THE NET EFFECT: Diary - Warren lives it up on Channel 5's very own type of Rodent Drive

In March this year, Yahoo! UK & Ireland embarked on a first of its

kind in British TV sponsorship - to follow the life, from birth to old

age ... of a gerbil. Since then viewers of the nightly Channel 5 movie

have been gripped by the voyeuristic snoop into the creature's simple

existence.



Thousands have also flooded to his very own website to find out the

latest news on this cultural phenomena.



Enter ... Warren.



Not since the heady days of Danger Mouse or Roland Rat has there been

such widespread public interest in the small furry species. Indeed, our

friend has made such an impression that the nation is lining up to

profess platitudes of love to its virtual pet.



Yes, you know you're a bona fide star when you're being bombarded with

pressies and fan e-mail! While pet shops worldwide brace themselves for

a gerbil rush, Warren continues to be wooed from the four corners of the

globe: "I am from America and visited England. We watched you during the

Channel 5 movie every night! You are so cute!" professes one.



It seems that even the rodent kingdom has been tuning in to its TV sets

of an evening to watch Warren's latest frolics: "My name is Cloud and I

am a female gerbil! Want to go on a hot date sometime? E-mail back" says

one. Another eager fan asks: "Do you see yourself as a sex symbol now?"

And no star would be complete without a bit of ego massaging: "I try to

teach my gerbils (Fred and Bob) to be more like you. I think they

consider you to be their hero. Thank you for being such an inspiration

to them," another fan says.



However, the heady heights of Hollywood's 'Rodent Drive' are not for

Warren. No, he'll be staying firmly on your TV sets and watchful web

cam, much to the relief of the nation. the screening of old old footage

prompted national hysteria recently.



"Is anything wrong?" one fan implored Channel 5. "They are now showing

early days of Warren and nothing new.And there's no sign of him on the

web cams ... I do fear the worst."



Viewers and surfers of all ages were wondering about Warren's

whereabouts.



One distraught mail also feared the worst: "My wife is concerned that

you're pads-up having seen nothing of you after week 19," the distressed

viewer wrote.



Still, widespread panic was prevented when Warren appeared afresh in all

his glory, prompting the public to tenderly pen all manner of odes to

its mousy muse.



You can view Warren's antics every night during the Channel 5 movie and

live at: http://uk.docs. yahoo.com/warren/webcam.html.