Following the second series of BBC2's Stargazing Live, lofts across Britain reported a surge in fathers rooting around for the telescope they'd bought following the first series of BBC2's Stargazing Live.
Just one month after charismatic scientist Professor Brain Cox and TV funnyman Dara O Briain first inspired millions to purchase astronomical equipment with which to peer at the majestic wonder of the night sky, most of their new apparatus was confined to the loft, with owners complaining that cloud cover or light pollution rendered astronomy impossible, or that almost all of the night sky was actually pretty boring, or that it was just too bloody cold in Manchester to stand around outside at night and they didn't know how anybody at Jodrell Bank did it. But those same telescopes were out of the loft after series two, for almost a fortnight this time, before everyone realised why they'd put them up there in the first place.
Activists have criticised the BBC for "regressive programming", saying that this policy of a brief, annual fixation with the heavens would hit the poorest families hardest. "Think about it," a spokesperson said, "a rich family with a large house can absorb the cost of a telescope and put it in a cupboard. A poor family in a council flat would have put that same telescope on eBay, and been forced to purchase a new one at full price when their brief dalliance with cosmology was rekindled the following year."
The BBC has refused to comment on what it calls "these bloody stupid allegations".