Peter Rhodes on a star's survival, telling politicians apart and the enduring power of black and white

The demise of David Walliams has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, he was caught making vile and sexist comments about contestants on Britain's Got Talent and, no, he didn't deserve much mercy.

David Walliams – so far, so good
David Walliams – so far, so good

But Walliams has friends and connections. He is massively popular throughout showbiz and is a favourite children's author. The cries for his blood seem to have faded and, unless some new scandal emerges, his glittering career will continue. Unless . . .

“How did we end up with a Labour budget?” wails Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail. She really shouldn't need telling. As the former wife of Tory big beast Michael Gove, Vine knows perfectly well that a traditional tax-cutting, growth-spurting Tory budget scares the bejabbers out of the world's financial system. For daring to suggest such a strategy, Liz Truss was cast into outer darkness.

Which leaves us with Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement, virtually identical to Labour's plans. As I noted last month: “Before long the Lab/Con status quo will have resumed, with two very similar social-democratic parties snarling at each other and pretending to be different but fooling nobody.”

Still on the issue of telling things apart, am I the only one who finds some of today's politicians utterly forgettable? I may be suffering from a form of Prosopagnosia (face-blindness) or it could be that political figures are simply getting greyer and more lookalike. Whatever the cause, the result is that I cannot at first sight tell Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock apart. Can you?

The new version of All Quiet on the Western Front, directed by Edward Berger for Netflix, is a fine piece of work, acclaimed by the critics. But having watched it I then bought a DVD of the original 1930 movie, directed by Lewis Milestone and was astonished at its raw power.

Much of that power comes from being shot in black and white, which does more than merely give the action a documentary feel. Long after colour photography should have made it obsolete, B&W reaches back into our childhoods and somehow touches the soul. Today's brides and grooms often ask for some of their wedding photographs to be in B&W, perhaps in the belief that black and white imparts permanence.

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