Peter Rhodes on ignoring Les, condemning Trump and inventing a make-believe showbiz agent

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column by Peter Rhodes.

Les Dennis in Venice Preserved at Stratford

A MEMORABLE image of this D-Day week was the lady interviewed at a Donald Trump protest rally in London who said she wished the United States was led by "a better human being". Well, so do we all. Trump is an imperfect person but the lesson of history is that perfection is rarely found in public life and some great leaders were saints in public and sinners in private.

IN any case, who decides at what point a human being becomes a bad one? Breaking marriage vows? Shoplifting? Using illegal drugs? Making unwanted sexual overtures? Slapping a child? Referring to women as girls? Virtue-signalling has become our national sport and don't you wonder how many of those denouncing Donald Trump as a bad human being are any better themselves?

SHADOW Foreign Secretary and veteran virtue-signaller Emily Thornberry's verdict on Trump was: "He is a sexual predator, he is a racist." Yet for all his faults, it has to be said that Trump has never been accused of defecating on the carpet of a woman who refused him sex, or endorsing a social-media reference to "Zionist Slave Masters," two embarrassing in-house scandals currently occupying the Labour Party.

WE are a nation divided by class. Les Dennis is on fine form playing a senator in Venice Preserved, a 300-year-old political thriller at Stratford. Most of the reviews mention the remarkable transformation of one of Britain's best-loved performers from lowbrow game-show host and comedian to highbrow classical actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Social mobility in the theatre doesn't come much more impressive than this.

AND yet the reviews of the play in the Guardian and the Telegraph, those lofty mouthpieces of the Left and Right respectively, are united on one point: neither of them even mentions Les Dennis. I suspect he falls well beneath their class radar. Family Fortunes? Never heard of it, darling.

AS the 75th anniversary of D-Day slips into history, spare a thought for the Normandy veterans who arrived in the days after the initial landings in 1944. They did some of the hardest fighting and yet they never got the adulation reserved for the boys who hit the beaches on June 6. Everybody has heard of D-Day but who remembers Goodwood, Epsom and the Falaise Gap?

ANNEKA Rice admitted this week that for nearly 10 years she had a fictitious showbiz agent called Clemmie Hart. This was not only cheaper than a real agent but made it easier for her to turn down work when she was raising her family. As she points out, this little deception was "very much an escapade of its time". These days, "Clemmie" would be cyber-rumbled in no time. The internet makes many things easier but impersonation harder. In that classic 1975 episode of Fawlty Towers, would the conman "Lord Melbury" get his hands anywhere near the petty cash if Basil had a laptop?

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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