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Pandora: Return of the ultimate Sloane Ranger

Oliver Duff
Monday 28 January 2008 01:00 GMT
(© Tim Sanders)

Before the Hollywood stylists had their say, time was when Hugh Grant was the floppy-haired pin-up for aspiring Sloane Rangers everywhere. So it's nice to see him finally returning to his roots.

The increasingly reclusive actor has recently taken to drinking in The Sporting Page, the ultra-Sloaney watering hole just off west London's Fulham Road.

"He popped in last week for a couple of jars with some mates," reports one barfly. "He has certainly aged a bit from the days when we used to regularly see him in pubs around Chelsea. Still, it didn't stop our horsey barmaids from sniggering into their spritzers."

Service not included when Rupert waits the tables

"The Power of Collaborative Innovation" was the slogan for this year's get-together of the rich and powerful at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But few things could have been quite as innovative, or collaborative, as the dinner organised for friends by Wendy Deng, wife of Rupert Murdoch, and PR king Matthew Freud, who is Rupert's son-in-law.

The theme of the occasion was unremarkable enough – female empowerment – as was the speech by Cherie Blair. The more startling innovation was a decision to have Mr Murdoch dress up as a waiter to serve the meal to the assembled new-wave feminists, who included the singer Annie Lennox and The Sun's editor Rebekah Wade.

Mr Murdoch's assistant waiter was the U2 singer Bono, tired as he must have been from telling the world to get on with its sadly neglected millennium development goals. Unfortunately, he didn't bring his new friend Al Gore along to pour the wine. All that was missing in this radical tableau was some suitably empowered Page 3 "stunners" to ask the great proprietor why there was a fly in their soup. At least, Rupert and Bono did not have to do topless.

Après-ski gossipers could not quite decide whether the presence of Ms Wade meant she was taking The Sun upmarket or that Davos was dragging itself down. Apparently, Mr Murdoch made a very good waiter but service was not included. The tips he received remain undisclosed.

Wossy to weveal all in guaranteed page-turner

Few broadcasters divide public opinion more than Jonathan Ross, so news that he is to release a long-awaited autobiography in the autumn means we areto get a guaranteed page-turner.

Ross signed a reported "nice but not huge amount" with publisher Transworld back in 2000, but has only just got around to writing it. According to this week's Bookseller magazine, he will be writing the memoir himself.

Since Ross usually prefers to be the one in the driving seat (he rarely does interviews), readers will no doubt be keen to hear what he has to say about a number of issues, from his hard partying early days at Channel 4 to the reported temporary split with his wife, Jane, in 1999.

It might finally settle details of Ross's reportedly astronomical BBC salary. It's a touchy subject for "Wossy", who is in the habit of instructing his lawyers when journalists get the figures wrong.

Figgis goes Cage-fighting

The American actor Nicolas Cage finds himself on the receiving end of a second hand-bagging in the space of a week. Last week, a British newspaper serialised Kathleen Turner's autobiography, in which she claimed the Hollywood star's behaviour "left a lot to be desired".

Now the celebrated British auteur Mike Figgis, whose film Leaving Las Vegas bagged Cage a best actor Oscar, has decided to have a pop.

"Nic is a bit prickly, totally insecure," he told Pandora at the Glenmorangie Burns Night. "He keeps on moving from film to film because he is terrified of not being in work.

"He just buys up expensive sports cars and puts them in a garage. He wants to conquer the world basically. Really, he is a sad man." Ouch!

Corden off

Alan Bennett recently decried the advantageous nature of public schools, but one of the stars of his critcally acclaimed play, The History Boys, has no qualms about exploiting his new-found celebrity status.

James Corden, who played the delightfully rotund Timms in the multi-award winning stage production, was recently overheard at the edgy London-based radio station XFM's award show asking the managing director if he could get his own programme.

Sadly for 28-year-old Corden – a rapidly rising star on the British acting circuit – there aren't any slots available for him at present.

"We are full at the moment," says a station insider. "But, if something does come up, we would be very keen to have him on board."

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