Peter Rhodes on a suspicious death, banter in the Kremlin and police looking for non-crimes

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Is she really dead?

Keeley Hawes as Julia Montague in the Bodyguard

AT a time when overworked police can't cope with real crimes, one force is criticised for inviting complaints about non-criminal incidents. Under the banner "Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire," the local force is urging folk to report non-crime hate incidents, defined as events "which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing." The idea seems to be that non-criminal speech or writing might turn into hate crime. On the same basis, why not nick drivers at 27 or 28mph? They may not be breaking the speed limit now but they might in the future, right?

I WAS going to write a couple of lines about some of the public's angrier responses to the police tweet. Better not. It might constitute a non-criminal incident.

IN any case, thanks to predictive-spelling programs, your non-criminal words may not even be the ones you intended. Among the many responses to the South Yorkshire Police announcement was: "Amber Rudd is a crime against humidity."

SO is Julia Montague really dead? The Home Secretary in Bodyguard (BBC1), played by Keeley Hawes, exited this life rather early in the action, courtesy of a terrorist bomb. But is it all a bluff? There has been much disbelieving speculation in the tabloids and online. Why would writer Jed Mercurio kill off such a cherished star so early in the drama?

BUT lest we forget, killing the star early is nothing new in drama. In Hitchcock's classic Psycho (1960) Janet Leigh is butchered in the iconic shower scene just 37 minutes into the film. And in Alien (1979), we all assumed the international star John Hurt would survive. Instead, he died in a bloody case of monster-tummy while the then-unknown Sigourney Weaver emerged as the real protagonist and lived. What do we deduce from this? Home Secretary Julia Montague may not be dead. But she probably is. Glad to clear that up.

PUBLIC relations in the Kremlin is a rare art. Viktor Zolotov, a former bodyguard to President Putin and head of the National Guard, has threatened the opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the following robust terms: "Nobody has ever given you the spanking you deserve, so hard that you felt it in your liver. I simply challenge you to a duel. I promise in several minutes to make a nice, juicy beef steak out of you." Asked for a comment, a Kremlin spokesman says the authorities "don't view it as a physical threat." Of course not, comrades. Just banter, innit?

SCIENTISTS in Switzerland have developed a new app which will tell you exactly where your lost golf ball is. It detects a signal from a tiny transmitter inside the ball. Very clever. However, it has one basic flaw. It can only find the golf ball where the ball actually is. A much older method involves dropping a spare ball through a hole in your pocket and down your trouser leg, so you can find the ball exactly where you want it to be.

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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