Stop this balloon I want to get off

Which four people would form your balloon crew from hell? Which quartet would make you ditch so quickly that Richard Branson would look like Phileas Fogg by comparison? We posed the question on Tuesday and readers responded with all the hunger of publicity-crazed tycoons.

Cabinet ministers had no trouble picking up votes: the Michaels Howard and Heseltine leading the chase, Portillo close behind, Dr Mawhinney trailing. Great names from television and the arts soon followed: Chris Evans, Ruby Wax, Anthea Turner, Paula Yates.

But it's not only bad company that is bad company in a balloon. Too much company is equally unwelcome, hence Nick Laitner's crew comprising Luciano Pavarotti, Cyril Smith, Vanessa Feltz and Nicholas Soames, and Christopher Gardner's: Pavarotti, Smith, Soames and Konishiki, a sumo wrestler. Sarah Pilkington offered horrors that mere humans could not contrive unaided or unmutated: Rod Hull and Emu, Elaine Paige, Mr Blobby and Edward Scissorhands.

In the main, though, it was mental stress you imagined. Geraldine Burke's "ultimate lethal crew" was Ian Paisley, Bernard Manning, Norman Tebbit and David Starkie. Hazel Laitner offered a surrealist's dream involving Le Petomane, Job, Virginia Bottomley and the same Ian Paisley. Carol- Anne Hodgson, with a care for the sensitive of soul, looked to Jo Brand, Gary Bushell, Bernard Manning and Diane Abbott.

Certain namesrecurred with striking frequency. A final tally gave us a top 10. In equal seventh place were Mark Thatcher, Michael Howard, Michael Heseltine and Roger Gale MP. Just above them came Chris Evans, Bernard Manning and Paul Gascoigne. In third place was Baroness Thatcher; in second, Max Clifford. But no one came close to the outright winner: the Rev Ian Paisley MP.

As well as offering a challenge, we promised a prize for the most disturbing crew. Some of the performers on BBC2's Late Review would give anybody pause for thought (except themselves). So too would John Francmanis' "any four contributors to Thought for the Day on Radio 4's Today programme". But in the end, we had to admit that a balloonful of Michael Jackson, Anthea Turner, Michael Winner and Teresa Gorman who would be as unfun a place to be as could be imagined. Champagne then to Emma Jardin from Rainham, Kent.

A final thought. Can you live with yourselves for allowing Jimmy Tarbuck, Paul Johnson and John Redwood - to name but three - to go free?n

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

    Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

    Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee