Pandora: The Blairs and the red Ferrari mystery

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The Independent Online

Just who owns the flashy sports car currently parked outside Maison Blair?

Since the start of the Chilcot inquiry into Britain's involvement in the Iraq war, the former prime minister and his family have been faced with a front-room view of a red Ferrari sitting across the road from their expansive residence in London's Connaught Square. The vehicle bears the particularly pointed number plate "1RAO."

Neighbours claim not to recognise the car, despite its central London parking permit. Some have noted the fact that the registration matches the Iraqi diplomatic number plate, though no one from the embassy was available to comment.

The DVLA, meanwhile, claims to be unable to identify the car – but points out that although the number plate is a diplomatic one, it could well have been sold at auction into private hands.

As for the Blairs, neither seemed amused by the stunt; Tony's spokesman refused to return Pandora's calls, while Cherie proved equally elusive. Still, it appears they are not unaware of the car's presence. When sneaking a closer look in the car window, Pandora's mole was subjected to a stop-and-search by police.

Go Firth and fight the flab!

Colin Firth is said to be a hot favourite for a Best Actor Oscar following his role in A Single Man, the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford. If so, expect to see him down the gym as he prepares for his tuxedo moment. Reflecting on the effect his post-Darcy physique had on Ford, the actor has noted: "He told me I looked good, but that I'd look better if I got a personal trainer." Ford, however, appears to recall things rather differently. "I told him he was fat," he tells The New York Times.

Eco-warrior Styler skips Copenhagen

Ominous news from the Copenhagen summit. Trudie Styler, the most private-jet-happy eco-warrior in showbusiness, is not in attendance.

How can this be? Back in November, Mrs Sting told Pandora she'd be going to fight the corner of the world's rainforest inhabitants. What's more, she promised to travel there by boat (a nasty incident last year saw her berated for chartering a private jet to fly from Manhattan to the White House).

At the weekend, however, her promise began to look less plausible when she was photographed at a gala in Washington. Washington to Copenhagen? That would be one very speedy boat. Alas, Styler's people confirm, no such technology exists. "She's not going after all," we are told.

BBC or ITV: who will have the X-factor?

Expect further ratings wars between the BBC and ITV this weekend. For the first time ever, the live final of ITV's X Factor will compete directly with the BBC's annual Sports Personality of the Year. Both include winners chosen by a live phone-in vote – and underlings at the Beeb aren't happy. "The phone-in on the night is bound to be minuscule in comparison with the X Factor," complains an insider. "And the whole thing costs a fortune to put on – especially getting everyone up to Sheffield."

En 'Vogue': Curran gets a makeover

Alex Curran is the latest England Wag to feature in the hallowed pages of Vogue, gracing eight pages of the fashion bible's January issue. Still, style snobs need not despair: instead of the gushing treatment meted out to her predecessors Coleen Rooney, Victoria Beckham and Cheryl Cole, Curran – wife of Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard – gets a Holly Golightly-style makeover from perma-tanned "über-Wag" to East End hipster. "Will it all be too much?" muses the mag. Perhaps not quite what the publicist ordered.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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