Belfast City Hall flies picture of Sherlock Holmes kissing a dolphin

BELFAST councillors hope to prevent further rioting by replacing the union flag with a bizarre image of Benedict Cumberbatch embracing a dolphin.

As regal as the Queen but without all the baggage

The city’s current unrest was sparked by the council’s decision to fly the union flag only when the Queen might be looking.

In a bid to quell tensions, Belfast councillors have adopted an alternative flag depicting Benedict Cumberbatch canoodling an aquatic mammal.

Councillor Mary Fisher said: “We did consider a few other designs before settling on this one – two kittens and a pair of tits, Rizzle Kicks on fire, and my favourite, David Attenborough eating a Bounty.

“But the Sherlock/dolphin combination is uniquely endearing and engenders nothing but good feeling.

“We also feel it’s a major leap forward in flag design, as let’s face it they mostly look like ZX Spectrum ‘loading’ screens.”

Councillor Stephen Malley added: “The new flag is surprisingly arousing.  When people see it, instead of throwing bottles at the police, they usually want some private time at home.”

However, hopes for a peaceful night in Belfast may prove short-lived.  An army of Doctor Who fans is marching on the city, outraged that their icon has been overlooked.

One fan said yesterday: “In Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary year, only one man should be on a flag kissing a dolphin, and that is Matt Smith, or possibly Tom Baker.

“By the time we’ve finished with them, Belfast is going to look like Skaro, the war-ravaged home planet of the Daleks.”