Peter Rhodes: Slapstick and a plague of badgers

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

A READER suggests that, as we have "Stoptober" when we give up smoking and "Movember" when we grow moustaches for male-health issues, is there any chance of promoting "Decadember" to be celebrated with "some really serious decadence"? I'm sure it's been tried.

Sarah Parish as Anna in W1A

THERE'S a running joke in the satirical comedy W1A (BBC1) about the BBC's digital subtitle service which can neither get things right nor be switched off, and which recently announced a show starring the popular pianist Jews Holland. But it's hard to satirise the Beeb's real subtitle service. It was rubbish when it was launched just in time for the Charles and Di wedding in 1981 and remains rubbish to this day.

A COUPLE of days ago I switched on the Beeb's mid-day weather forecast. The subtitles began: "It was a grey staff are some of it this morning" and went on to warn of "one or two Mac showers." In Scotland, presumably.

SOME say W1A has lost its spark and perhaps there is a natural limit to the number of corporate-buzzword jokes viewers will accept. Yet it still has some great gags. The moment the tall, chiselled and perfectly poised Anna (Sarah Parish) walked into the glass wall and knocked herself out was one of the best TV slapstick moments since Joey punched Ross in Central Perk.

YET another email this week alleges that if you support Brexit you're right-wing. Can I advise you to have a look at Jeremy Corbyn's record from 1975 of voting against the EU and all its works? And he's right-wing, is he?

MEANWHILE, still in Europe, the death is announced of Victorino Martín, 88, the greatest bull breeder in Spain. His beasts, the victorinos, were famed for their unpredictability in the ring. It may be that some of your hard-earned taxes are supporting bullfighting, via the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. As with so many EU affairs, it's not easy to find where the money went but a report by Green Party MPs four years ago reckoned about £103 million a year was used to subsidise the bullfighting industry. Another good reason for leaving. Hey, maybe we could spend the bullfighting money on the NHS.

RESIDENTS of Coseley in the West Midlands have called in their MP Pat McFadden because they are plagued with badgers which dig up their gardens and even damage house foundations. It's a tricky one for any politician because badgers are a protected species whose only serious enemy is the motor car. A friend was driving home the other night and paused in a farm lane to let one baby badger cross the road, followed by another, and another. There were eight of them, as cute and adorable as toddlers' toys. they are adding to a UK badger population estimated at 485,000 which is an 80 per cent increase since the 1980s. Princess Anne famously declared that there would be a good case for culling badgers even if there was no link to bovine TB.

ONE word explains why, when it comes to issues such as badgers, princesses can speak the unspeakable and politicians cannot. Votes.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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