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STIFF COMPETITION FOR BORE OF THE YEAR

The good news for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Bafta, is that scrutineers will be on hand to ensure that the awards do go to the winners selected by the judges: last year, you'll recall, Prime Suspect won 'Best Television Serial' despite the allegation (unproved) that four of the seven-member jury cast their votes for GBH. The bad news is that BBC 2 intends to deliver a cruel dig at the good Academy by screening Bores of the Year - a sort of anti- Bafta awards - the week before BBC 1 broadcasts Bafta's official ceremony. Conceived by Harry Thompson, producer of Have I Got News For You, and Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, Bores will parody some of the more excessive bouts of navel- gazing that such awards inspire. Peter Cook, Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton and Hislop will spend a day studying nominations. 'The votes will be handed to the chairman and ignored,' explains Thompson. 'It will all be completely rigged.' In fact it already has been. We can reveal the following: John Sessions would have won the 'Luvviest Actor' award had he not been presenting it; 'Youth Bore of the Year' will go to anybody or thing connected with The Word; elsewhere Melvyn Bragg is up for 'Most Gratuitous Sex Scene' for A Time to Take Off Your Clothes, though, we're told, he faces a stiff (cheap) challenge from Linford Christie for his performance in the Olympic 100m final. It's thought that Alan Yentob, controller of BBC 2, agreed to the bogus awards ceremony as a wheeze to pull the rug from under BBC 1 - that's the BBC 1 of which he now finds himself temporary controller.

THE BODY count in Shetland in the aftermath of the Braer wreck is being finalised. The corpses of four sea otters have been brought in: but only one was found to have died as a result of the oil. 'Natural causes' did for two more, and the fourth was run over by a Norwegian film crew reporting the disaster.

CAMERA SHY

The 'lamb cutlets Reform' served by the director-general of MI5 to her excited MP guests yesterday were chosen, of course, because she is a member of the club of that name - not because she's sponsoring any further shake-up among the Funny People. Though the MPs failed to get the joke, they should at least have had no trouble working out which one their host was - not so easy a task. The media have unearthed only one photograph of Stella Rimington (it's owned by the New Statesman, which has made enough from it to pay for the magazine's redesign) and she has none of those tell-tale spook looks, such as gunmetal blue eyes or total albinism. Max Hastings, the editor-in-chief of the Telegraphs, is said still to be kicking himself for the fact that she took him up on an invitation to his office party last month, but was recognised by no one, was too modest to introduce herself, and left early and without his Christmas good wishes.

HERE'S a story we prepared earlier: Blue Peter was offering a leaflet telling you how to make Tracy Island, home of the Thunderbirds, out of cereal boxes and yoghurt pots. But 100,000 requests for it have arrived, costing pounds 15,000 a week to process - now Tracy Islands are stop.

NASAL ASSAULT

Next month, Cosmopolitan tells us proudly, it will subject its readers to the first 'touch and smell' perfume ad (that's the polite form of 'scratch'n'sniff'). Better, at least, than the scent ads with lift-off strips that currently seem to leak into every corner of the newsagent's. American publishers now offer fragrance-free copies of magazines on special request: British objectors to this rape of the olfactory nerve should protest to the publishers along the lines of a letter recently received by the New Yorker from one Franklin Heller: 'A very noxious and pervacious (sic) odour invaded this house with the mail today. I think it is connected with an advertisement for perfume, but it is hardly attractive. I am an elderly asthmatic, allergic to perfume, and, although I have retched occasionally at some material in the New Yorker, I never vomited on it before.'

LAST night's opening of the RSC's Richard III at the Donmar Warehouse was cancelled because Richard, Simon Russell Beale, had a bad back. To which you can only say - what's new?

A DAY LIKE THIS

19 January 1923 Robert Byron, in his first term at Merton College, Oxford, writes to his mother: 'The problems of life that confront one here are: 1. How to find time to do any work. 2. How to get to bed before one (a shilling fine imposed every time you enter the college after eleven - I have been in once this term before). 3. How to get drunk cheaply. 4. How to be rude first. 5. How to sign one's name. We had a wonderful evening last night. Alfred Duggan gave a dinner party, followed by a visit to a dance hall in the Cowley Road. After seven glasses of champagne, two of port and the paraphernalia of cocktails and liqueurs attendant on these orgies I found myself dancing the Boston two-step with feeling and I only then realised what the joy of dancing was. I have a very strong head, which is an accomplishment here.'

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