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
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor