Pandora: Where is Tito? Mystery grows over future of the Jackson One in Devon

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The Independent Online

When an exciting new project involving Michael Jackson and his family is announced, the form book usually requires us to take it with a large pinch of sodium chloride.

The latest case in point appears to be the much vaunted fly-on the-wall documentary involving the Jacksons which was due to be produced by the company belonging to Stephen Lambert, the producer caught up in this year's notorious "Crowngate" saga with the BBC.

The programme, billed as an Osbournes-style documentary, was supposed to be based around Tito Jackson and his young sons moving to the Devon village of Appledore. It was hoped that other family members, including Michael and Janet, would also make appearances.

However, several months after Tito first set up home in the countryside, local rumours have it that the project has failed to get off the ground.

"The story around here is that it's all ended in tears," I'm told. "There's been all sorts of rumours about unpaid fees and such like. We often used to see Tito and the boys out eating in The Quay, which is one of the only restaurants around here, but they haven't been in for weeks."

Despite several attempts to contact production company Studio Lambert, no-one was available to comment yesterday.

As for Jackson, it wouldn't be the first spot of bother he's run into in recent weeks. Earlier this month, it emerged he was being taken to court by a local fitness trainer, Matt Fiddes after Jackson allegedly failed to repay several thousand pounds of debt.

Daniel keeps things civil

Bond star Daniel Craig has emerged as an unlikely cheerleader for the bureaucrats in the Civil Service, still reeling from various lost data scandals over the past year.

"This stuff is important to me. You have the monarchy, you have government, and then you have the Civil Service," he tells Empire magazine. "The reason the Civil Service remains a non-political organisation is that if the shit hits the fan like goose-stepping Nazi bastards, you hope the Civil Service will turn around and go, 'We've got it covered.'"

Conran avoids cash calamity in Chiswick

Jasper Conran is bucking the gloomy downturn in the London property market.

The modish designer – and 48-year-old son of design guru Sir Terence – has recently sold his London home in Chiswick for £12.5m.

The sale of the west London pile, once a residence of Sir Robert Walpole, represents a tidy windfall for Conran since he bought the house in 2006 for £7.25m.

Conran has certainly been a busy boy on the property scene recently.

Last year, it was reported that he had bought the 300-year-old mansion Ven House in Somerset for a cool £8.5m.

From Sugar to Sloane

General Trading Company, London's upmarket boutique home store frequented by Gucci-loafered Sloane Ranger types, has announced a surprising rear guard against the oncoming recession.

The company,which was placed into administration in July, has appointed gobby Apprentice runner-up Claire Young to be one of its consultants.

Heaven knows how the news that that "GTC" has entrusted its fate with a reality TV contestant has gone down at Buckingham Palace. The Queen is said to be one of their regular customers.

Olympic downgrade

The sight of our triumphant Olympians emerging shoulder-to-shoulder with the Olympic suits at Heathrow on Monday raises the question: which of our heroes were allowed to "turn left" while boarding?

With 30-odd commercial passengers already reported to be on board the British Airways jumbo, presumably some of the competitors would not have made it on to the top deck. The British Olympic Association chairman Lord Moynihan admitted to yielding his seat to treble gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy.

Whatever system was agreed, BA was not letting on. A spokesman refused to comment.

Thewlis attacks 'nightmare' Stone

There will be no Christmas cards exchanged this year, I fancy, between Sharon Stone and her former co-star David Thewlis.

The gritty British actor appeared briefly on screen with Stone a few years back in the cringe-inducing turkey, Basic Instinct 2.

"It was a pile of shit, wasn't it?" he tells Total Film. "I wanted to get a job in the can before my daughter was born. It was actually very pleasant for me. I didn't have much to do with Sharon Stone.

"And thank God because I heard she was a fucking nightmare."

The erratic Stone, who was recently forced to apologise for suggesting a Chinese earthquake was the result of "bad karma", has form for rash public outbursts. Let's hope Thewlis is sitting comfortably.