1. Perhaps I’m just being a bit picky, but to me, the branding of the Eccleston-era Doctor Who DVD boxed set as ‘the Complete Series One’ seems rather off the mark.

2. You work for HSBC, and have falsely suspended John’s bank account despite his objections. John lodges a complaint, which is acknowledged, and an investigation commences. During this investigation, should you:

A) Send him a letter inviting him to upgrade his account to ‘bank account plus’ for an extra £12 a month?

B) Send him a letter telling him he’s a valued and important customer, and that he’s been pre-approved for a credit card?

C) Suspend his account once more without notifying him ?


D) All of the above, on consecutive days?

(The answer is D. I kid you not.)

3. I see that the DVD release of the comedy series ‘Extras’ is only available in one edition. I think this is a wise move as it prevents people having to go into shops and ask for ‘the Extras DVD with the extra DVD with the DVD extras’.

4. Female circumcision is a vicious and abhorrent act of mutilation. A man having his penis cut off is a rich source of humour. Discuss why this is, using your own words as far as possible – extra points will be awarded for accurate use of the term ‘socialisation’, and reference to the work of Lorena Bobbit.

5. Will, I wonder, the location of the 2012 Olympic Village have any effect on the storylines in EastEnders ? I’d like to think so, though as anyone who lives in East London will tell you, the programme’s not exactly realistic – leaving aside the fact that it’s swarming with as many gangsters as a Scorsese film, the fact that Walford has its own tube station sets it pretty firmly in the fictional realm.

6. I gave up watching the film version of Popeye after an hour or so, during which time the Sailor Man hadn’t eaten any spinach. In a similar fashion, I used to get annoyed with the Popeye cartoons, as he always seemed to wait until the last possible opportunity before opening the can of green stuff. But I’m beginning to wonder if what I actually disliked was the fact he was holding back, as this is perhaps the tendency I find most annoying in myself (a fiercely-contended contest, obviously). Carpe diem, oh my readers, lest you should mistakenly think there will always be another opportunity for spinach. Learn from my mistakes. Hell, somebody should.

7. For those of you of an anti-ID card way of thinking, you might like to bear in mind that UK Passports will increase in cost at the start of December, the rise helping to pay for biometric information being added to passports. This latter starts in Feb 2006, as I understand it. When’s your passport due for renewal? Hmm?

8. I mentioned Doctor who earlier. If you’d said to me a decade ago that Doctor Who and a minor variation on Come Dancing would be the staples of BBC1’s Saturday evening line-up, I … well, I wouldn’t have believed you, that’s for sure.

9. Whatever happened to Deborah McKinlay ? She used to have a monthly column in Esquire in the mid-1990s, and she wrote four very funny books in as many years, but now I can’t find any apparent trace of her still being an active writer. Which would be a shame, as she was very funny indeed. If you know otherwise, please let me know.