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.

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

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil