The Planets

The planets are named after the characters in a radio soap opera written by Gustav Holst during the First World War. Though known since ancient times, they have only recently been mapped by the Ordnance Survey to help walkers exercise their right to roam across the entire solar system.

In order of proximity to the nearest Starbucks, the planets are as follows:

Mercury - the current Mercury is actually a replacement, put into orbit in 1974 after the original was stolen. An awards ceremony takes place each year on the planet, when a panel of judges awards the Mercury Music Prize for the UK's best pop song about science.
Size: 17
Goals against: 8

Venus - Venus is named after a character created by the Roman business magnate and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus as part of a campaign to boost sales of clams. Venus became associated with love because clams were thought to be an aphrodisiac by Lucius Menius, a shopkeeper in Tarentum in the late 1st Century BC.
Loveliness: 86
Poisonousness: 99
Just like love

Earth - the earth is home to the only intelligent life in the entire universe, but unfortunately this has not been located yet.

Mars - contrary to popular myth, Mars is not made of chocolate; it is in fact made of soap. It has two moons, Deimos and Phobos, which translate from the ancient Greek as 'panic' and 'fear'. They are so named in acknowledgement of the reaction bathtime elicits in many young children.
Bellicosity: 80
Chocolatiness: 2

Jupiter - named after the King of the Gods in Roman mythology, Jupiter is both the largest and the smallest of the planets. No-one knows how it manages this. Jupiter has a large red spot which is in fact a bruise from a collision with Neptune. It should clear up in a couple of weeks.
Size: 110
Sense of smell: 25

Saturn - Saturn is famed for its rings, each of which is made from a different material, starting with papier mache, tin foil and toilet roll tubes in the inner rings, through plasticine, snot, flags and glass in the middle sections, to hair, gold, bread and tears in the outer rings. Saturn itself is just a big ball of rock, and has 'Greetings from Eastbourne' written across its core.
Distance from Birmingham: 157
Liking of opera: 74

Uranus - despite its name, Uranus is a planet. It has many moons, including Sun Myung Moon, Howard Moon and Blue Moon, and the Moomins, which are to be more precise asteroids. On Neptune it is illegal to play ball games or have barbecues.
Ruthlessness: 15
Miles per gallon: 46.3

Neptune - Neptune is one of the gas giants, along with Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, which is what gives it a slight eggy smell. Neptune is the largest producer of margarine and vegetable oil products in the solar system.
Rings: 7
Hats: 3

Pluto - although traditionally included in the list of 9 planets, Pluto has been scientifically re-evaluated in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries and found to be a rodent. It orbits the sun once a week, and twice at Christmas.
Pluckiness: 82
Shoe size: 9

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes have been at the forefront of housing development in the UK for 30 years, with their largest purpose-built estates in Slough, Norwich, Chester and Narnia. Their popular detached and semi-detached house designs, including the Deerstalker, the Watson and the Moriarty, are known for their no-nonsense, solid build, hence the slogan 'No Shit Sherlock', used in a short-lived advertising campaign in the 1980s.

The Battle of Waterloo

Following the death of Edward the Confessor in January 1066, a dynastic struggle broke out, with the Saxon King Harold Godwinson, Norwegian King Harald Hardrada, and pop-band Abba all contesting the throne of England.
After the coronation of Godwinson, both Hardrada and Abba mounted invasions of England. Hardrada landed his ships on the Yorkshire coastline and headed inland. He was defeated by Godwinson at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea FC had kindly provided their home ground as the venue for the battle.
Abba, on the other hand, travelled into London on the Eurostar, having obtained cheap tickets for their entire army by collecting coupons in the Sun newspaper. They were met at Waterloo International station by an exhausted Saxon army under Harold Godwinson. After a bloody battle that raged in and around WHSmith, Sock Shop and the bagel kiosk, the Saxons were defeated. Abba took the throne of England and celebrated their victory with their number 1 hit 'Fernando'.

See also Dame Shirley Portaloo, the Bakerloo line (inaugurated by Sherlock Holmes), and the Peterloo Stringfellow massacre.


Science was invented in fin-de-siecle Norway by Roald Dahl who was wondering how long he should leave his socks in the tumble dryer. To answer his own question, he divided the situation into three disciplines: Biology, Chemistry and the Physic. In so doing, he not only discovered that socks should be tumble dried for an optimum time of 7.3 mins, but also generated an infinite field of academic enquiry that has chanced upon the answers to some of life's greatest mysteries, such as Geoff Capes or Nicholas Parsons.
Most of science takes place in people's basements or in the spare room. To qualify as a scientist, it is required that you wear a proud moustache and own at least one change of underwear for every day of the week. If you want to apply to be a member of the scientific community, you have to fill in a form with your name and your birthday and what you want for Christmas and tick a box for which discipline you feel best suited: Biology, Chemistry or Advanced Eugenics. If you tick the last box a policeman may come round to your house though, so be sure to answer the question correctly.
Some famous scientists include people like Poirot, Inspector Morse, Columbo and Tosh (from The Bill). Some of the more well known scientific discoveries include how to get tiny ships in wine bottles and Nicholas Parsons.


A supergroup formed in the late 1960s by the coming together of Noel Edmonds, Noel Fielding, Noel Coward and Pele. After early pop hits such as 'Lovely llama lady', 'I brought flowers for you but a dog ate them' and 'My mum wears trousers like that', they entered a darker psychedelic phase, releasing now seminal pieces such as 'Dark Park Lark', 'Away with the hairy fairies' and 'This isn't my dinner'. The pressures of touring and artistic differences led to Noel Coward splitting away from the group and forming his own punk act 'Bitsch Putsch'. Without the glue he provided the band quickly fell apart (solvent abuse was rife in the pop world at this point). Pele became a professional footballer after constructing his own bionic legs following a car accident. Noel Fielding invented false teeth and thereafter lived off the proceeds. No-one knows the whereabouts of Noel Edmonds.


Not what you think it is.


An unpleasant substance added to bathroom walls and ceilings to make them look 'lived in'. Named after comedian and raconteur Victor Mildew, who, on being told that the bathroom of a luxury townhouse contained original Edwardian fittings, said, 'I don't believe you.'


Birds are creatures of the air, like angels. They evolved hundreds of years ago from dinosaurs, which in turn evolved from eggs. You can often recognise a bird from its song. Most birds like pop songs, but some like classical – the bald eagle for example is a big fan of Rachmaninov, although lately the species has been discovered listening to contemporary works from Phillip Glass. One of the best ways to tell what sort of bird you are looking at is to check its CD collection.
Another distinguishing feature of birds, or wildfowl as they are known, is the gigantic pair of wings that frequently protrude from their bodies. Wings consist of two very large feathers that go up and down in a process known to the scientific community as ‘flapping.’ As one goes up the other goes down, and through this intuitive harnessing of one of the key principles of physics (Einstein’s theory of relativity – ‘what goes up must come down’), they have mastered the power of flight. Often you will find a pigeon flying around the engine of a Boeing 747 or until very recently a Concorde. Concorde itself is part bird, part plane, like superman. There are many different species of birds, outlined in further detail below, but some favourites are the mallard, the ostrich and the Boeing 747.