Pandora: Symonds gets up close and personal

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The Independent Online

Bunker time at Ramsay HQ. Sarah Symonds is stretching her legs.

The frosted-lipped "professional mistress" caused a rumpus last year by claiming, despite Gordon Ramsay's repeated denials, that she had engaged in a seven-year affair with the irritable chef.

The claims kick-started a rollercoaster of bad press for Ramsay who, within weeks, was facing a hotchpotch of other allegations, ranging from the amusing (that his boast to have played for Glasgow Rangers football club was somewhat – how to put it? – exaggerated) to the alarming (that he was peddling ready-meals in some of his London restaurants).

Since then, Ramsay's done his best to prevent a repeat performance, staging a host of horlicksy family shots and recruiting a spanking new media handler. Symonds, however, is not one to disappear without a fight; as well as popping up during the filming of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, she's launched a book (Having an Affair?, by Sarah J Symonds) and secured several high-profile television appearances.

Now, we hear Ms Symonds is to begin offering one-on-one life coaching sessions for would-be mistresses wanting to emulate her career.

Says Symonds: "My fees are very reasonable and I am willing to work with all of you depending on your situations and budgets."

Curiously, Ramsay's people didn't respond to our request for a comment.

Trying to tell us something, Clive?

"George Clooney has had loads of surgery hasn't he?" Clive Owen asked a crowd of bemused red carpet reporters at the premiere of his new film, The Boys Are Back, on Wednesday. "We actually go to the same guy." Owen may want to be careful spreading such scurrilous rumours. He is soon to work with one David Schwimmer in the film Trust. When this column – many moons ago – printed a bit of similarly light-hearted ephemera regarding the former Friends star, he responded by issuing a particularly creepy prank call.

Prince Philip's variety show at the palace

As you're sheepishly settling down on the sofa for a quick fix of mindless escapism this Saturday, you may well be in good company.

Not long ago Prince Philip impressed Pandora with his knowledge of cooking programmes (he is an ardent fan of Heston Blumenthal, apparently). Now, news that his tastes extend to rather less cerebral subjects. Specifically, a certain Simon Cowell-fronted talent show.

We're told that Rhydian Roberts, the white-haired former contestant who excited equal measures of irritation and admiration from the viewing public and is soon to release a second album, was last night appearing at Windsor Palace for a private performance. Let's hope the windows were double-glazed.

What Rushdie did next...

More on Salman Rushdie's newfound status as the Katie Price (or Peter Andre?) of the literary establishment. No longer content with engaging his ex-girlfriend in a tabloid spat of Jordanic proportions, he appears to have turned to the well-worn tactic of parading alternative beauties before the paparazzi's eager eyes. He was seen out and about on Wednesday night on the arm of leggy author Min Lieskovsky, known, reportedly, for her fondness of male models. Mr Rushdie may have his work cut out.

Forget the American dream

Quick! Someone get Dominic Cooper a VisitBritain advert. The impish young actor, currently starring alongside Emma Thompson and Rosamund Pike in An Education, has explained his reasons for resisting a move to the sunny climes of Los Angeles, home of, amongst other things, his on-off girlfriend Amanda Seyfried. "I love being in London," he told Pandora at the British Film Festival. "It means I can see all my old friends who treat me like crap." Charmed, we're sure.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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