Pandora: Phillips waltzes away with kids' book deal

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The Independent Online

Ever since Arlene Phillips was unceremoniously dumped from Strictly Come Dancing in favour of that renowned dancing authority, Alesha Dixon, she hasn't put a dainty jazz slipper wrong.

She went on to become a judge on BBC One's So You Think You Can Dance, landed a spot as the Government's "dance tsar", and is rumoured to be poised for a crowd-pleasing return to the Strictly panel.

Now we're told the glamorous choreographer is to turn her hand to something new. She has been offered an undisclosed amount to pen a series of children's books for Faber and Faber, with the first two instalments of the dance-centric stories available just in time for Christmas.

Curiously, the books' central character, a young girl who is "mad about dancing," is to be named Alana – the very same as Phillips's elder daughter. As for whether or not another character, named after Phillips's younger daughter, Abi, will feature remains to be seen; Phillips declined Pandora's invitation to say. Let's hope it isn't the source of too much sibling rivalry.

Dame Judi joins park protesters

The protest against plans to erect a giant screen in Regents Park during the World Cup has found itself a new poster girl. None other than Dame Judi Dench is backing the movement, which has already claimed support from Sir Simon Jenkins and Sue MacGregor. Dench has written to Boris Johnson to voice her concerns. Let's hope her pleas don't fall on deaf ears; last night City Hall has only just become aware of the letter's arrival.

Beauties' wisdom falls flat

It's the revolt of the White Van Man. Shrewd observers may have noted that The Sun's page three "lovelies" have, in recent weeks, been airing notably high-brow views in the daily "News In Briefs" section (sample quote: "Greece's budget deficit of 12.7 per cent is fiscally unsustainable. The government fell for the myth of European monetary standardisation and the Acropolis is facing apocalypse now.") Apparently the shift up a gear from the usual hasn't, we're told, gone down too well with the feature's regular readers. "The phone's been ringing off the hook," confides our source (Danni, 23, from London).

Jagger set for Glastonbury

Er, not that one. Rather Sir Mick's lesser-known brother Christopher, who, complete with acoustic accompaniment, will be providing musical entertainment in the surrounds of Glastonbury's Hawthorn Hotel, Bar and Restaurant tonight. Not exactly the Pyramid Stage – though you do get a free Creole meal thrown into the £25 ticket price. Bargain!