Rhodes on the National Anthem, Mr Gervais's latest comedy and the most dangerous encounter for a monarchy

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Ricky Gervais in After Life
Ricky Gervais in After Life

A number of Tory MPs want the BBC to play the National Anthem at the end of the day's broadcasting to demonstrate the corporation's Britishness. This used to be standard practice in British cinemas but was abandoned, probably because of friction between those who wanted to stand for God Save the Queen and those who wanted to rush for the doors.

And yet some well-known melody at close of play might be a nice touch. My old primary school was a high-church sort of place and at the end of every school day we sang the first verse of the hymn 'The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended'. It might send BBC viewers and listeners to bed in a rather more thoughtful and thankful frame of mind.

If I may tinker slightly with the words of the TV clean-up campaigner Mary Whitehouse in 1964: “We sat as a family and we saw a programme . . . and it was the dirtiest programme that I have seen for a very long time.” Heaven knows what Whitehouse would make of the new series of Ricky Gervais's tragi-comedy After Life (Netflix). It is clever, funny and beautifully observed and Gervais is a fine writer. But he seems to be utterly obsessed with the C-word and his running gag on intimate female infections was deeply misogynistic and simply revolting. How many viewers, including hard-core Gervais fans, will tune in and turn off?

Meanwhile, over on GB News, now in its eighth month, I'm enjoying the long, unhurried interviews and occasional appearances by unfashionable, banned or cancelled celebrities, even if it's sometimes a bit clunky and unpolished. “Comming soon” read one announcement.

One of the bewildering mysteries of this pandemic is how the media take the statistics seriously. According to the official bulletins since the start of this year, the Covid-19 death toll on the three Saturdays was 154, 313 and 287 yet the deaths on the Sundays were 73, 97 and 88. Something doesn't add up.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Queen's last meeting with the Duchess of Windsor. The Duchess, formerly the American divorcee Wallis Simpson, was usually described as a socialite which happens to be the term often applied to Ghislaine Maxwell. Sometimes the greatest threat to a monarchy comes not from war or revolution but from bumping into a socialite.

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