Rhodes on funding the Beeb, finding new magistrates and finishing off a doomed character

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Adrian Lester in Trigger Point – too good to last
Adrian Lester in Trigger Point – too good to last

A reader accuses me of supporting plans to change the BBC fee structure “to something more like Netflix”. Not guilty. My favourite and oft-repeated solution is for the BBC to be funded directly from central taxation. Thus, the rich pay more and the poor pay less, and nobody goes to prison for non-payment. Sorted.

Well, sort of sorted. The big question to be answered in such a scheme is how much money the nation is prepared to give the BBC. More than the £4,000 million it gets at the moment, or less?

“That ending came as a seismic shock,” declared one Fleet Street TV critic in his review of ITV's new whodetonatedit, Trigger Point. “A shocking twist,” thundered another. Oh, come off it.

The ending (look away now if you don't want to see the result) came when the explosives officer Nut (Adrian Lester) approached a suspicious van and was apparently blown to pieces.

But it was neither a shock nor a twist. Nut was one of those stock characters in drama who is doomed from the first page of the script. Within a couple of minutes of witnessing his first appearance on our telly, I remarked to Mrs Rhodes: “He's dead.” For Nut was the bomb-disposal equivalent of the doomed squaddie in so many war movies, the chatty, eternally optimistic one who's always looking at photos of his wife and kids to crank up the poignancy for when the inevitable bullet arrives.

In Trigger Point, Nut and his colleague Wash (Vicky McClure) have a special sort of bond. It's love but not the sexy sort and anyway, he's trying to sort out his stumbling marriage, because that's the sort of decent chap he is. He didn't actually pull out a photo of the family but you get the message; Nut was simply too good to last. And for all we know, he may be. That closing moment showing a severed arm was meant to reinforce the message that he's dead. Which I dare say means he isn't.

While we all accept the need for magistrates to represent the whole of society, I'm a tad wary about the latest JP recruitment drive, headlined as seeking “everyone from teachers to bricklayers.” Have you tried getting a bricklayer lately?

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