Pandora: Plum feels the crunch

Plum Sykes's efforts to crack the potentially lucrative American TV market are in danger of falling victim to the credit crunch.

Earlier this year, I reported the transatlantic socialite had been enlisted by US network NBC to pen a Sex In the City-style sitcom called Mogulettes, a comedy about female tycoons.

Although Sykes is nearly ready to hand them a script for the pilot episode, she reckons it could be some time before her efforts bear fruit.

"I've almost finished writing it – but it's still early and these are very difficult times at the moment with the credit crunch," she tells me. "No one has any money for anything, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens. It's a really terrible time."

Intriguingly, Sykes has been looking at some of the leading female big hitters for inspiration.

"I wanted to see how, you know, Tamara Mellon or Ivanka Trump do it – running businesses and still being in the front row of Valentino," she says. "Though I couldn't possibly say if it's based on anyone in particular – I had to do lots and lots of interviews, all off the record. It's fiction, after all."

No festive cover for Gordon Brown

After yesterday's boast that he had "saved the world" from financial ruin, it appears Gordon Brown isn't comfortable handing over the reins of power during the Christmas break.

The Prime Minister was expected to take a few days off over the festive period, leaving one of his underlings in charge of the Government.

The most obvious candidate to fill in would be his loyal Scottish terrier, Alistair Darling, who took control in August while Brown visited the Suffolk seaside.

However, I am reliably informed that the Chancellor has yet to receive any orders from No 10 to cancel his Christmas leave. "If he plans for Alistair to take charge for a few days then he certainly hasn't told him yet," I'm informed. "As a result, most of his staff have already packed their bags and are planning to head back to Scotland next Thursday once the Commons gets up for Christmas."

Of course, it could be that Brown has earmarked Labour's haughty deputy leader (though conspicuously not the Government's Deputy Prime Minister) Harriet Harman for the responsibility.

She was placed in charge towards the end of July, and immediately insisted upon a wish list of demands which included late-night briefings on the next day's headlines.

Her diva-like demands reportedly prompted the Permanent Secretary at No 10, Jeremy Heywood, to tell his groaning staff: "I know guys, please do not shoot the messenger."

Blur reunion comes under party political pressure

Blur's much-vaunted return performance next July potentially threatens the political ambitions of the band's carrot-topped drummer, Dave Rowntree.

Rowntree has been selected to stand for the Labour Party for the Cities of London and Westminster parliamentary seat at the next general election.

This could prove awkward if, as has recently been mooted, Gordon Brown decides to call a snap election in the early part of next summer.

If that happens, Rowntree could be forced to make a painful choice between pursuing his budding political career and trousering the hefty financial windfall that will inevitably come his way with the group's reunion.

In any case, Rowntree is also currently studying to be a barrister. So I hope he keeps up with his homework between band practices.

Nixon fondly remembered

Who should Pandora bump into at a recent screening of Ron Howard's big screen adaptation of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon, than the eternally bubbly socialite, Victoria Aitken.

Aitken, 28-year-old daughter of the colourful former Tory minister Jonathan, told me she had been particularly keen to catch the flick, which dramatises the series of televised interviews Richard Nixon granted to David Frost.

Apparently, she once shared a touching encounter with "Tricky Dicky" during her formative years.

"I actually remember him from when I was a little girl," she said. "He used to bounce me up and down on his knee."

George returns to Russian culture

After all the controversy surrounding his meetings with a Russian oligarch in Corfu over the summer, George Osborne's appearance at Tuesday's opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum's Magnificence of the Tsars exhibition seemed perhaps a just little close to the knuckle.

"I'm just a big supporter of the V&A, that's all," he told Pandora.

"There's nothing to be read into it at all. It's a very interesting exhibition."

Who bought all the pies?

Members of the Cabinet were greeted with a bulging tray of mince pies at Tuesday morning's Cabinet meeting.

"We weren't told who'd bought them," said one senior Cabinet member. "It certainly wasn't Gordon's idea. He was surprised as the rest of us."

Not that the PM was tucking in, mind. Mrs B has apparently had him on a strict diet since his pilates-filled summer hols.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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