THE OPEN UNIVERSITY has produced some high fliers - but none so spectacular as the aerial acrobats who'll be thrilling audiences in the Millennium Dome from the start of the new year.

Forty-two of the Millennium Show's performers hold a Certificate in Higher Education in Circus validated by Open University Validation Services.

The 18-month Circus Skills course, offered by one of Europe's top three circus centres, The Circus Space, included trapeze, trampolining and acrobatics. Specially developed for the Millennium Show, the Certificate has now been expanded into the country's first BA in Circus, which is also validated by the University.

Visitors to the Millennium Dome, who can see the show up to five times a day in the 50-metre high central arena, are unlikely to spot the OU connection. But on the ground is a less-surprising Millennium OU exhibit - the award-winning course, Computing: An Object-Oriented Approach, which has been named by the Design Council as a Millennium Product.

Yvonne Cook