The day that Jayne Mansfield cut a ribbon with a pair of golden scissors and declared the Chiswick Flyover in west London officially open must count as one of the most unlikely moments in the history of British motorways.
Next month, on the 50th anniversary of the flyover's glamorous opening, Paul Lynch, the local mayor, hopes that Mariska Hargitay – the star of Law & Order and the late screen goddess's youngest daughter – will agree to come to the borough to commemorate the event.
"Whether we love the flyover or hate it, we can't let this moment go by without doing something," Councilor Lynch tells Mandrake. "I suppose it wouldn't occur to anyone to get someone like Miss Mansfield to open a stretch of motorway these days, but in the fifties we still associated motoring with fun and we need to re-capture some of that spirit as we mark the half century."
Gerald McGregor, a fellow councilor, envisaged Miss Hargitay attending a "small drinks party" immediately beneath the flyover so that it wouldn't interfere with the flow of traffic.
Regarded as too risqué an actress to conduct the opening by one Conservative councilor at the time, Miss Mansfield was not in fact the first person to have been invited to do the honors. Stirling Moss and Donald Campbell had both declined. "It's a sweet little flyover,' Miss Mansfield told the press on the big day, making it clear it wasn't a patch on the flyovers in America.
It is hard even for Alastair Campbell to put a positive spin on this, but the Central Office of Information – "the Government's marketing and communications specialist hub," as it calls itself – is advertising for senior news and public relations professionals who have the ability to "manage crisis communications" and know how to "handle situations diplomatically." Mandrake wonders if this can be taken as official confirmation that the nation has finally spun out of control.