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?

pandora@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most