Peter Rhodes on a strange name, a stranger slogan and a good, old-fashioned scare from Auntie Beeb

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Super-scary – Dracula

Don't you just love a snappy slogan? As the Labour Party contemplates its future, one comrade addresses the Guardian thus: “We socialist democrats must learn to integrate capitalism into the dynamics of social identity economics.” They're going to need some much bigger banners.

After banners, bangers. As night follows day, the New Year's display in London was hailed as “the best fireworks ever.” In this age of emissions awareness, surely that should be “the worst fireworks ever.”

Incidentally, thanks to those of you who have pointed out that we have not ended one decade and entered another. Technically, 2020 is the last year of the old decade, not the first one of the new. However, if you're planning a New Decade celebration for January 1, 2021, do not expect much support. Pedants have terrible parties.

It's okay. You can come out from behind the sofa. Dracula (BBC1) is living - or possibly undead - proof that the spirit of Hammer Films is still with us. Mark Gatiss's Christmas ghost story, Martin's Close, may have been a disappointment but he's back on top form with this Dracula. No intense psychological cobblers, no arcane Illuminati code-busting just good, old-fashioned face-ripping, nun-devouring, wolf-slavering horror with women in nighties flapping through a maze of cobwebby corridors. I expected Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing to pop up at any moment. After you with that wooden stake.

Arnold Schwarzenegger marked the festive season by posting an image of himself and Clint Eastwood on the ski slopes with the challenging caption: “Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.” How about the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus?

Here's a New Year's resolution for broadcasters everywhere: refuse to ask any politician any question until they have given a straight answer to the last question. Take, for example, the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas who tends to get wheeled out as some sort of conscience for the nation. Long before Christmas on the Andrew Marr Show she was asked a very simple question: “When did you last fly?” She ducked, she dived, she said she had family in America and she harrumphed about how wrong it is to focus on individuals' behaviour because it lets the big fossil-fuel companies “off the hook.” But she didn't answer the question. Next time, maybe?

When the industrialist Carlos Ghosn fled from trial in Japan and reappeared in Lebanon, the Japanese media described his escape as cowardly. His own lawyer denounced it as unforgivable. The Daily Telegraph business section, on the other hand, called it daring.

The obscure French girls' name Ottilie has somehow become the most popular female baby name, according to a study of the Daily Telegraph births column. It may suit the London elite and the Home Counties but I can't see it catching on in the North where it sounds too much like the fictional mill town in Brass, that glorious 1980s comedy starring Timothy West. Sorry, luv, are you saying Ottilie or Utterly?

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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