told the Labour-supporting red-top has taken to stationing a reporter outside David Cameron's Notting Hill home with the aim of getting his goat before he heads to work. "Every morning he comes out three times," we are told. "The first to collect his milk and papers, and the second to take his children to school. The third time he's heading to work and that's when the questioning starts, not that he ever answers them." No doubt Andy Coulson, Cameron's thrusting spinner, is thrilled.

Hoult's keeping it all under his hat

We very much hope that Nicholas Hoult hasn't taken our recent reference to his "hemp-hatted debut in About A Boy" too seriously. "I didn't realise this was an event where they were taking photos!" exclaimed the young actor on arriving at Monday's launch of Sony PlayStation's new game, Heavy Rain. "I've come with my big woolly hat on." Hoult has been gathering plaudits for his role in A Single Man, the debut film from fashion designer Tom Ford. Clearly Ford's own sartorial standards have yet to rub off.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice