Pandora: MPs bowled over by Boycott

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The Independent Online

Volcanologists rushed to Westminster yesterday morning to monitor the eruption of Mount Geoffrey. Like any greatest-living Yorkshireman, Boycott is rarely short of an opinion, or six. Yesterday, he submitted adoring MPs and peers to a puce tirade about the craven failure to screen live Test cricket on terrestrial channels.

Boycs arrived at Committee Room 7, 45 minutes late, blue boater perched on head, to address an ad-hoc gathering of parliamentary fans. "How will our young cricketers get to see their cricketing heroes – Pietersen and Flintoff – if they are not on terrestrial?" said the delicate wallflower, adding that he had been in to the BBC to discipline the director of sport, Roger Mosey, over the corporation's decision to pay £200m to cover Formula 1 and not cricket. "That's bollocks!"

McCloud prepares for Swampy-style showdown

Perish the thought of egg-skulled Kevin McCloud being chased from his prefab cabin by shovel-wielding villagers aboard ride-on diggers.

The Grand Designs presenter faces a local revolt over his plans to build two eco-estates in picturesque Wiltshire, near Swindon. His company HAB – which stands for Happiness, Architecture, Beauty – seemingly needs to serve up a bit more of the happiness and the beauty.

McCloud has spent £500,000 on surveys and public consultation, but residents at Pickards Field seem strangely unenthused by plans to erect 200 homes outside their windows.

"The bungalows would be directly in front of my house," Syd Jackson told McCloud at a fractious public meeting. "I wouldn't be happy."

Chris Pailor chipped in with concerns about McCloud's "green" credentials: "I worry about them chopping the trees back in the forest to make way for this road near my house." He has had enough. Eddie Fiore, meanwhile, laid the blame for any future road accidents: "Many kids use the sports field. Accidents could happen if a road was positioned there." For once, McCloud had no harsh riposte.

He says he will push ahead; he wants to end the "bog-standard houseburger" design favoured by other developers. "There are always concerns and objections with any project," says his spokesman. "We hope to have a planning application in by August." The saga is being filmed for Channel 4 so can we look forward to Swampy-style protests?

Even Bernie can't avoid a little prang

Just 10 days after the Brazilian racing driver Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton, hit a stray dog on the track in Istanbul – the hound was "killed on impact", according to one euphemistic report – Pandora hears that the Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has suffered his own pootling prang.

"I was driving over the Hogarth Roundabout in Chiswick [west London]," says my man in the leather gloves and flying goggles, "when I nearly lost it. Bent over by the side of the road was little Bernie, 77, next to his car, an Aston Martin with personalised plates. He'd had a collision with a moped. The rider was off and Bernie was out of the car looking at the damage, with some woman I presume was his missus." That would be the Croatian 6ft 2in former model Slavica.

The excursion must have been a treat for Slavica: her 5ft 4in husband has commented that women "should wear white, like a domestic appliance, and shouldn't be allowed out. You don't take the washing machine out of the house, do you?"

Having amassed a £2.4bn fortune, Ecclestone can stretch to a paint job.

Mariella's mop makes Hay

Try not to choke on your Kendal Mint Cake: the "Matrix Chambers QC specialising in Employment and Human Rights", Cherie Booth (not Cherie Blair, as used to sell her book), will lecture on "Women's Equality: Making your way in a man's world" at the Hay literary festival on Saturday.

Cherie charged the Labour Party £7,700 in 2005 for her £275-a-day election hairdos by Mayfair stylist Andre Suard. Perhaps she has been dispensing advice to the aromatic TV presenter Mariella Frostrup, who will front a daily Hay round-up for SkyArts. Pandora's Brecon Beacons correspondent, in Hay's Genesis hair salon with curlers in, reports: "Peter Florence, the Hay Festival founder, walked in and asked the boss if she would be Mariella's personal stylist, seeing to her tresses every day." Who can argue it won't be money well spent.

Cabinet balls

Her Majesty's Government will be represented at tonight's all-English European Champions League final in Moscow by the footy-mad Culture Secretary Andy Burnham and Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

The pair will fly in on a commercial flight but mercifully will not be herded off by Russia's dreaded Omon riot police, to be quarantined with other supporters in the segregated, alcohol-free "fan gulags" until kick-off.

"We are guests of UEFA and they are there on official business," says a Culture Department spokesman. Corporate hospitality! Everton fan Burnham must behave and not invade the pitch, as he did during an FA Cup semi-final aged 14. The Manchester United-supporting Sutcliffe, on the other hand, may not be able to contain himself if his beloved team vanquish Chelsea.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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