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Friday, 22 December, 2000, 13:56 GMT
Amazing Tales from Planet Tabloid
planet tabloid
Our weekly trip to the outer fringes of the news universe discovers that Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat...

Burning issue of the week

Are snowmen sexist?

A field day for the papers after an academic (tabloid short-hand for "loony") published a study of the symbolism of snowmen.


The Straits Times
Much to the delight of the "red tops", Dr Tricia Cusack included some mention of sex and gender roles in her work, wondering why there were not snow-women as well as snowmen and thus providing the raw material for an unresistable combination of Christmas, sex and political correctness.

Christmas crackers

Meanwhile... Miss L Tow and Carol Service are included on a list of "real festive names" discovered by a UK website devoted to lists of names.

There is also a person called "Mary Christmas", another with the name "Jingle" and yet another called "Present". There are four people called Turkey and 211 Santas.

And meanwhile again...

A London mum has decorated her living room walls with Christmas wrapping paper, according to The Sun.

Christmas shopping news

Men can "trigger women's shopping sprees" by the way they smell, according to "Australian researchers" quoted in the South China Morning Post.


Daily Telegraph on the spread of BSE to Europe

Scientists have found that male pheromones "can send subliminal messages which influence women's buying decisions".

Importantly, young women who are not on the pill are less likely to buy things when exposed to "male sex scent".

Do they mean us?

People who work at the BBC are so stupid that they do not even know how to boil water in a kettle, the Sun has revealed.


Headline in The Sun

But there is no need for BBC workers to worry. The BBC's management has provided a "two page, seven section memo" to help dim-witted programme makers cope with the task.

The news follows a front page story last month in the Daily Mirror, alleging that BBC staff did not know how to walk in and out of the front door of their office until they were given a big, thick training manual full of helpful door-negotiation advice.

A BBC employee was quoted as saying: "You hardly need a science degree to brew a cup of tea".

All this is taking place, the paper implies, because the BBC is run by mad people who in all probability cannot cross the road without being knocked over every time.

Weird science

A Malaysian woman was claiming to be blessed with exceptional good luck this week after one of her chickens laid an egg which was in the shape of a ten-pin bowling skittle.

Apparently skittle-shaped eggs are a sign of tremendous impending good fortune in Malaysia.

Nerds of the world

A former train-spotter has developed "a fascinating new obsession" - taking pictures of flooded roads.

The man, who is of course a college lecturer, spends all his time touring country lanes in the hope of finding a good over-extended puddle to photograph, according to The Sun.

"I can't stand watching TV and used to go out trainspotting," said the man. His wife added: "I suppose people might think he's a bit mad, but ford-spotting keeps him out of mischief and gives us some quality time out in the countryside."

More floods are expected soon.

Young people these days...

Scientists are developing easy-to-eat peas because children no longer know how to use knives and forks, said The Sunday Times last weekend.

The problems arises because "children are becoming so used to eating pizzas and burgers with their hands or stabbing at bite-sized chicken nuggets that they are finding peas impossible to eat".

The solution hit upon by scientists - who are believed to wear white coats, chunky glasses and look a bit like "Brains" from Thunderbirds - is to make bigger peas, so that children can "stab them easily with a fork".

The inescapable conclusion is that if things carry on like this then goodness knows where the world will end up.

From Our Own Correspondent

Thanks to BBC news online user Mukul Bakshi for alerting us to the story of a man who could lift chairs with his eyelids and a yarn about a man who can stand on one leg for almost 72 hours.

This and much more madness can evidently be found in The Pioneer newspaper , published in Pakistan.

If you spot anything you would like to contribute to Planet Tabloid, send it to

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