Huws At Ten

In case you didn’t know, The BBC’s News At Ten is basically the UK’s main news programme (sorry to ITV).

It’s presented by a man called Huw Edwards, which makes him basically the UK’s main news person. He’s the guy the BBC parachutes in whenever there’s a major news story. When the Queen died, he was on air for about a million hours.

One day, a few years ago, I noticed something very unusual about Huw Edwards: He always started The New At Ten in exactly the same pose.

Obviously, this had to be turned into a Twitter account. So along with my colleague Matt Hewitt I started @HuwsAtTen.

Every day, we posted a screenshot of Huw doing exactly the same pose at the start of the news, and every day we’d get a handful of followers having a laugh in the comments section.

Then one of those followers sent the account to a journalist, and we ended up on pretty much every news website in the country.

We then made the news again when Huw deliberately changed his pose to send the internet into meltdown, and that Christmas we awarded a money-can’t-buy @HuwsAtTen calendar to the person who could best recreate the iconic Huw Edwards pose.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Earlier this year the BBC changed the layout of their news studio, meaning that Huw now starts the news standing up.

Matt and I made the difficult decision to bring @HuwsAtTen to an end, but we’ve left the account active so we can look back on many happy years of viral screenshotting.

Besides, you never know when The BBC might decide to invest in a new table…

How Old Is Henry?

t’s the question on everyone’s lips: How old would Henry VIII be, were he alive today?

Happily, I was able to provide an answer to this age-old conundrum with one of my very first stupid Twitter accounts, @HowOldIsHenry.

Powered by a bot, How Old Is Henry would tweet automatically once every twenty-four hours to remind followers how old our most infamous monarch would be, were he still with us.

Sadly, a few months ago, the account had to stop tweeting.

The online service I was using to host the bot decided to withdraw its free pricing tier. As much as I loved watching people celebrate Henry’s advancing years, it wasn’t really worth paying £7.99 a month for.

For now, I’m keeping the feed online as a permanent record of the account’s sheer stupidity.

And you never know, there might be a way of bringing Henry back at some point in the future.

The Two Biscuits Permissions Bot

You might remember this viral two biscuits episode from the depths of lockdown.

Sky News editor Deborah Haynes was busy telling us about something currently going on in the world (I don’t think anyone can remember exactly what), when she was suddenly interrupted by her young son, asking for her permission to eat two whole biscuits.

The news, of course, was derailed; and we might never find out what happened in the end of whichever story it was she was talking about in the first place.

She was also cut rather abruptly short by whatever the name of the bloke is who was anchoring the program, which a lot of us felt was a bit uncalled for.

I immediately knew that something like this must never be allowed to happen again.

The people behind the scenes at Sky News cannot be put in a position where they have to choose between giving viewers the news they desperately crave, and allowing a small child to starve to death.

Solution: The Biscuit Permissions Bot

That night, I set to work building a Twitter bot which would entirely automate the process of children asking their parents’ permission for biscuits.

All Britain’s youth have to do now is tweet @two_biscuits with their request. After weighty consideration, the bot will come down on one side or the other.

At the same time, parents everywhere will be liberated: Not only will they have additional time to get on with important items of business in their daily lives, but they can do so safe in the knowledge that their children are not going hungry.

Note: Recently, the platform where the bot that powered @two_biscuits was hosted decided to remove their free pricing tier. As much as I loved this Twitter account, it probably wasn’t worth paying £8 a month for, so it’s currently out of action.

Please don’t tweet asking for biscuits, because your request will be denied. Speak to a grownup instead.