Oh glorious day.

Cue manic laughter.


Look, kittens!
At work it's good form to create the odd "original" package occasionally, taking pictures fed by one of the agencies, knocking out a short script and putting it all together to provide something the rest of the Beeb doesn't have time or possibly interest to cover. It mixes up our work, helps us hit our objectives for creativity, and sometimes proves very popular with the site's users.

This piece about a pair of baby snow leopards born at Berlin Zoo is my first production in 18 months. Not exactly hard news, I know, but it's the first offering since the Great Gorilla Disappointment of 2004, which knocked my confidence and put me right off packaging material.

I'm something of a reluctant broadcaster, feeling much more at home expressing myself in type. I tend to seize up in front of a microphone. Strange for a kid who grew up on the stage, I know, but there you go. Besides which, I think there are people better and more naturally suited to this kind of work - Sam, for one.

Despite the fact I hate listening to my voice, and think there's still room for improvement, I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. Hopefully the next thing (for next there must certainly be) will be another notch up the scale. After all, practice makes adequate.


Oh please!
Pleasepleaseplease, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!


If all has gone according to plan then today Mr Danny Fantastic should have set off on his journey to India.

"Big wow," some might say, "India's so 90s." Or, "Terrific! What a place to visit. Not the best weather at this time of year, but hey, who needs the sun?."

But for those who don't know the thing that makes Dan's trip a little different is that - but for the little matter of the English channel - he's planning on cycling pretty much all the way from Barnet to Bombay (and maybe a little bit further) with just 40GB of iRiver music and a big book to keep him from losing his marbles.

Having packed in his job with the evil Murdoch Superglobomegacorp, he'll ride through Europe, Turkey, Iran, and on to India, camping where he can, relying on the kindness of strangers when necessary, and maybe giving the odd dusky local beauty a story or two to tell about her night with the strange English boy who rode through town one day.

He even has the ambition of providing local news outlets with the occasional outrageous "And finally..." along the way.

Whatever he gets up to, he's promised to document at least some of it along the way, on his specially built blog.

We're not expecting him back for about nine months, and he'll leave a big hole behind. As a founding member of Albatross his reliability, intelligence and steadying influence will be missed at the pub quiz. And it's strange to think that we won't be seeing his big smiley face, listening to another of his seemingly endless supply of fresh anecdotes, hearing him play sax, or just talking crap over beer for a long while.

I think I'm right in saying we're still building our friendship after a fairly slow, tentative start that dates back several years, but this much I know: he's a good man, a good friend, and he'll be missed.

God speed, Dan. Travel safe, and come back soon.


Things I mistakenly never thought I'd do (number something in an occasional series)

Play the voice of Diego Maradona in a professional broadcast. Honest.

Hello, by the way. Sorry about the lengthy silence. I've had a lot on my mind. Hopefully that's all out of the way, though. Good to be back.