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Peter Rhodes on heroic Donald Trump, hunting the Beast and lunch with the Dibley star who hated her own face

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

DONALD Trump, who missed the Vietnam War owing to bad feet and college deferments, says he would have rushed into Florida's Parkland school to tackle the mass murderer even if he (Trump) had been unarmed. A reader of the San Diego Union-Tribune emails: "Based on his illustrious record, I’m betting that the only way he would have run inside is if the shooter were outside chasing him."

Gone too soon - Emma Chambers

BUT then Trump's claim, like so much of modern politics, depends on a public which has forgotten its history. Over here, Jeremy Corbyn's spin-doctors have created the impression that the only opposition to the Labour leader comes from "the right-wing press." This neatly overlooks the fact that less than two years ago, Corbyn's fellow Labour MPs passed a vote of no confidence in him by 172-40 and, as the BBC put it, "hoped Mr Corbyn would step down voluntarily." That level of hostility does not evaporate quickly. While it may be easy to blame "the right-wing press," how much of the negative news about Corbyn comes from his own colleagues who still see him as the biggest obstacle to Labour winning the next general election?

I HAD lunch with Emma Chambers back in 1995 just as fame found her. It was a BBC season launch in Birmingham. She had attended the same event the year before and no-one spoke to her or even recognised her. And then at the end of 1994 came the Vicar of Dibley and Alice Tinker became the nation's favourite dimwit. "I hate my face," she told me. "I was convinced I didn't look right at auditions . . . sometimes you do wish you're Kate Moss." When she suddenly found herself famous, it scared her. "I began to start having little panic attacks and finding myself hiding behind the Ambrosia tins in Waitrose. People would point and look. One lady came over and asked if I really was as stupid as I was in Dibley. I told her of course I was." Emma Chambers, who has died terribly early at 53, was delightful company and one of the most modest actors I've ever met.

IT'S about 750 miles from Shetland to Jersey which means you can forecast almost any sort of weather and be confident that somewhere between St Helier and Lerwick will get it. But getting a TV crew to the right place at the right time is another matter. As the Beast from the East menaced Britain, I caught two TV interviews with not a flake of snow to be seen. The first was with a pensioner who said he wasn't worried at all. The second was with a rail passenger who said he wasn't worried either.

THIS shock-horror coverage was accompanied by footage of children walking to a school in East Anglia where - if there had been any snow - there might have been snowdrifts. But there wasn't, and so there weren't. By the time this appears we may all be neck-deep in snow but hunting the Beast in its early stages was like hunting penguins in Morocco.

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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