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As the air-conditioning in our media training studios takes a well-earned rest and our commutes to work triple in time as the kids go back to school, it’s clear that ‘silly season’ has once again come to an end.
This quieter holiday period, usually between mid-July and the end of August, often sees the term ‘newsworthy’ take on an altogether more ludicrous definition.
It is a time when even the most frivolous of pitches and story ideas can generate widespread coverage.
And this year has been no exception – here is our look back at the best stories of silly season 2018:
Can’t bill me now
There was a time when Libertines frontman Pete Doherty’s rock n’ roll lifestyle made him regular tabloid fodder.
But time moves on for us all and these days he is instead making headlines for demolishing giant breakfasts in seaside resorts.
The singer defeated a ‘mega breakfast challenge’ – ranging from 4,000 to 8,000 calories in differing reports – at a Margate café.
Libertines musician Pete Doherty has been pictured devouring a huge breakfast that only around 15 other people have managed to eat at the Dalby Café in Cliftonville. It included four rashers of bacon, chips, four eggs and four sausages in under 20 minutes. pic.twitter.com/nMdHzm7LC1— BBC South East (@bbcsoutheast) August 21, 2018
Pete Doherty devours epic breakfast in under 20 minutes https://t.co/AtSTJzzscf— Evening Standard (@standardnews) August 21, 2018
Not only did he wash it down with a milkshake, but his ‘healthy’ appetite ensured he didn’t have to pay for the feast.
The Daily Mail, The Mirror, Evening Standard, and Scottish Daily Record were among those to bring us this important story.
Pick up a penguin
Scotland was the scene for some very disappointing news this summer.
Yes, Edinburgh Zoo was forced to issue a denial that it employs a ‘penguin erector’.
We're sure this will come as a disappointment to many but there is no such position here at Edinburgh Zoo 🐧— Edinburgh Zoo (@EdinburghZoo) August 20, 2018
All our illusions were shattered when it dispelled the Twitter rumour that staff were employed to pick up birds that fall over while looking at planes.
The zoo stressed that penguins don’t fall over looking at planes flying overhead and that if one does take a tumble, it is more than capable of picking itself up.
Still, the rumour and subsequent denial produced some material for the Scottish Sun and Aberdeen Evening Express among others.
Spain ‘ruined’ by Spanish
One of the more bizarre summer stories came in the form of the British pensioner who complained that her holiday to Spain had been ruined because there were too many Spanish people there.
British woman says Benidorm holiday was ruined by too many Spanish people. Take the harrowing tale of Freda Jackson, the 81-year-old Brit who just wanted a peaceful, British holiday in Spain. https://t.co/4gyf2O9EQL #LOL— Carlos Alba (@CarlosAlbaPhoto) August 15, 2018
Freda Jackson said that Spanish holidaymakers in Benidorm ‘got on her nerves’ and asked why they couldn’t go somewhere else for their holiday.
She said: “The hotel was full of Spanish holidaymakers and they really got on our nerves because they were just so rude.
“One evening a Spanish guy nearly knocked me flying and he just walked off without even apologising.
“The entertainment in the hotel was all focused and catered for the Spanish – why can’t the Spanish go somewhere else for their holidays?”.
The story received widespread coverage across national media.
Freda later claimed that her comments had been ‘taken out of context’.
Animal stories are an integral part of silly season. Previous classic examples have included squirrels on crack and rampaging stoned sheep.
In Devon, however, it was a 7ft fibreglass gorilla which made headlines this summer.
‘Peeping Kong’, as it has been dubbed by locals, is an obstacle on a safari-themed crazy golf course in Dawlish.
Nearby residents complained the animal's ‘piercing’ eyes stared through their windows.
When the owners agreed to move the gorilla 180 degrees so it faced the sea, residents then became unhappy that they had been left looking at the ape’s bottom.
Bemused owner Robert Phipps told The Telegraph: “We couldn’t believe the Peeping Tom complaint so soon after we opened. It’s only a lifelike gorilla for goodness sake.”
Speaking of squirrels, the bushy-tailed rodents have reportedly been causing terror on the streets of Germany this summer.
BBC News reported that German police had to come to the rescue of a man being chased by a baby squirrel in the south-western city of Karlsruhe.
It said officers responded to the plea for help and arrived to find the creature still terrorising the caller.
Baby squirrel attack !— John S. (@JohnDSiciliano) August 10, 2018
BBC News - German police save man from baby squirrel terror https://t.co/0ZJM6KdUcB
Cops rescue German man from a terrifying attack by a baby squirrel. Thankfully, no police intervention was required, as the squirrel suddenly decided to withdraw and go to sleep. https://t.co/kzaKBRWCyD— Mark Johnson (@poli_sci_guy) August 11, 2018
The squirrel was taken into custody after it abruptly fell asleep. It has now become the force’s new mascot and has been dubbed Karl-Friedrich.
Police spokesperson Christina Krenz revealed that squirrels that have lost their mothers can focus their attention on one person as a replacement.
“It can be pretty scary,” she said, adding that the caller “was certainly feeling a bit threatened.”
Wrong type of sand
Proving that there is almost no limit to what constitutes ‘news’ in August, a beach in Cornwall came under fire for having sand that was too wet.
A disgruntled holidaymaker left a review of Perranporth beach on TripAdvisor, slamming the sand for being ‘too damp’ for building sandcastles.
She described the beach as ‘far too busy for my liking’ and added “the beach itself looked really good for surfers, however I found the sand to be much too damp – not great for building sandcastles.”
And there was me thinking damp sand was quite an integral part of sandcastle construction.
Anyway, the review received a lot of attention and was covered by the BBC News website and The Metro among others.
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