Peter Rhodes on telly confusion, rabbit holes and Trump's exit strategy from the White House

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Darkly Confusing Materials (Photographer: Charlie Surbey/Marco Grob)
Darkly Confusing Materials (Photographer: Charlie Surbey/Marco Grob)

It is important, in these trying times, to vary your daily routine, if only to avoid awkward questions such as: “Is this Wednesday, or what?” Consider my regime. Thursday, go for a walk. Friday, go for a walk. Saturday, go for a walk and fall down a rabbit hole.

It is a strange thing that while every other nationality, on falling down a rabbit hole, blames the rabbits for digging their warrens in such dangerous places, the British are instantly transported to that famous hole of childhood memories where a talking rabbit is fretting about being late and a little girl in Victorian dress is tumbling towards Wonderland. This cultural cushioning is some comfort when you are standing buttock-deep in a meadow and your wife is laughing.

Rabbit trivia. The French invoke rabbits in the game of love. If you've arranged a date and your partner stands you up, the French will say he/she has “posee un lapin,” or literally placed a rabbit. Which is strange, but no stranger than “stood up.”

Alice trivia. Lewis Carroll never wrote a book called “Alice in Wonderland.” It is “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.” For when the pub quizzes return . . . .

What happens next? This, or variations on it, is doing the rounds in the States. Donald Trump suffers a sudden relapse with Covid-19. The White House announces he is dangerously ill and unable to govern. His vice-president Mike Pence takes over. The stricken Trump is ferried from the White House (shades of King Arthur?) in a black helicopter. On a wave of sympathy, Pence issues a presidential pardon for all criminal and civil allegations against Trump. Pence accepts the election result and hands over to Joe Biden. After some silent days, it is announced that Trump has made a miraculous recovery and plans to spend more time with his golf clubs. President Biden wishes him well.

After five days out of prison and in hospital for heart treatment, the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe has reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. So what are the chances that he caught the virus in hospital? In the early days of the pandemic in March, one study suggested up to 20 per cent of new cases were the result of hospital infection. In July, a couple of reports from the UK and Italy suggested 12 per cent. In the same month, research in Wales claimed “in excess of 10 per cent.” One day, in this gloriously transparent nation of ours, all will be revealed. Or maybe not.

His Dark Materials (BBC1) is back in a new series. The scenery is fabulous, the CGI dazzling, and the action hectic. Best of all, considering that Britain produces some truly dreadful child actors, they have found some great ones for this. All is splendid. Now, does anybody have a clue what's going on?

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