This England: The Newsreel! Friday 6 September 2019

Tomorrow’s world

There have been some pretty bizarre inventions in the course of history but British sculptor, Giles Walker’s robot pole dancers are certainly up there.


The robots, made out of scrap metal and bits of plastic mannequins, have already performed for David Cameron and Angela Merkel at the German tech show in 2014 but now are due to ‘dance’ at a club in France.


Laurent Roue, who owns the club told The Times the whole point of the exercise was to underline the advantages of humans over machines. ‘We are one of the few economic sectors where robots will never replace people’.


Entrance to the club will be free when the robots are performing rather than the usual 20 euros.



The trouble with typos

Now well into their nineties and with their obligations under the Official Secrets Act lifted, Bletchley Park veterans are being encouraged to tell their stories as part of the Bletchley Park Trust’s oral history project.


Mr Maddocks for instance, who arrived at Bletchley 75 years ago, was put to work on tackling the Lorez cipher, a more sophisticated code than Enigma, used only for Nazi top brass, including direct messages from Hitler.

‘The job was mundane and required concentration, care and precision’, he said when talking to The Times, but he lit up when he recalled seeing the results come out of the Colossus machine. ‘At high speed we’d see beautiful, clean German text, signed by some of the most famous Nazis’, he said.

Working so hard and for such long hours, led to a blooper too though while writing a telegram to his girlfriend to cancel a rendezvous.

Instead of reporting flu, the telegram read: ‘In bed with Flo’. Oops!


Fowl play

It’s not what you’d expect from city life, but residents in Selhurst, south London, are being woken up in the wee hours every morning by an errant local cockerel.


As reported in the Evening Standard, the bird is said to be squawking from first light ‘every 45 seconds’ for up to four hours. One neighbour has even issued a ‘he goes, or I go’, ultimatum.


Not everyone is annoyed though. One resident said, ‘It’s like an alarm clock and gives you the feeling of being in the countryside but in an urban area like Croydon”. There’s positivity for you!




Woolly thinking

Sheep are flocking back to Hampstead Heath in an attempt to boost wildflowers and attract more butterflies, beetles and other insects. According to The Times, the animals used to be a common sight on the heath with famers taking flocks en route to market in the city – but they have been absent for 60 years.


The idea of bringing them back came from Lindy Guinness, the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava. She was inspired by the paintings of John Constable showing cattle grazing on the heath in the 1820s and 1830s but it was decided by the City of London Corporation that sheep would be easier to manage.


It’s hoped that the ewes will spread wildflower seeds in their dung and also keep down brambles, gorse and sycamore saplings that can choke delicate plants.