Pandora: Life Swap: Dorries does a Portillo

When Michael Portillo swapped the "reasonably rich" life of a former cabinet minister for the hard graft of a single mum as part of a BBC TV documentary, he won over viewers with a hitherto-unseen sensitive side.

Pandora very much hopes that the same fate awaits Nadine Dorries. We hear that the biscuit-loving Tory MP - recently embroiled in a legal battle with former Labour spinners Derek Draper and Damian McBride over emailed smear allegations - is soon to embark on a similar challenge for Channel 4, swapping her life in a genteel suburb in her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency for one alongside a struggling family in east London.

Quite why Ms Dorries, whose not inconsiderable expenses claims attracted widespread attention earlier this year, has agreed to put herself up for what could be a potentially rather humiliating task remains to be seen; Portillo waited until leaving office before he took the gamble.

Still, the result should prove entertaining. Dorries, as well as having her family interviewed, will sit a series of psychological assessments for the programme. No doubt the Labour backbenches are already prepping their punch lines.

Ding dong! Harman's festive treat

More on Ben Westwood's Christmas carolling plans. The photographer (son of Dame Vivienne), who has promised to pay Harriet Harman a festive visit, tells me he has chosen "Ding Dong Merrily on High" for the occasion. Westwood will croon the song while driving a lorry dressed as Father Christmas with four latex-clad models as backing singers. The move is to protest against plans to restrict the performance of burlesque dancing. "All oppressive regimes have been sexually puritanical," explains Westwood. Watch out!

Viva Africa: Nancy plays away

Hold the back page! Word reaches us of momentous changes afoot in the inner bunker of the England World Cup team.

Nancy Dell'Olio, vampish ex-squeeze of the former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson (not to mention Baden-Baden cheerleader-in-chief), tells us that, when it comes to next year's World Cup, she won't be cheering on the three lions.

Neither, for that matter, will she be supporting her native Italy. "I'm going to support one of the African teams," Dell'Olio, pictured, told us at the Score4Africa awards.

"I actually think Italy are one of the few teams who are in with a chance, but I am hoping for an African winner."

A treat for the bureaucrats

Pandora's first celebrity Christmas card of the season has arrived – in the thoroughly reliable (if not a little dull) form of an eCard. It comes from Sandie Shaw, presumably grateful for our dedicated coverage of her campaigns against the bureaucracy of the European Union (Shaw launched a name-and-shame service of the most unhelpful MEPs).

"What's in your stocking this season?" asks a teasing photo of Sandie pictured scantily clad circa 1964. How many, we wonder, winged their way over to Brussels?

£10 special? Ah, maybe not...

All together now: Ping! Pandora mentioned last week the harassment of Labour MPs and their staff at the hands of party organisers attempting to round up the herds for a, ahem, "voluntary" staff training day. At last count, they were on round-robin number six. Still, the tide has not stemmed. We're told that several more cajoling emails have been sent ahead of tomorrow's event. A day's worth of office-speak and a sandwich... all for the modest price of £10. How could anyone resist?

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little