Pandora: A star is born

The cosmologist and Stringfellows aficionado Stephen Hawking is to add to his CV of cameos in the world of animated television.

The Cambridge professor has "played" himself in The Simpsons and Futurama, and also featured on Family Guy. The Discovery Channel is said to be negotiating with Hawking over a series about his theories on our universe, as first expounded in A Brief History of Time. "He would be animated whilst the rest of it is in normal footage," says a source. "It would appeal to kids." Hawking drank with Homer Simpson in Moe's Tavern and declared: "Your theory of a doughnut-shaped universe is interesting. I may have to steal it." He added after the episode aired: "I only wish my real wheelchair had the rocket motors they gave me."

Blair prepares to put faith in (prep?) school for Leo

It can be one of the toughest decisions parents make: to which school should their cherished offspring be dispatched, rucksack on back?

That judgement is loaded for politicians, particularly so for former prime ministers who declared "Education, education, education" upon taking office and subsequently oversaw a decade of controversial classroom shake-ups.

Tony Blair, a Roman Catholic convert, acknowledges that sending his three older children to the prestigious London Oratory, a selective Roman Catholic comprehensive, left him open to charges of hypocrisy. "Whenever I look at education, in a sense I speak as a parent first and a politician second," he said.

Intriguing rumours circulate that the Blairs , above, have scouted Westminster Cathedral Choir School, a leading Catholic prep school for boys aged eight to 13, for their youngest son Leo, who will be eight in May. "Blair is considering sending the boy there," claims a fortuitously positioned source. Pupils are fed classical academia, Catholicism, singing, sport and hearty food; nourished to win a place at a top public school. "They are extremely self-motivated," says one teacher. Fees are £4,335 a term and there are 25 places a year, decided by testing.

A school source denies the story. If the rumour is realised – and a source close to Blair insists it is a private matter and Westminster is not the frontrunner – it would infuriate lefty opponents, who criticised his decision to snub a Catholic state school in Islington.

From the ironing board up: Weller's steamy rider

Celebrity "riders" are legend. Mariah Carey was said to have demanded "Cristal champagne, one box of bendy straws, one attendant to dispose of used chewing gum." Barbra Streisand? Rose petals in the toilet. As for Marilyn Manson: Haribo gummi bears and "a bald hooker with no teeth".

Paul Weller is more modest. At yesterday's Consequences gig for the homelessness charity Crisis, his rider stipulated only: "Six bottles of red wine (quality), 3x24 cans of lager, and an iron and ironing board." Not sure about the standard of his ironing after all the plonk, but still... The concert, featuring Graham Coxon, Dirty Pretty Things, Supergrass and The Enemy, began at 1pm and was sponsored by Drinkaware, to highlight the role alcohol abuse plays in homelessness. Punters seemed very drink aware and got stuck in at the various bars, many stocking up on two pints at a time to avoid lengthy queues.

Salami slammer

Aldo Zilli's decision to spill the borlotti and tap out an autobiography left celebrity friends choking. George Michael went pale. Chris Evans knew he must again chew over his sacking by Virgin Radio for going on a drinking bender with the Italian restaurateur and Mussolini lookalike, 52.

At least the author of Being Zilli is unspared. Zilli reveals he was imprisoned in Rome for avoiding national service. "That cell... was like every nightmare I had ever had," writes Zilli. "It stank. No fresh air had got in for generations and the remains of every bodily function seemed to be visible on the floors, walls, doors and even the ceilings... I was poked by prison doctors in a way that made my spell at the Munich clap clinic seem like a spa weekend." Enjoy your spaghetti lobster!

Hair today

Spotted in John Frieda's Mayfair salon: Margaret Hodge, the hectoring minister for culture, who describes Labour's senior females thus: "We're women of a certain age who are worried about our weight, who have forgotten what colour our natural hair is. But we're voluptuous." At Frieda's, a glamourpuss drying beneath the neighbouring Martian's helmet says: "They were discussing highlights. Hodge looked a bit worried."

* Who was this rumoured to be mashing faces with Pixie Geldof, 17, backstage at the NME Awards? Could it be the Xfm DJ Alex Zane, 29 today, who spent so much time gazing into young Pixie's eyes at last summer's Wireless Festival? Yes, the very same. Perhaps Sir Bob should be told.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?