Former wrestling star Big Daddy (60) died yesterday after battling against a stroke he suffered two months ago. His second wife, Eunice, had been holding a bedside vigil at Halifax General Hospital, west Yorkshire.

The former miner - real name Shirley Crabtree - had been in the hospital near his home in Mill Bank, Triangle, Halifax, since last month. Get well messages had earlier come from around the world, including one from Downing Street.

His fans came from all walks of life and he once claimed Queen Elizabeth had stayed up into the early hours to watch him on television.

Former World Motor Racing champion Damon Hill admitted yesterday he had driven after drinking.

His confession came as he helped launch the British government's £2 million Christmas crackdown on drinking and driving.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, known for his virulent anti-Semitic remarks, has asked Israeli diplomats to arrange an official visit to Israel for him as part of his 52nation "friendship tour".

"He has asked to be received by a few people, government officials, and he wants to travel [in Israel]," said a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Effi Ben-Matityahu.

Farrakhan - who once said Jews are "blood-suckers" who have a "gutter religion" - wants to deliver a sermon at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.

Hundreds of parents went "Laa-Laa" for Teletubbies yesterday as thousands of the TV dolls went on sale in supermarkets for the first time.

Despite efforts by Safeway to keep news of the Tubbies' arrival under wraps, desperate parents began queuing as early as 3 a.m. outside one store. By mid-morning the Anniesland branch in Glasgow had almost run out of its consignment of 1,500 Teletubbies.

With demonic eyes and a smile that can kill, Tony Blair has been reborn as the bionic superhero of a wry cartoon strip. The British cult science fiction magazine 2000 AD has transformed the Labour leader into a slightly crazed world beater with the strength of 50 men.

Re-named B.L.A.I.R. 1, he elbows an opposition MP in the mouth and uses his trademark radiant grin to fell the former Conservative politician turned racy novelist Edwina Currie. "We wanted to do an update of the Bionic Man and Blair seemed perfect now that the official honeymoon period is over," said David Bishop, editor of 2000 AD.