Pandora: How Cotton thawed the icy Peaches

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The Independent Online

We hope Fearne Cotton hasn't bitten off more than she can chew with her series of documentaries for ITV2.

The perennially perky presenter has had her work cut out, filming one episode with the precious socialite Peaches Geldof. The word is that on-set relations were chilly. "Er... she is sort of chilly," Cotton responded when we quizzed her on the subject. "She can be quite awkward and she is not naturally good at meeting new people, but once I got there I found a real sweetheart. It took a little bit of time." Diplomatic.

Poliakoff ready for a stage encore

Get ready for a bidding war. Stephen Poliakoff is looking for a director to aid his return to the West End stage after a six-year hiatus. The revered scriptwriter was on the red carpet on Tuesday night to promote his new movie Glorious 39 at the British Film Festival, but revealed that another, rather different project is in the pipeline. "I've nearly finished a stage play," Poliakoff told Pandora. "It is a modern play. I never write a play to be commissioned, but we will see. When I get right to the end I'm going to flirt with directors and see who wants to be the first to read it."

Five-star reputation

Pandora's North Africa correspondent calls with news from Morocco. Apparently, quick-thinking stall-holders selling food at a Marrakech market have taken to crying out "safer than the Fat Duck; better than Heston Blumenthal" at British tourists. Is the chemically-minded chef aware of his global reputation? Apparently he knows the market well. My, how fame spreads (almost as fast as a Michelin-starred norovirus).

Up the wrong tree?

Sir Gerald Kaufman has a new cause on which to lavish his attention. We're told that the veteran Labour MP, after several unanswered letters of complaint to his local Tesco (layout problems, the usual sort of thing), has not only raised the matter in the House, but, rather wonderfully, added a new stipulation to his request: that a Christmas tree be erected outside, pronto. Pressing business only.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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