Why Mr Bloom makes my heart beet that little bit faster
Hands up who fancies Mr Bloom? I know half the women readers out there are saying 'Who?' but I bet the other half are giving a wry little smile because you know exactly who I'm talking about.
Mr Bloom, for the uninitiated, is the gardening star of CBeebies – adored by toddlers for his catchy tunes and talking vegetables. And lusted after by their mums who recently caused a bit of stir in the BBC with their risqué online comments on what they'd like to get up to in his shed.
At first glance, there's not much to fancy about Mr Bloom, whose show (starred in, written and conceived by the actor Ben Faulks) encourages youngsters to learn all about the environment.
He wears a tank top, oversized wellies and a trilby with unruly locks poking out from underneath. He sings a song called Meet the Veggies with a straight face, talks to a cabbage called Margaret and dances around in a potting shed.
But there's something about him that I could never quite put my finger on. He has an infectious twinkle in his eye, a lovely smile and is clearly adored by the children who star in the show. I used to think I was the only one who had a wee thing for him until I came across an online discussion among mums which raised both eyebrows, to say the least. I clearly wasn't the only one who sometimes found themselves tuning in to Mr Bloom's Nursery, even when there was no child in the house to use as an excuse.
One Mumsnet post compared him to Sean Bean in Lady Chatterley's Lover, another said she would love the children's television star to "bed me down for the night".
There are hundreds of comments to this effect so the BBC should have known better than to start its own discussion about his merits on the CBeebies website recently. The conversation was hijacked by randy mums and, in the end, staff had to remove more than 20 comments that were deemed inappropriate in case they were seen by young fans. Many of them were too rude to repeat here, but the word 'melons' featured. In fact, only a handful of the hundreds of posts were serious questions about the show. You get the idea – Mr Bloom's got quite a fan base and not all of them are in the under-six age bracket CBeebies is aiming for.
On closer inspection, it seems Mr Bloom is not the only CBeebies character or presenter who stirs the loins of a nation of clearly bored mums. There are also fan sites dedicated to Sid and Andy, the big cook in Big Cook Little Cook (what?), Robert the Robot and Justin Fletcher. Yes, that's right, Justin Fletcher. He's the hardest working man on kids' TV but did someone seriously just confess to wanting a tumble with, er, Mr Tumble?
After reading hundreds of downright deranged posts about things children's idols should not be getting up to, I suddenly felt quite tame in my innocent affection for Mr Bloom. At least he isn't a singing clown. At least he's a human, unlike Robert the Robot.
Mr Bloom himself (a married father of three, which I know because of the slightly sinister element of mums who have researched his personal life) is remarkably laid back about all the fuss and innuendo he has sparked.
When asked about the BBC hijacking, he replied modestly: "It's really nice that the show is popular." And, of course, that just adds to the fancy factor.
That’s a royally good idea, Kay ...
There aren’t many things I agree with Kay Burley on but we’re of identical minds on — granny pants.
The Sky News presenter had some sage advice for the Duchess of Cambridge after the Royal bottom caused a circulation boost for the German tabloid newspaper Bild.
She told Kate to invest in some big pants in order to save her blushes the next time a gust of wind blows a flimsy dress up in the air.
Was the Duchess going commando? Was she wearing a g-string?
All these lofty questions that no-one would ever ponder if only she’d been wearing some substantial underwear.
Caroline serves up lesson in real class
You have to admire Caroline Wozniacki for turning up to face the heat at the French Open just days after being unceremoniously dumped by fiance Rory McIlroy.
The tennis star had to endure public scrutiny of her heartbreak while trying to keep a brave face and win a Grand Slam at the same time. Meanwhile, Rory was basking in golfing glory.
If fairytales came true, Caroline would have stormed to championship victory — fuelled by sorrow and anger. Alas, she was dumped out in the first round, but deserves credit for turning up at all when the rest of us would have gone into hiding.