Boris Johnson's 'Commons comeback', Bake Off 'smut' and who is James Corden?
Much excitement is generated by London Mayor Boris Johnson's admission that he's aiming to return to Westminster at the next election.
The Daily Mail says it's sparked "Boris fever", while the Sun announces: "BoJo is go-go." Daily Express columnist Leo McKinstry reckons Mr Johnson is "on his way to political greatness". The writer says that not only would Mr Johnson's election "strengthen the credibility of [the Conservatives'] Euroscepticism" but that he "reaches the parts [of the electorate] that other Tories cannot".
That phrase crops up in several papers and is summed up by the Daily Star's editorial, which says that - despite being a "posh boy from Eton" - Mr Johnson is a "man of the people".
Despite that, Daily Telegraph sketchwriter Michael Deacon found the announcement made by a politician "looking more than ever like a man who has spent the night in a barn". He writes: "Even by his own matchless standards, he was superbly dishevelled. Every time he flourished an arm I half-expected a mouse to tumble out of his sleeve."
Mr Johnson's biographer Sonia Purnell describes him in the Daily Mirror as "the ultimate PR man". She writes: "All the off-the-cuff stuff, the rambling speeches, the antics, the silly quotes - the infamous whiff-whaff ping-pong quote, the stuff about standing more chance of being reincarnated as an olive than being PM - it's all intricately rehearsed."
Recording Mr Johnson's political ups and downs, the Financial Times notes: "A decade ago you could get odds of 66-1 on the mop-topped former editor of The Spectator magazine ever becoming leader of his party. On Tuesday they were slashed to just 9-4."
And, while the Telegraph says Mr Johnson is being lined up as a future business secretary in the event of a Conservative election win, many cartoonists suggest Prime Minister David Cameron might not have been overjoyed to hear that the former Henley MP wanted to re-enter Westminster.
Peter Brookes, in the Times, pictures the London mayor as a shark approaching the holidaying PM as he takes a dip in the sea. The Telegraph's Adams recreates Mr Cameron's holiday snap of him visiting a Portuguese fish market, only to be bitten by a puffer-fish Mr Johnson, while Brian Adcock in the Independent sees the PM startled by a clownish Mr Johnson, emerging like a jack-in-the-box.
Still, the Independent's Oliver Wright doesn't see Mr Johnson as a threat to the PM. "If Boris is to have any hope of succeeding Mr Cameron after the election he will need to be - and be seen to be - a loyal and active campaigner in the run up to 2015," he says.
Despite offering the Conservatives "stardust", Mr Johnson is "a loose cannon capable of holing his own side's ship", writes Max Hastings in the Mail. His "love of self-promotion could wreck his, and [the Conservatives'], hopes of power", the writer adds.
Tom Newton Dunn writes in the Sun: "Expect a pause in the great Boris soap opera now until 2016, when his mayor's term ends. That's when things will really hot up, unless David Cameron loses No 10 next May - then Boris will strike immediately."
But first, as the Times notes, Mr Johnson faces a "race against time" to find a seat. The Mail sets out a few facts about Uxbridge, in case Mr Johnson wants to bone up on the constituency believed to be his target seat. If he's not destined for selection there, the Times runs through some alternatives, including his "preference" of Kensington, west London, and Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Thursday's papers feature more than one gripe about TV soap operas.
The Daily Mail reports that veteran rocker Dave Peacock - one half of Chas and Dave - has accused the BBC's EastEnders of being "totally unrealistic". "The BBC think the East End has got to be gloomy, but it doesn't at all. East Enders are cheerful," the paper quotes the north Londoner as saying.
Meanwhile, writer Jan Etherington lists 10 things in soaps that "don't wash" for the Daily Express, having watched Ken and Deirdre Barlow's latest row in ITV's Coronation Street. Despite Deirdre's facing screwing up and voice croaking, Etherington writes: "No tears emerged. Her mascara remained unsmudged, her blusher unstreaked. And I started laughing. Because it totally undermined the power of the scene."
Close-up images of the catchily named comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, beamed back from the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft, are used to good effect. The Guardian describes as "an extraordinary rubber-duck shape, the result of massive erosion of the comet, or two bodies fusing in what space scientists call a contact binary".
Rosetta's instruments are already taking measurements, reports the Financial Times, noting that: "At -70C (-94F), the surface is warmer than many scientists had expected," probably because it is covered in dust, rather than being pure ice.
The Times uses graphics to chart Rosetta's journey so far and to depict the work it will undertake in the coming weeks, including deploying its detachable probe Philae. "In November it will be close enough to harpoon the frozen ball of dirty ice and attempt to make a landing," says Telegraph science correspondent Sarah Knapton.
"Is there a place to land?" wonders the Independent, saying several potential sites will be scoped out. "A suitable landing site should be free of holes, rocks and any craters that could tip the probe over. She also needs to be well away from the jets of gas that erupt from the comet's icy interior as it approaches the warmth of the Sun," writes science editor Steve Connor.
The Mirror recruits the National Space Centre's Zoe Baily to explain what all the fuss is about. "It is thought that comets have remained relatively unchanged since they were first formed, and so studying them helps us build a picture of the conditions in the early stages of the solar system," she writes. "Studying comets could help unlock secrets about how the solar system, our planet and life on Earth began."
For a nation "still reeling from three years of Piers Morgan", the news that another Brit - comedian James Corden - was pitching to become the new host of CBS production The Late Late Show "prompted consternation and confusion", according to the Independent's Adam Sherwin. "So who is James Corden?" was the question being asked across the US yesterday, he adds.
"The news was met with bafflement by US entertainment media," agrees Christopher Stevens, in the Mail. So the Guardian's Pass Notes column helpfully sets out a guide to the man tipped to take over a TV institution, describing Corden's appearance as "son of Ricky Gervais" and his credentials by saying: "When he's on his game, he can be a genuinely thoughtful, engaging host and an energetic performer. But when he's off it? Yeesh."
Buns, nuts, muffins
"It might just have been my mood but it felt like there was an extra pinch of saucy spice in the air as The Great British Bake Off parked its parkin on BBC1," writes Keith Watson, for the Metro's Rewind column.
And he wasn't the only one. For Andrew Billen, in the Times, there was "a sprinkling of smut", thanks to "the increasingly filthy-minded hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins". As the Independent's Ellen E Jones puts it, one contestant "emerged early as contender for star baker by being canny enough to stop cherries sinking to the bottom of her Classic Cherry Cake in the technical challenge, but also obliging enough to cook with innuendo-friendly ingredients like nuts".
Most reviewers seem to agree with Jan Moir's View from the Sofa, in the Mail, that - despite the show's transition from BBC2 - "all the correct ingredients were in place", from judge Mary Berry's "frowny face" when something's not up to scratch to colleague Paul Hollywood's "blue laser stare of scorn".
However, while the Telegraph's Sarah Rainey found "nearly everything I'd hoped for", she said: "If I had a gripe, it was that the familiarity did, at times, feel repetitive. In each of the new contestants... I started to see the ghosts of bakers past. Mel and Sue's jokes, too, were wearing thin after 60 minutes."
And Sam Wollaston, in the Guardian's G2 section, relives an evening on the sofa with his girlfriend during which they argue about whether the Bake Off represents "comforting and familiar cake, or a tedious village fete turned into television".
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