So ... is Angus Deayton an alien?

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Today I announce the publication of a book which I predict will turn out to be the best-seller of the 1995 Christmas season. It is called Great Mysteries of 1995 and what it sets out to do, apart from make me a fortune and emulate such great money-spinners of the past such as The Bermuda Triangle, is simply to survey the great mysteries of 1995.

Here is a run-down of a few of the most baffling dealt with in the book.

Whatever happened to crop circles?

All during the Eighties and Nineties there was an outbreak of attractive geometric patterns in British crop fields which caused something of a furore. Books, articles, television programmes flooded out on the subject. Now, nobody cares less about crop circles. What is the reason for this baffling lack of interest? Are the circles still appearing? Have they all gone somewhere else? Were they all hoaxes? Did we dream it all?

Where did Balti cooking come from?

No Indian in Britain had ever heard of Balti cooking before it appeared. Nobody in India had ever heard of Balti cooking. Nobody in Britain knows where in India it comes from. Nobody, if pushed to it, can satisfactorily define Balti cooking. There may not even be such a thing, yet it was one of the great success stories of 1995. So where did it come from? From outer space, as some think? From Delia Smith under an assumed name, as others suspect? Great Mysteries of 1995 inspects all the theories rigorously.

Is someone trying to ban Michael Howard from Britain?

The new Bill on immigration and asylum would have excluded Michael Howard's Romanian parents from coming to Britain, so why is he promoting a Bill to exclude people like his parents? Or is it more complex than that? Is it the Home Office itself that is anxious to promote the Bill so that, once it is law, it can be made retrospective to enable them eject Howard from this country, thus ridding the Home Office of the most noxious Home Secretary in history?

Is Angus Deayton really as dishy as he looks?

No, that's not the question. Angus Deayton does look a bit of a dish, but so would you if you sat between Ian Hislop and Paul Merton every week. The real question is: how do you pronounce his name and why is it spelt like that? Is he Dayton, as in Ohio, or is he Deeton, as in Mrs Beeton? And why is it spelt "Deay", when there is no other word in the English language with that combination of vowels? Does Angus Deayton in fact come from another planet where that spelling is common and where those looks are commonplace, and where it is actually thought funny to say things like: "And after that round Ian's team has an under-exposed 5, while Paul's team has surged into the lead with a well-developed 6"?

Does the Nobel Peace Prize exist or doesn't it?

This year's Nobel Peace Price went to a British citizen, Joseph Rotblatt, for his lifelong work campaigning against nuclear arms. Nobody can remember the last time this hugely prestigious award came to Britain. Yet nobody in the Government has even acknowledged the prize, let alone made a fuss of it. Why not? Why is the Government ashamed of seeing the Nobel Peace Prize come to Britain? Are they even now selling nuclear arms to Saddam Hussein? Is Joseph Rotblatt actually from another planet altogether? Or, as seems more likely, is it the Tory government that has alien origins? Great Mysteries of 1995 looks at all the angles.

Was this the richest year on record for British water companies?

Nobody can remember a year in which profits, bonuses and fees rained so heavily on water companies in Britain. It was certainly the richest year since records began. Was this just a freak? In the words of the head of Yorkshire Water, is it a case that "Every 200 years or so there is a year so unpredictably profitable that there is no earthly way of seeing it coming"? Or was there some murkier and not so palatable reason? Were there dark, unearthly forces at work?

Why on earth did anyone ever want the Beatles to get together again, now that we know what happens when they do?

The answer, according to Great Mysteries of 1995, is "God knows, but we won't make that mistake again".