Pandora: Plum new sitcom for Sykes

There is more to the literary prowess of Transatlantic socialite Plum Sykes than we previously believed.

Or so NBC thinks, anyway. I hear the US broadcasting giant has enlisted Sykes to develop a new Sex And The City-type show called Mogulettes, a comedy about female tycoons.

It'll be Sykes's second stab at cracking the potentially lucrative US TV market. Three years ago, the online network WB began developing an adaptation of her novel Bergdorf Blondes, but decided to can it shortly afterwards.

Financial Times critic struggles to get into character

The relationship between theatrical journalists and performers can be fractious at the best of times, but here's a tale from the Edinburgh Festival which takes it to a new level.

Over the weekend, Financial Times arts journalist Ian Shuttleworth was in the audience for a performance of The Factory, a controversial play depicting life in a Nazi concentration camp, which relies heavily on audience participation.

The audience's "part" is to play the inmates. Early on in the show, they're subjected to verbal abuse from the actors who play guards, who then order them towards the gas chamber.

Shuttleworth, however, despite repeated screams from the actor to move it, decided it was more fun to stay put. Eventually, since the actors obviously couldn't resort to the violence their characters were promising, they left him alone.

The play's director Stephen Lambert was so incensed with what he saw as the journalist's attempt to wreck the show, he spent the rest of the evening attempting to intimidate him in the theatre bar.

Lambert was reluctant to comment yesterday. However a spokesman for the play claimed he merely "wanted the journalist to know how it felt to have the tables turned after bullying the actors and trying to disrupt the play".

Shuttleworth, meanwhile, denies doing anything wrong. "I'm not the one who needs to defend myself," he says. "They responded inappropriately when I tested their scenario. I certainly wasn't bullying the actors."

Shirley some mistake?

In a move that is likely to provoke much Scotch spluttering among her footie-mad compatriots, the Scottish gold medal-winning sailor Shirley Robertson has waded into the row on having a British football team at the London 2012 Olympics.

"It has been a mess that hasn't gone away," she recently told Pandora during Cowes Week.

"But we are a major football nation and we will actually have a match at Hampden Park, which will be the only part of the 2012 Olympics to take place in Scotland."

She bravely went on: "So I definitely think we should have a Great British team picked from all our constituent countries."

Want-away 'Castaway' comes ashore

Nearly a year after she left these shores to live among gypsies in Bulgaria, author Lucy Irvine has decided to resurface.

Irvine, who made a splash in the literary world in the 1980s with her book, Castaway, will be making an appearance at next month's Wigtown Book Festival to give a talk about her favourite books.

It'll be her first appearance in the UK since she sold her rural B&B in Scotland last year, to go and live in a mud hut in the Balkan foothills.

Her decision to up sticks marked her second bonkers adventure into the unknown. Castaway, which was made into a movie starring Amanda Donohoe as Lucy, was based on her experience living on the remote Pacific island of Tuin, after she replied to a newspaper advert from British explorer Gerald Kingsland.

A Major charity event

John Major's famous cola bottle-bottom glasses are not much of a public spectacle these days, so I'm glad to hear they'll be going to good use.

The former PM is among a host of luminaries, including George Michael, BBC autocutie Kate Silverton, and Dave Stewart, who have agreed to donate their goggles as part of a charity auction for Sightsavers International.

The auction, which will be launched on ebay this Friday, is part of Sightsavers' campaign to highlight the supposed 153 million people in the world who are blind due to lack of glasses.

Also giving her treasured specs away will be Cherie Blair. Funny, but I don't remember her ever wearing any.

Missed deadline lands Pearson in court

Choppy waters ahead for Allison Pearson, sometime broadcaster and lively columnist for the Daily Mail.

Miramax Films, the edgy movie company founded by the Weinstein brothers, are suing Pearson for breach of contract after claiming she failed to deliver on a novel she'd promised them.

The lawsuit, which was filed last Friday in a Manhattan Federal court, says that Pearson was paid approximately £350,000 for the rights to an unpublished book called I Think I Love You in August 2003.

Despite several requests, Miramax claim she's ignored all their enquiries since 2006 about the book's whereabouts.

No word from Pearson last night, which I suppose was understandable considering her column is due in the Mail this morning.

After all, she won't want to make a habit of missing deadlines.