English town made infamous by Ali G changes name

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The town made infamous by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G character has changed its name.

The sleepy London commuter settlement of Staines has upgraded its name to the more majestic-sounding "Staines-upon-Thames."

Staines' history stretches back to Roman times but the town gained international notoriety as the home of the fictional Ali G, Baron Cohen's hopelessly stupid hip-hop wannabe.

Ali G's adventures cast the town of 45,000 as a cultural wasteland whose star sights included a traffic circle and the local KFC.

The town initially welcomed Baron Cohen's fame, but the negative connotations lingered even as the comedian moved on to other projects, including the movies "Borat," and "The Dictator."

Local officials hope the new name, made official on Sunday, will refocus attention on the city's riverside attractions.

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