Pandora: Walk the plank, ye scurvy dog!

An early frontrunner for twit of the year: check your scorecards, please, for Toby Kendall, recent graduate in Chinese from Oxford. The 24-year-old, who works for the counter-intelligence company C2i International, has been caught in a laughably-bungled attempt to infiltrate the anti-aviation action group Plane Stupid. His errors included: choosing an obviously fake pseudonym ("Ken Tobias"), having a weak background story (I recently returned from China), and wearing Armani jeans with his Palestinian scarf. Swampy he ain't. Who paid him?

The British Airports Authority admits having contact with C2i International, but says it declined the company's "unsolicited" sales pitch.

Pandora learns that Kendall, dressed as a Jolly Roger-waving pirate, also tried to infiltrate Hands Off Iraqi Oil, which targets Shell and BP. His boss at C2i, Justin King, will not return calls. King told the BBC in 2004 that many organisations face espionage: "These people are easy to find... I'm told the going rate to get a cleaner to steal something is £20."

Flintoff struggles to build on sticky Cheshire wicket

The cricketer Andrew Flintoff has been stumped in his designs to develop a huge new home down a leafy Cheshire lane.

The England all-rounder has had to withdraw his planning application for a five-floor mansion (two of them an uber-basement) in the face of curtain-twitching opposition.

"Freddie" and his wife Rachael bought the property in Mottram St Andrew last year for a reported £1.85m from the Blackburn Rovers football manager Mark Hughes. Permission was won for a two-storey abode; the existing building bulldozed; and muddy foundations prepared. However, Flintoff developed more laddish plans, and submitted a new application seeking to build a much bigger house with two swimming pools, a snooker room, a sauna, a gym, a cinema, a "plant room" and a bar. Presumably he could float around the 41ft by 19ft pool on his pedalo while teammates topped up his pina colada. (He was sacked from the national vice-captaincy at the 2007 World Cup. He needed rescuing from a pedalling session on the Caribbean waves after too long at the hooch.)

The proposed height of the revised country pile became a problem. Says Macclesfield Borough Council: "We felt the roof was too high. The planners thought the plans unacceptable."

Long-time Cheshire residents tire of the Dubai-esque construction of sportsmen and their wives. Others to have levelled and rebuilt bigger include Hughes, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane.

Broadway Plows ahead without Spacey and Goldblum

Kevin Spacey and Jeff "The Fly" Goldblum are enjoying huge success at the Old Vic,starring in the David Mamet-penned satire, Speed-the-Plow.

Any attempt to transfer the play to Broadway, as Spacey did with A Moon for the Misbegotten, would be cut off in a manner worthy of its ruthless plot, however. For already a version of Speed-the-Plow, by the show's producer, Jeffrey Richards, is pencilled in for New York in November. Richards acquired the rights from Mamet to produce the play on Broadway long before Spacey obtained them for the London run. "There is a production due on Broadway, but it's separate from us," says a spokeswoman for the Old Vic. "They got the rights in the US, we got them for the UK. That's all we know."

Maggi won't play the Dame

Warning to the Prime Minister and his Downing Street assistants: if you seek a doyenne of the arts scene to add to the Queen's birthday honours, best avoid Maggi Hambling.

The homosexual (don't say "lesbian"!) 62-year-old painter-sculptor, awarded an OBE in 1995, has publicly denounced the Labour Government's ban on smoking, despite giving up the weed herself.

Talking to fellow guests during a reception at The Dorchester, she suddenly blurted out to Pandora: "You know, I won't let them give me anything. I've always said this."

She added: "Before I become Dame Maggi Hambling, I want to be Sir Maggi Hambling. I mean why not?"

Wonder bra

A shameless but nevertheless welcome plug from Ann Summers. The purveyor of frillies and dildos has persuaded former Big Brother winner Kate Lawler – who once allowed herself to be strapped into an electric chair and zapped for a television science show – to run this Sunday's London marathon sporting just a bra and knickers. It's in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Keep up at the back, fellas!

The set has been crafted from "satin and mesh" to reduce chaffing. Let's hope Lawler fares better than reality telly goon Jade Goody. Running the race two years ago on a training diet of curries, Goody collapsed on the Isle of Dogs gasping: "I'm dying".

pandora@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Guru Careers: HR Administrator / Training Coordinator

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: An HR Administrator / Training Coordinator is requi...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash