Peter Rhodes on censoring comedians, the truth about foreign holidays and something “definately” dodgy in Line of Duty

The art of diplomacy is being the one not to blink first. I couldn't help noticing that the new US Secretary of State is Antony Blinken.

Alan Davies warns of self-censorship
Alan Davies warns of self-censorship

The latest count tells us that the final episode of Line of Duty (BBC1) had 12.8 million viewers. Does that include those who were technically in front of the telly, but not entirely awake? Guilty as charged.

The misspelling of “definitely” in Line of Duty seemed a weak peg on which to hang the key to The Fourth Man's identity. The dull, sullen DCI Buckells, a most unlikely super-criminal, was finally skewered by this error. But how many folk cannot spell “definitely”? Half the population? And if you got it wrong, why wouldn't your computer's autocorrect put it right?

If the plot can be engineered to turn a lump like Buckells into a criminal mastermind, is anyone safe? After his improbable unmasking in series six, can we look forward to Darren the tea-trolley lad being exposed as the Fifth Man in series seven, or Rex the Sniffer Dog having his collar felt in series eight? And what about those three characters mentioned in passing by Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) namely Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey? Are they in the frame? If not, why not? It's dodgy. Definately dodgy . . .

Alan Davies, star of Jonathan Creek and QI, warns that some comedians may self-censor as the BBC tries to steer light entertainment away from political comment. But there shouldn't be a problem if comedians follow a simple guideline: just be funny.

If you're funny enough, you should be able to say pretty much what you want. But if you're simply spouting politics without a hint of humour, that's not entertainment. It's lecturing and you should be seeking employment at your local college, not at the BBC.

Good to see Britain and India talking this week on the road towards a new post-Brexit trade deal. One of the great propaganda triumphs of the European Union was convincing its citizens that they were part of an ancient, close-knit brotherhood of states which had unfortunately drifted apart and was now, thankfully, coming together.

The truth is that in terms of history, culture and trade, Britain always looked further afield, and we have more in common with India than we do with half the countries of the EU. The prospect of young Brits getting to know Mumbai or building a career in Delhi should raise our spirits. Gin slings all round.

The holiday and airline industries are such powerful lobby groups that you probably believe Brits are clamouring in their millions for foreign holidays.

But a survey by an insurance company this week suggests fewer than one in seven of us are planning a summer holiday abroad.

Once again, the common-sense golden rule of the pandemic strikes: Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you've got to. Margate, here we come.

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