Pandora: Polanski offers fans a seasonal greeting

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The Independent Online

Hark! Roman Polanski, directorial messiah-cum-jailbird and celebrity cause célèbre has uttered his first public words since being arrested by Swiss police in connection with a sex offence of 32 years ago.

He has chosen to convey his festive message via the website of his friend and supporter Bernard-Henri Lévy, the nouveau philosophe last seen telling bombed-out Georgians that though their fate might be grim at least "Georgia is now on the map".

"My dear Bernard-Henri Lévy," begins the missive. "What you have said in the Swiss press is true – I have been overwhelmed by the number of messages of support and sympathy I have received. "I would like every one of them to know how heartening it is, when one is locked up in a cell, to hear this murmur of human voices and of solidarity in the morning mail." No doubt the news will prove heartening to those Hollywood names (Woody Allen, David Lynch and Martin Scorsese among them) calling for the director's release.

Whether or not it will prove quite so heartening to those prosecutors awaiting his extradition does, however, remain to be seen.

Digby's unlikely turn as author

*Lofty pursuits from Kristian Digby. The chirpy To Buy or Not to Buy presenter tells us he is to turn his hand to writing: "I'm doing a book about a young guy who goes into television, and the various obstacles he finds there." It's a curious move, since Digby recently starred in a documentary called Hiding the Truth: I Can't Read. "I can't read or write," he explains. "But they came to me so I said yes. I don't see why not being able to read should stop me."

Jacob's latest photo-op is crackers

Whoops! Jacob Rees-Mogg strikes again. Last time we heard from the Tory hopeful (son of former Times editor Lord Rees-Mogg) he was getting his staff to write his supposedly self-penned responses. The time before, he'd been caught plagiarising The Sun. Now he's being lambasted by his would-be constituents for distributing leaflets with a photograph of him greeting a shopper outside a local newsagent. Except the shopper isn't, in fact, an ordinary member of the public but the office manager of his London firm.

Artist sees red over Banksy work

*Rumblings in the artistic underground, now, as the prospect of a row between two of the graffiti world's leading lights looms large. It seems that ageing icon Robbo is none too pleased with a recent Banksy modification of his work. Three new "paintings" by the prodigious sprayer appeared by London's Regent's Canal before Christmas, one of which uses a piece of existing Robbo graffiti dating back more than 25 years – to show a decorator appearing to hang rolls of graffitied wallpaper under an archway. Now much of Banksy's design has been resprayed to read 'KING ROBBO'. Handbags?

Boiled sweets fly in the theatre stalls

*One of theatreland's most poisonous disputes has, I fear, entered a new chapter. Critic Ian Shuttleworth, The Financial Times's well-upholstered man in the stalls, formally complained to the Press Complaints Commission over what he perceived to be a coded fattist attack on him in a review by Tim Walker, a rival on The Sunday Telegraph. The two have near come to blows on the matter. The PCC has, I hear, told Shuttleworth that it cannot see how Walker infringed the code of conduct in his review, which argued that theatre seats should be made bigger to accommodate large punters. Joyously, that's unlikely to be the end of it.