Topical Material 19th July

July 25, 2010

Well excuse me for releasing this a week later, but this is material which was submitted to Newsjack last week. Sadly, none of it was used. Here it is:

Vox Pops

  • A group of adolescent gorillas have been observed playing tag by scientists. Shortly afterwards, they mugged a baboon, stole some coconuts and went joy-riding on a zebra.
  • Scientists have been giving popular names to endangered British species. A beetle which lurks in the darkness and feeds only off other beetles has been named the Mandelson.
  • American bank Goldman Sachs has been fined $550m for allegedly misleading clients over mortgage-backed securities. Senior managers at the bank played down the significance of the fine, assuring shareholders that they’ll earn it back by writing one letter to the US government about its overdraft facility.

Corrections and Clarifications

  • We wish to apologise to Premier Wen Jiabao of China. We reported that he said China would not flee the Euro. Of course, he actually said that China would not free the Euro.
  • The FBI have apologised to the so-called Barefoot Bandit, who spent two years stealing expensive yachts, cars and planes. They didn’t realise that he was, in fact, a trainee banker for Goldman Sachs.
  • Apple has issued a fresh denial that the iPhone 4 suffers from a loss of signal. A spokesman assured owners of the iPhone 4 that, if anything, other people can see even more clearly that they’re geeks.
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Newsjack Recording

July 16, 2010

Last night I had an email from Newsjack, the BBC7 satirical news show. Unknown to me, least one of my submissions had been performed the previous night in front of a studio audience. Unfortunately, my contribution(s) was/were cut from the final broadcast for reasons of time.

I felt that was a huge milestone in my writing life. Sure, I have no broadcast credit – but my writing was considered to be of a standard worthy of broadcast on the BBC. A writer-friend told me this evening that this is surely the highest accolade in the English-speaking world. Too kind, too kind.

I submitted some topical one-liners and a single sketch. I believe it was probably the sketch which made the grade because it was about Blair confessing to Pope Benedict XVI. Rather than let the writing go to waste, I thought I’d share it. You can view the sketch here: Tony Blair Confession. Here are the topical one-liners. I would imagine that in a few years these will be completely incomprehensible:

  • Zenna Atkins, Chair of Ofsted, said that schools could learn from private industry in the way they deal with bad teachers. Presumably they’ll be promoted and then given multi-million pound bonuses when pupils fail their exams.
  • European space probe Rosetta has flown past the asteroid Lutetia. The 75-mile long rock was easily identifiable because it has the word Lutetia on each end.
  • Botox has been approved for headaches. Scientists aren’t sure how effective the treatment is, but people look much better afterwards.
  • Roman Polanski is not going to be extradited for sentencing in the States. He’s now sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Switzerland. His lawyers may appeal against the decision.

Computerised Cancer Screening

December 30, 2009

The NHS today announced plans to introduce computers to help doctors screen for cancer. Brilliant – advice on diagnosing complex cancers from a machine that can’t even tell whether it’s got a virus.