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Ian McEwan

Seen any good books lately?

The liberties film-makers take with characters and plot when they adapt well-loved novels too often spoil the stories for fans of the originals, argues Arifa Akbar

Pandora: John Prescott fails to lord it on the campaign trail

Last week Pandora speculated as to the proximity of a Prescott peerage. Having been both deputy Labour leader and deputy PM, the veteran bruiser would be more than qualified for a spot on Gordon Brown's disollution honours list, despite his previously-stated opposition to the principle.

The Diary: Andrew Lloyd Webber; John Walker; Alice Channer; Ian

Andrew Lloyd Webber confessed that he has already sent the soundtrack of his latest musical, ‘Love Never Dies’ (sequel to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’) to two key figures – both of whom were involved in ‘Phantom’, and neither of whom have a part to play in the sequel: Cameron Mackinstosh, who worked with Lloyd Webber on the original, and Sarah Brightman (right), Lloyd Webber’s former wife and the first leading lady, Christine. Lloyd Webber said: “The two people in the world I most wanted to hear the soundtrack were Sarah Brightman and Cameron Macintosh.” After hearing the songs, Webber said that Cameron “wrote me one of the sweetest letters I have ever had”, while Sarah’s response was similarly supportive, and “funny”, he added. When quizzed about why Mackintosh was not producing the sequel, which takes place a decade after we last encountered the murderous phantom, now living on Coney Island, Lloyd Webber said: “Cameron has been incredibly supportive… but he has got his own life.” He said there would be no other sequels after this one. “I can’t say that the story could possibly continue.” The show opens on 9 March 2010 at the Adelphi Theatre, London

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Man Booker Prize: It's Barry Unsworth for me

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest Booker book of all? Trying to judge literary excellence by committee means that the prize has sometimes fallen victim to compromise voting, tokenism, or the suspicion that a book suitsthe prize rather thandeserves it. It's hard to claim that the 41 prize-winning novels in the Booker's history represent the flower of English literature between 1969 and 2007.