Peter Rhodes on a TV classic, Boris backing GM food and the neverending Campbell question
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes
THE great Alastair Campbell mystery continues. Campbell is not, and never has been a politician. He holds no public office. He represents no great organisation. He was merely the spin-doctor for a discredited government which was voted out of power eight years ago. Yet when Campbell is chucked out of the Labour Party it's headline news. And when, this week, he announces he wouldn't rejoin Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, the radio and TV schedules were cleared to let him sound off. No, I don't get it either.
MORE than 20 years after the last series of Men Behaving Badly, Neil Morrissey hints that, if the scripts were good enough, a new series might be on the cards. The script is crucial. Between 1992 and 1998, in 42 episodes, MBB produced some great gags from the pen of Simon Nye, perfectly delivered by Morrissey as Tony and Martin Clunes as his flatmate Gary. It stuck in the nation's mind and 20-odd years on, watching the repeats on Netflix, you still can't hear that sweet, romantic question from Deborah (Leslie Ash): "What are you thinking, Tony?" without wincing in anticipation as Tony, thoughts fixed firmly on the bedroom, tells her exactly what he's thinking. Jane Austen, it ain't.
SOCIAL historians, looking back on the closing years of the 20th century will probably agree that Men Behaving Badly was responsible for a lot of men behaving badly.
STILL waiting for an explanation for that curious moment in his Downing Street speech when Boris Johnson declared: "Let’s liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules. Let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world,” Good news for a hungry world, perhaps. Excellent news for the GM industry. So who's been lobbying whom?
AS the Royal Navy was scraping around for warships to send to the Gulf, I thought: "Well, at least we've still got HMS Coventry." Apparently not. As you may recall, this hi-tech missile-armed frigate was commissioned in 1988 to a huge fanfair as the replacement for the destroyer of the same name sunk in the Falklands War. The hopes of the navy and the pride of Coventry were invested in this warship. Barely 14 years later she was taken out of service and sold to the Romanian Navy. Clearly, great minds have been at work.
THIS week's news that thousands of students are being offered university places no matter what A level results they get comes on the heels of another fascinating nugget from academia. It is revealed that 70 per cent of students who get less than DDD grades at A-level (or thickos, as we used to call them) emerge from uni three or four years later with either a first-class or upper-second degree. I can think of only two explanations. Either our universities have an astonishing ability to supercharge the intellects of the intellectually challenged, or they're handing out thousands of top degrees virtually on demand to justify those £9,000-a-year fees. I'll have a 2:1 in Applied Cynicism, please.