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MULES? NO, PIGEONS are apparently the new preferred drug-couriers. An exhausted pigeon landed on an offshore oil platform in the North Sea this week, according to the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang. Riggers on platform B-11 discovered the bird had five grams (0.17 ounces) of hash taped to its legs. So, how do you know if your pigeon is a bit fly? Three sure-fire signs: 1) It seems to think "home" is your bathroom. 2) Your bird starts flying round in circles because it suspects someone's following it. 3) It's supposed to race from Scunthorpe to Skegness, but makes an unscheduled stop-over in Amsterdam. 4) ...and still arrives 45 minutes early.

GLORIA STUART, the 89-year-old silent-movie star who gained a new lease of professional life in Titanic, tells us rather more than we need to know about her sex life in her autobiography. I Just Kept Hoping could be described as an oral history. Stuart, who founded the Screen Actors Guild, also seems to have slept with it. The game dame, who makes the Oscar-winner and London mayoral runner Glenda J seem pretty tame, says that the hardest bit of seducing handsome men in old Hollywood was the competition from Errol Flynn.

G'DAY BLUE: An Australian farmer claims to have bred the planet's first flock of blue sheep.


ROBERT DOWNEY Jr, currently behind bars on narcotics charges, had a surprise the other day. One of the screws pitched a script at him. The guy began by explaining: "It's about unicorns..."

MAX CLIFFORD, master of the dark art of spinning for the rich and infamous, was spotted opening the Merton Lions Club summer show in Morden Park the other day. He was inveigled into the gig by Martin Smith, a school friend who now runs the charitable organisation. The duo used to run cross-country in the park when they attended Pelham Secondary School back in the day. A jog down memory lane then, Max? "We used to hide in the bushes and rejoin the pack on the second lap," Clifford (pictured, fondling someone else's giant marrow) reveals.

SPIKE MILLIGAN looks as if he'll emerge as "the funniest man of the millennium" among BBC On-Line's voters. Ahead of Laurel & Hardy, the Pythons, Charlie Chaplin, French and Saunders, Steve Coogan...? Either Prince Charles has organised a mail-in with his Poshopolis pals. Or the BBC's On-Line profile skews older than we thought...

WHO WANTS to Be a Millionaire is storming US TV. The show has been all-conquering in its prime-time slot, drawing 23.2 million eyeballs, and has, astoundingly, won critical plaudits from cynical Yank tele- hacks. Another example of Brits reinventing America? Not quite. Their version features Regis Philbin, who's as controversial as a bar of soap. Pandora prefers Chris Tarrant's slightly more sinister "Are you sure that's your final answer?" approach. Too racy for the Wal-Mart crowd, obviously.

RODDY DOYLE's publisher Dan Franklin keeps a copy of Ulysses in his lav. Did someone say "writer's block"?

ON LOCATION in Rosereto, Mexico, an animatronic shark grabbed LL Cool J underwater as the cameras rolled. "It almost drowned me," LL observes. "And I'm supposed to act like it doesn't bother me?" In the Old School rap star's new flick In Too Deep, LL plays a character called God. Of course, he's the villain.

OH, AND "I can do anything," Linda Evangelista once said, "As long as you don't ask me to speak." Helena Christensen, supermodel and editor of Nylon, clearly has a mind of her own on such matters. "I love all cheese," she tells the new GQ, "French cheese, Italian cheese, even British cheese. I've seriously thought about getting a cheese tattoo. A nice Edam on my shoulder, maybe."

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