We learn this week that the explorer Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance which lies two miles deep at the bottom of the Antarctic sea, is legally owned by his surviving descendants, two cousins. This is because the insurance company paid up quickly after the 1915 sinking and signed the wreck over to Shackleton's family. In doing so, they also handed over any future liability for pollution, shipping hazards and so on. Smart move.
It strikes me that there might be a movie in this. Can't you see the plot? A couple of elderly English sisters (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, maybe?) find they are heirs to a similar old ship lying many fathoms down. One day they are visited by a man from Whitehall (I'm thinking Jim Broadbent) who explains that the wreck has shifted slightly and been struck by a Royal Navy Trident nuclear submarine which has sunk, thankfully with all the crew saved.
The snag is that something went wrong with the legal paperwork. As a result, the sisters are now owners of both stricken vessels and, more to the point, 40 nuclear warheads. We could call it Tea With Armageddon.
If you think that's an unlikely plot, consider the latest offering from Endeavour (ITV). Yes, it's as beautifully presented as ever with authentic 1970's props and cars, and some fine acting. But the plot? We are expected to believe that a man would resort to murder in order to keep the secret that he has a relative who's a tramp. Inspector Thursday reckons he has reached retirement age. Likewise this series.
And off to the dispensary where the lady in front of me has been waiting some time for her medicine and is flummoxed to be asked: “Is this an historic prescription?”
Makes you wonder what you get in an historic prescription. Three leeches and a wisp of laudanum, I trow.