Pandora

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Don't tell Peter

EVEN your best friends won't tell you... at least not when reshuffle time is fast approaching in the Tory Party. But Pandora is happy to let you know that it seems almost certain the Boy Wonder will rearrange his team at the end of this month, whether or not Tony Blair does the same. There is a very strong rumour that Hague wants to move Peter Lilley out of his shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer role in order to bring in John Redwood. Lilley has made a rather feeble showing against Gordon Brown, while the emotionless brainiac Redwood has been all over the airwaves on every possible issue. Pandora's hot tips for elevation from the Tory backbenches are Ann Widdecombe and Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, who has made a good impression for her work on the millennium bug.

Pray it opens

WORD has reached Pandora of a remarkable achievement. According to Russian newswire Itar-Tass, a Russian Orthodox priest has become the first clergyman to reach the North Pole via parachute. Immediately upon landing, Father Viktor Smetannikov planted a cross in the ice and commenced praying. According to Father Viktor: "The pole has a purifying power. It is an exceptional place on the globe and God doesn't allow everyone to go there." However, he added a cautionary note to any pilgrims tempted to follow in his footsteps. "Praying at the North Pole doesn't seem particularly beneficial." Gore's Guess

YOU WILL not be surprised to learn that Gore Vidal has a unique slant on Clinton's Zippergate problems. America's most acidic essayist believes the president's woes all began when he and Hillary put forward their new healthcare plan (later crushed in the Congress) that threatened the US insurance industry. "It's a warning to all other politicians, 'Don't touch our money or we will do to you what we did to the Clintons'," says Vidal. As for special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, Vidal told USA Today that he might eventually be charged with treason and imprisoned. "Just because you don't like somebody ... you're not free to spend the people's money trying to see if he likes to [bleep] girls." Don't forget, Gore is the same fantasist who created Myra Breckinridge.

Poor Pamela

WHEN it comes to casting the lead characters in "important" bio-pics, Hollywood sometimes goes hilariously astray. Remember Montgomery Clift as a gentile Freud or Kirk Douglas as a boringly sane Van Gogh? Literature lovers have recently been horrified to learn that play-it-cute actress Meg Ryan has her heart set on playing the tortured poetess Sylvia Plath. Now, 20th-century history buffs will be appalled to learn the casting details of an American television network's production about the late Pamela Harriman. Who has been chosen to portray the clever former US ambassador to France and legendary femme fatale? The former glamour babe Ann-Margret (right), that's who. This suggests a new parlour game, Hollywood History, in which we can all play casting director and the most implausible pairing wins. How about Paula Yates as Mrs Thatcher? Goldie Hawn as Benazir Bhutto? Madonna as Mother Teresa?

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