Peter Rhodes on dismal TV, the decline of Welsh and a curious encounter with a courier

Curious encounter. A courier with a parcel rang the bell and briskly said he needed to know my date of birth. As a guardian of the little man against the information state, I refused. But he insisted that, because the parcel contained a bottle of alcohol, he needed proof the recipient was over 18. The scales of justice suddenly swung away from the little man towards the free booze and I gave my birthdate.

The Young Ones – dire?
The Young Ones – dire?

But how much simpler it would be if the courier could discreetly tick a recipient box on the lines of “distinguished elderly gentleman” to avoid such confrontations. I dare say you can think of something appropriate.

First rule of Xmas broadcasting: screen the rubbish first. In quick succession BBC4 gave us To the Manor Born, Sykes and The Young Ones from the so-called golden age of television comedy. It was dire, dire and thrice dire, a reminder that even golden ages have their bleak days.

Our jolly Yule TV news is the sudden resumption on All4 of the Danish drama, Badehotellet which translates as Seaside Hotel. Many of the reviews use a word I try to avoid: charming. But this tale of Danish families reunited at the same hotel every summer is just that, from start to finish a charming piece. If you haven't, do.

After London Fire Brigade and the BBC were accused of various isms, here's a timely and time-saving idea. Starting on January 1, 2023, let's see every authority, council, government, sports club and company admit that it is thoroughly riddled with sexism, racism, misogyny, ageism and ableism and promise to do better. At a stroke we make no room for time-wasting denials or defences. We are all guilty. We will all improve. Sorted. (Although I suspect I may be guilty of simplism).

It is an uphill struggle to make people use an ancient and ailing language when they are totally overshadowed by English, the most flexible and desirable language this planet has ever known. No-one should take any pleasure in the news from the 2021 Census showing that the proportion of Welsh people able to speak Welsh has dropped to about 18 per cent, the lowest ever recorded.

If it's any consolation I bet those 18 per cent speak Welsh much better than their neighbours in England speak English, innit?

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