Pandora: Palin's effort is in vain as Christie takes office

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The Independent Online

*One person who won't be cracking open the bubbly at the thought of the Republican Chris Christie taking office as Governor of New Jersey is Michael Palin, the English documentary maker and former Python (not to be confused with Sarah, beehived US vice-presidential candidate, of whom the former insists he is no relation).

Earlier this week, Palin complained vociferously after Christie used footage from an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus in his election campaign, telling various American news outlets it was an illegal infringement of his, and the much-loved comedy programme's other writers', copyright. The ad was hastily withdrawn. Still, despite the ensuing furore in the US press, Christie swept to victory in the East Coast State.

"Well, hopefully we reduced his majority somewhat," a disgruntled Palin, pictured, remarked yesterday. "We might take legal action now. We're still deciding what to do. "In one sense, we made our point and he removed the clip from his website pretty quickly. On the other hand, this guy is a lawyer, he must be aware of the law. George Bush made him a US attorney.

"That's what we've got the issue with: he didn't even approach us for permission. If he had, we would have said no! The Pythons are not Republican." You don't say!

Happy slappers? Not on our benches

*Whodunnit? Labour's Twitter tsar Kerry McCarthy has posted on her website an account of "shocking behaviour" by a "Tory grandee". "A knight of the realm," she says, "slapped a shocked female Labour MP firmly on her bottom" in the Commons tea room. The identities of both slapper and slappee remain a mystery, though surely not for long. Does this sort of thing happen frequently in Westminster, Pandora wonders? "Maybe in the Conservative section, but certainly not in ours," says McCarthy. "I couldn't believe it."

Ripley rustles up a career change

*Time for a new kitchen, Fay? Open plan, perhaps? Having already published one well-received cook book – and with another in the pipeline – the actress Fay Ripley claims to be considering a her own Nigella-style cookery show. "Lots of production companies are asking me and I am considering it," she told us at Tuesday's Red Hot Women Awards. "It is a bit of a no-brainer for them, really. I'd have to be comfortable though."

It's quite a leap from Cold Feet. Still, Ripley, is undaunted. "I think that when you're on the telly, people don't seem to notice or care what you were on telly for in the first place. I think you are allowed to have more than one job now."

Konnie fills in after Ken's cancellation

*No prizes for guessing why the Conservatives pulled the plug on Ken Clarke's planned appearance on the BBC's Daily Politics hours after the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, approved the Lisbon Treaty. At least the producers weren't too stuck for replacements. A pair of brown Hush Puppies was positioned on the set, complete with Churchillian cigar, in reverence to the absent Shadow business secretary. Oh, and former Blue Peter host Konnie Huq showed up too. Almost the same thing.

Iggy's got no lust for life insurance

*Iggy Pop left scraggly punk fans everywhere disappointed when he chose to star in an ad campaign for the online car insurance company Swiftcover. Some observers (less charitable than Pandora, of course) suggested the sweet workings of karma when it later emerged that the rock god himself couldn't get coverage from the company, which didn't cater for musicians. Still, Pop remains defiant. "Ha! I don't even carry life insurance," he tells us. "I don't need it man, you know, I got my own swag." No doubt.