RWC Countdown | Yorkshire, Yorkshire | Remember Remember

In just under one year's time, the Rugby World Cup will take place in Japan, the first time the tournament will be held in Asia. Yesterday afternoon saw Britain’s hopefuls commence their final chance to measure up against the southern hemisphere superpowers. The next few weeks will inevitably be seen by coaches, players and fans alike as a crucial barometer of their teams’ prospects. There are some suggestions that the All Blacks are running on empty as they finish off a long, draining season, that the Wallabies are in disarray and the northern hemisphere now has the upper hand. Bold statements - which are based around rankings as much current form. Ireland, Wales and England now sit immediately behind world No.1 New Zealand. Next Saturday, England host the All Blacks in their first encounter since late 2014 and the two teams couldn’t be in more different shape. One team has collected a pair of Rugby Championship titles since drawing their series against the Lions in 2017. The other has had a nightmare last twelve months, both on and off the field, leaving the team in something of a limbo. Sadly yesterday’s narrow victory (12-11) over South Africa at Twickenham did nothing to dispel the concerns.

It looks like the good times are rolling in Yorkshire. Not only are Leeds United showing tantalising signs of returning to the Premier League after a fourteen-year absence but Huddersfield-born Jodie Whittaker, the new Doctor Who, is receiving rave reviews for her on-screen performances. The release of Lambert Smith Hampton’s UKIT (Q3 2018) on Tuesday also shows the region being the stand-out performer in terms of commercial property investment volumes, with the total (£0.56m) reaching its highest level since Q3 2015. Then on Wednesday, it was announced that Leeds had, rather unexpectedly, been chosen as the new regional base for Channel 4, beating rival bids from Birmingham and Manchester. About 200 staff will relocate to the city from its London headquarters by the end of next year, as part of a government-encouraged drive to counter the often-alleged London centricity of British TV. All eyes will now be on where the broadcaster’s new HQ is sited. Wellington Place has recently attracted HMRC so is likely to be considered, as will be Clarence Dock where Sky are based, but landlords and developers of other buildings and sites across the city are bound to be sharpening their pencils in the hope of securing the national HQ.

Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and all that. Tomorrow is Bonfire Night, the annual event which marks the failure of Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. About twenty million people are estimated to attend either a private or public firework display over the November period according to the British Pyrotechnics Association, while approximately £40m, split equally on consumer items and professional displays, will be spent. It is big business. Ask Walt Disney Company. They are said to be the largest consumer of fireworks in the world, with estimates suggesting that they burn around US$50m a year on their displays. That’s no Mickey Mouse operation. If you were thinking of going big in the garden with a bonfire or fireworks display, you’ll have to go some to beat the biggest on record. The tallest bonfire reached 43.4 metres (in Slovenia) whilst the biggest-ever fireworks display was in the Philippines in 2016. The display lasted for 1 hour, 1 minute and 32 seconds, consisting of 810,904 fireworks. It poured with rain throughout, a real damp squib, ironic really given a squib is a miniature explosive device, or form of firework, which fails to ignite if it gets wet!