Pandora: Marr loses modesty for good of the nation

  • @tompeck

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, there is only one thing worse than seeing the BBC's Andrew Marr in a 1930s-style bathing suit, and that's seeing him out of one. Try not to imagine then the scene on a Skegness beach as the aurally embellished former political editor filmed a piece for his forthcoming History of Modern Britain series.

"I was doing my piece to camera and I heard the director saying: 'Nipple slippage,'" he told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

"Now, if you are a chap wearing trunks at the beach no one complains about your nipples, by and large. But if you are wearing a one-piece bathing suit with little straps coming down from your shoulders over your chest which are not in quite the right place it is slightly unsettling.

"I did a stupid thing at this point and tugged it up. I immediately noticed a female researcher, aghast. She turned her head, covered her face with her hand and with the other hand pointed at my crotch saying 'Slight undercarriage problem.'"

It was at this point that an indispensable piece of camera equipment was summoned: gaffer tape.

"It was the most unpleasant thing that has ever happened to me while filming – having my undercarriage dealt with by gaffer tape," says Marr. "The things you do for your country!"

Having a ball with charity funds

Yes councillor, you shall go to the ball! So it's not just MPs with creative accountancy skills? A former mayor has been suspended for six months after she asked businesses for money to sponsor the outfit she intended to wear to a charity ball she had organised. Bertha Joseph, a councillor in Brent, north London, who was rapturously received by the Tories when she defected from Labour in 2007, says there was nothing dishonest in her actions but has been suspended for breaching the members’ code of conduct. Where's a fairy godmother when you need one?

It's official: no names in Poll's book

After famously writing Croatian Josip Simunic's name in his book three times in the same match at the 2006 World Cup, it seems referee Graham Poll, now retired, remains unable to put his pen down. Currently publicising his second book, this one on famous World Cup footballing controversies, Pandora overhears whispers in the Wembley stands on Wednesday, confirming his first foray into the world of fiction.

"It's about corruption in football," he told a friend. "Of course, people will ask the question about how much of it is based on life." We call to ask that very question, and have the whisperings confirmed, but our enquiries as to the real-life inspiration for such a subject are nonchalantly waved away.

George heads into the sunset

No sooner than The Sun backs David Cameron, its political editor is backing his caravan out of the office car park. George Pascoe-Watson, whose colleagues once signed him up to the Caravan Club under an offensive moniker, has quit the paper after 22 years, to become a partner at Portland PR. "I'm looking forward to using my experience to help Portland's clients make sense of a new political and media age," he said. He joins, amongst others, Michael Portillo on the payroll of the firm, whose client list includes Google and Kofi Annan.

Cocker misses his chance to get foxy

As Gorgeous George swept past the press at the premiere of Fantastic Mr Fox on Wednesday, it was a relief not to see Jarvis Cocker belly dancing behind him. The Pulp frontman, who provides the voice of a mandolin-playing puppet in the Roald Dahl adaptation, has just spent an interesting week in Paris. "We took over an art gallery and provided some music for a belly-dancing workshop," he tells us. Not something you want to see? Then steer clear of the streets of Shoreditch, east London, where Cocker et al will soon be repeating the project.