The interrogator-in-chief finds himself on the receiving end

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John Humphrys prides himself on being the BBC's most fearless political interviewer. In his morning interviews on the Today programme, he regularly devours duplicitous - or hesitant - interviewees for breakfast. So it is intriguing to learn how he behaves when the tables are turned, and the great inquisitor is himself to be placed in the hot seat.

John Humphrys prides himself on being the BBC's most fearless political interviewer. In his morning interviews on the Today programme, he regularly devours duplicitous - or hesitant - interviewees for breakfast. So it is intriguing to learn how he behaves when the tables are turned, and the great inquisitor is himself to be placed in the hot seat.

At least one regional paper pitching for an interview with Humphrys in the run-up to the general election claims that it has been told by a BBC press officer that it must submit a list of their questions for him, in advance of the interview. If true, this would rightly astound journalists, who consider this the sort of request made by only the slipperiest of politicians.

"I don't think that the Today programme would ever put up with that sort of request from someone that Humphrys was interviewing," says one local hack. "It's pretty shameless, and suggests that he's not so confident answering questions as he is asking them. I've reluctantly sent a list of topics to the person who asked for them."

The BBC press officer concerned, however, denies any underhand motive. "I didn't ask for a complete list of questions. All I did was ask for the topics they'd be covering in the interview, as I wasn't going to be there myself."

Humphrys may or may not have been behind the press officer's request, but does he have some reason to fear unscripted interviews, I wonder?

¿ Dylan Jones, the editor of GQ magazine, is quite rightly considered to be one of the most effortlessly stylish men in Britain.

His latest fashion accolade comes from the Western Daily Mail, who this week included him in 13th place, in their chart of the trendiest living Welshmen - which is just above Charlotte Church's rugby-playing boyfriend Gavin Henson.

All very well, but for one slight catch: despite his name, Jones is not actually Welsh.

"I think my grandfather may have once visited Wales on a day-trip," he says, by way of explanation.

"But I don't have a drop of Welsh blood. I was actually brought up in Ely in Cambridgeshire. The Western Mail has done huge articles about me and GQ in the past, which is hugely flattering, but I think its time to call it a day. I'm not going to go down the well-beaten path of Anne Robinson or AA Gill and criticise the Welsh, though. I love the place and often spend weekends near Abergavenny."

Immaculately turned out, I'm sure.

¿ Many have wondered how Tony Blair and Gordon Brown managed to look so cosy on the (now) infamous party political broadcast directed by Anthony Minghella.

Pandora can reveal that it was - believe it or not - down to an impromptu "marriage guidance" session that the Oscar-winning director insisted they should participate in on set.

"Anthony thought it would get them to relax around one another," says a mole. "He gave each an exercise book and set them the task of writing down what they believed the other had achieved during the eight years of New Labour government. Then they were told to turn over to a clean page and write down what they thought the other had just written."

Apparently, with just one exception, they both got it absolutely right.

¿ And so to prize-giving for Pandora's inaugural poetry challenge. Readers were asked to compose a verse marking Ozzy Osbourne's retirement from reality television. From a veritable avalanche of poems, dozens caught the eye - not least a couple of ingenious reworkings of Shelley's "Ozymandias" - but the winning entry came from Leanne Cairney.

"The Sabbath was black when Ozzy arose/ He shouted out 'Sharon - Where are me clothes?'/ 'I've packed them up Daddy, in the Louis Vuitton,/ along with the dogs, and then we'll be gone.'/ 'Where to, Mum?' asked Kelly and Jack/ 'Rehab? Again? How long till we're back?'/ 'As long as it takes to recover, you know/ From the shock of not having our own TV show!'"

She wins a bottle of Dom Perignon 1996, and the congratulations of Benjamin Zephaniah, who himself composed a farewell poem earlier this month. "It's very good. She must keep writing: she can compose an ode for my demise with pleasure," he says.

¿ A coup! Pandora has hired Alastair Campbell as a guest columnist. This privilege cost £156, the price a collection of AC memorabilia fetched in a fundraising auction for Nick Milton, Labour's candidate for Congleton.

The prize included a personalised Blackberry message from the prince of spin. And here is the first installment, containing his thoughts on the current election campaign.

"I'm not venturing into print much this campaign. There's too much to do, and nobody could say there aren't enough words being devoted to coverage of the campaign by others," he writes.

"The TV coverage in particular, according to our focus groups, is irritating people more than informing them because of incessant interpretation by reporters. Funny thing, but in an election the public want to hear the politicians ... Is that enough? Forward not back. Vote Labour!"

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