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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 17:14 GMT
Amazing tales from Planet Tabloid
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News that is out of this world
This week Billy the Fish's role in keeping David Seaman out of the England team, a leading waxwork UK politician escapes from the chamber of horrors and why New Labour spin doctors are copying Britney Spears. But first the news...

No doubt about the big story this week - the election of a new King of Pop in the TV talent show Pop Idol.

But was Will v Gareth a clean fight? The 'bloids had their doubts. WILL IN PHONE STORM - was the page one news in the Sun.

Fans could not get through blocked switchboards to exercise their democratic right, the paper said.

And a there was a frank admission of electoral fraud reported by the Mirror: BECKS VOTED SEVEN TIMES FOR WILL.

Beckham
Voted seven times... but in which election?
But amid the euphoria there was worry about the low turn-out in many parts of the country and, especially, among the old.

"In the over 35 age group more actually voted in the General Election than could be bothered to make Pop Idol phone vote," said one expert.

"What do they think they are playing at?"

FISHY STORY

England goalie David Seaman was viciously attacked by a giant carp leaving him badly injured an unable to play football.

David Seaman
Violently attacked by Billy the Fish?

This, at least, is the impression given by the Mirror back page story headlined: 26lb FISH NEARLY K'OD MY CAREER.

There's also the clear subliminal suggestion that Seaman has somehow lost his place in the England team to Billy the Fish - the world famous half-man, half-fish Fulchester United net-minder from Viz magazine.

What happened, on a closer reading, is that Seaman, already nursing a sore shoulder, went fishing.

He then hooked a 26lbs carp, dragged it energetically out of the water and then felt a twinge in his muscles.

"I felt my shoulder tighten - that could be one of the reasons it's taken me so long to get back".

The important word here is "could".

POLITICAL NEWS

Iain Duncan Smith has made history, reports the Mirror, by becoming the first Tory leader NOT to get a wax likeness of himself displayed in top London tourist attraction Madame Tussaud's.

Waxing lyrical - Iain Duncan Smith

The attraction's operators said that meeting a waxwork Iain Duncan Smith would NOT be "an emotionally charged experience" for visitors.

Hitler has, however, been restored to pride of place after being kept in storage since 1942.

BRITNEY LATEST

There are worries that the amount of tabloid space devoted to aspects of Britney Spears may have been declining recently, in line with the tendency of older people to vote in General Elections instead of Pop Idol.

The Mirror comes to the rescue with a huge interview in which she reveals: "I do like my hair, I don't like my nose, I do like my nails but I don't like my feet".

The "Oops I've done it again" factor seems meanwhile to have invaded politics.

Britney
Britney: at war with own nose, feet and finger nails
Labour spin doctor Jo Moore - castigated for trying to "bury" bad news by exploiting the 11 September attacks - has, the Mirror alleged, been suggesting that Princess Margaret's funeral should be used in the same way.

We are not told, but it does seem likely that if asked Jo Moore would say: "I don't like my hair, I do like my nose, I don't like my nails but I do like my feet".

JORDAN LATEST

The Daily Star's favourite pin-up Jordan has meanwhile been less in evidence lately, because she is pregnant.

But the glamour model has plans to put that right, according to the rival Daily Mirror.

The paper says Jordan is planning to web-cast the birth on a pay-per-view basis.


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