Express & Star

Peter Rhodes on faith, tourists and a suitable replacement for Top Gear

Peter Rhodes on faith, tourists and a suitable replacement for Top Gear

Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff in a Top Gear Telford episode

Forgive my cynicism at the news that “faith leaders” are among a group organising a mass vigil in London on December 3 “in acknowledgement of the pain and grief on both sides of the conflict” in Gaza. Much of the pain and grief in that agonised region is the direct result of faith.

So farewell, Top Gear, which is being shelved by the BBC following that grisly accident in which Freddie Flintoff was badly injured. It's a show that has probably outlived its time. It was rooted in an age when motoring was a pleasure and people drove for fun. Today all cars look the same and it is perfectly possible to be nicked for “speeding” at 23 mph, or to spend hours queuing for an electric charge on the M6. In this joyless age the logical replacement for Top Gear is The Joy of Cycling presented by Greta Thunberg. In episode one, Greta plaits her own ultimate-green bike from lentils.

When Argentina's new president, Javier Milei, declares the Falklands are Argentina's, Britain's armchair generals bristle with rage and threaten to spill more (of someone else's) blood to defend them. But things have changed since the 1982 war. Today, we could not muster a Task Force, nor could we rely on support from America or the United Nations where this is increasingly seen as a de-colonisation issue. The worst possible memorial to the lads of '82 would be a second Falklands War, especially if we lost it.

Many thanks to the readers who pointed out that the BBC series Villages by the Sea featured the Devon village of Beer where my extended family and I have holidayed pretty much every year for the past 50 years. It looked lovely in the sunshine. Why does it always shine on Auntie Beeb?

I dare say hordes of viewers made a note of Beer's charms and will be planning to descend in their thousands on a place that once marketed itself as “Devon's best-kept secret,” filling the car parks, jam-packing the beer gardens and crowding the beach. What fun. (PS: If you could avoid the third week in June, I'd be grateful).