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Peter Rhodes on a scary new film, mocking Brummies and the importance of a wee moment on telly

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Robert de Niro – The Irishman

This column comes to you straight from the heart, with absolutely no outside interference from any individual, state or other agency. My aim is simply to get these sincere and honestly-held views into the publiski domainski.

The Irishman, Martin Scorsese's new, and satisfyingly long, epic of gangsterism in the States, is a magnificent piece of work. The quote that stays with me, usually attributed to the legendary Benjamin Franklin, is delivered by Robert de Niro at his scariest: “Three people can keep a secret only if two of them are dead.”

Incidentally, despite the title, in the entire 209 minutes, you won't hear a single Irish accent. Although, to be honest, I did pop out once or twice.

Talking of which, the actor Brian Cox needed what the Yanks call a comfort break during Have I Got News for You? (BBC1) last Friday. This may be a TV first. The relationship between middle-aged men and the nearest loo has long been taboo. Now, it can be mentioned. It is tackled brilliantly in the wonderful Michael Douglas comedy series The Kominsky Method. Embrace all your male frailties, just watch it and laugh (although not too hard, obviously).

I should pay more attention to this election-thingy. For instance, I had absolutely no idea until a couple of days ago that both Jeremy Corbyn's and Jo Swinson's plans for a second referendum on Brexit would involve extending the vote to anyone aged 16 or over – plus two million EU citizens living in Britain. Why stop there? I'm sure Messrs Barnier, Juncker, the EU Parliament and Commission and the entire population of France and Germany would love to cast a vote in our UK ballot boxes. Shout it loud and shout it clear: It is every foreigner's right to be British.

As a bit of a wimp myself, I thoroughly understand Boris Johnson's decision not to be interviewed by Andrew Neil. If you've seen three other politicians venture into a scary, unlit subway and get really badly mugged, why would you volunteer to be the fourth?

The irony is that, for all we know, Johnson might have coped well with Neil. You can never guess which interviews will go well, and which will turn from chummy chat to car crash in a matter of seconds. Ask Prince Andrew. Alternatively, listen to Jo Swinson's interview on Woman's Hour (Radio 4). She seemed to have been expecting a supportive, sisterly encounter and was promptly taken to the cleaners, fumbling over answers which should have been word-perfect. Almost too painful to listen to.

And off to a village carol service where the readings included a ditty about Xmas in Birmingham delivered, for comic effect, in an excruciating mock-Brummie accent. It was wince-making. Nobody would dream of performing such a reading in a fake Caribbean or Pakistani accent, so why are Brummies fair game?

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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