Peter Rhodes on deadly trends, an obsession with Tudors and the delicious dangers of Devon

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes, before his two-week holiday.

Holiday hazard
Holiday hazard

Two generations, two separate worlds. Upstairs in their rooms, the kids are flying excitedly through cyberspace, entering places and discovering practices that their parents are not only unaware of but, even when made aware, simply don't understand.

What, for instance, is TikTok? What is a TikTok trend? And how can a TikTok trend be so powerful that it can persuade children to stick a small magnetised ball on either side of their tongue, creating the impression that they've had a tongue piercing?

For dozens of shocked and bewildered families, the first indication of this bizarre carry-on is when the child bursts into tears and admits he/she has swallowed a ball. Then it's a race against time as surgeons operate to remove the objects before two or more balls find each other and nip the bowel or intestines closed.

The scariest part is not that a few kids need surgery. It is that, in the privacy of their room, some of them will follow instructions from a total stranger and do whatever they are asked. We know all about the tears and outrage of sexting. But if children brainwashed by a social-network trend will swallow magnetic balls, might they also be induced to smell exhaust fumes, bang themselves on the head with a hammer or deny the Holocaust?

Not so long ago, parents could keep their kids away from a bad influence by forbidding all contact with the Naughty Boy down the street. Today, a million cyberspace Naughty Boys are up there in their kids' bedrooms and the bad-influencing has barely begun.

BBC News held a debate on ethics in journalism making the point that the Beeb had a duty to report the pandemic with all possible accuracy. So answer us this. How many of last year's evening street celebrations in support of the NHS were as spontaneous as they seemed in all the TV coverage?

Pardon my cynicism but did the TV companies dispatch reporters and camera crews purely in the hope that the clappers and pan-bangers would put in an appearance? Or did they perhaps send someone along earlier, just to ensure it was all right on the night? Was it news or was it rehearsed news?

Anne Boleyn (C5) is bold in casting a black actress (Jodie Turner-Smith) as Anne and the series looks promising. But do we really need another Tudor drama? Britain's TV and movie industries are obsessed by the 118-year dynasty, while other equally fascinating periods are ignored. Let's see a drama series on the Highland Clearances, the Dutch invasion of 1688 or the cataclysm of the Boer War which shook British society to its foundations.

But not another fat Henry, thanks.

I'm off on holiday to Devon. Assuming I survive the cream teas, all-day breakfasts, scrumpy and suchlike hazards, this column will resume on Monday, June 21. Behave yourselves.

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