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From a David Attenborough documentary to Ghosts and Brave New World: The best on demand TV this week

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from a david attenborough documentary to ghosts and brave new world the best on demand tv this week

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David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough has spent the past seven decades travelling the wildest reaches of the globe and produced some of the most memorable documentaries of all time, showing our world in all its variety and wonder. 

David Attenborough (above) has spent the past seven decades travelling the wildest reaches of the globe and produced some of the most memorable documentaries of all time

David Attenborough (above) has spent the past seven decades travelling the wildest reaches of the globe and produced some of the most memorable documentaries of all time

That’s why he’s now so concerned about climate change, and its threat to humanity and the planet’s survival unless urgent action is taken. In this moving and at times sobering documentary he gives a bluntly stark warning about the biggest challenges facing us – ‘It’s about saving ourselves.’

In this moving and at times sobering documentary he gives a bluntly stark warning about the biggest challenges facing us – ‘It’s about saving ourselves’

In this moving and at times sobering documentary he gives a bluntly stark warning about the biggest challenges facing us – ‘It’s about saving ourselves’

Yet still he offers some hope for future generations, not least that the pandemic may make us pause for thought and bring us together. Available now

 

Emily In Paris 

Twentysomething Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) works for a US company that has just acquired a French marketing firm. When her boss can’t go to Paris, Emily gets the job – despite the fact that her French doesn’t extend much beyond ‘Oui’. 

Initially, the snooty, old-school Parisians aren’t interested in hearing this perky young American’s ideas for their social media strategy, but Emily gradually proves quite the influencer.

Twentysomething Emily Cooper (Lily Collins, above) works for a US company that has just acquired a French marketing firm

Twentysomething Emily Cooper (Lily Collins, above) works for a US company that has just acquired a French marketing firm

Meanwhile, her romantic life becomes… un peu compliqué. This ten-part cultureclash comedy is as saucy as you would expect from creator Darren Star, the man behind Sex And The City. Available now

 

The Boys In The Band 

Mart Crowley’s 1968 play is considered groundbreaking for putting the lives of a group of New York gay men on stage without apology or judgment. It was made into a 1970 film, and the play was revived on Broadway with a starry cast two years ago. 

Now that Tony Award-winning version is adapted with a cast including The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons as the host of the party that assembles the disparate characters, and Zachary Quinto as the bitter, waspish guest of honour. Available now

 

The Forty-Year-Old Version 

If Radha Blank doesn’t become a big star after the release of her directorial debut, for which she won a trophy at this year’s Sundance Festival, then something has gone badly wrong. 

Blank also stars, as a fictionalised version of herself, a struggling writer desperate to make her mark on Broadway before her impending 40th birthday. Hilarious, deeply personal and completely compelling, the movie offers a wry look at dreams and the search for fulfilment. 

It’s shot in haunting black and white on, unusually for these days, 35mm film. From Friday

 

Hubie Halloween 

Adam Sandler renewed his Netflix contract this year, and if this collaboration is anything to go by, that’s a good thing. Sandler plays Hubie Dubois, a well-meaning soul who spends every Halloween keeping the residents of Salem, Massachusetts, safe. 

But this year, things are different thanks to a mysterious new neighbour and the disappearance of several locals. Hubie is convinced that the festival’s monsters are real – but can he convince anybody else? 

Ray Liotta, Maya Rudolph (above, with Tim Meadows) and Adam Sandler’s old pals Steve Buscemi and Rob Schneider co-star

Ray Liotta, Maya Rudolph (above, with Tim Meadows) and Adam Sandler’s old pals Steve Buscemi and Rob Schneider co-star

Ray Liotta, Maya Rudolph and Sandler’s old pals Steve Buscemi and Rob Schneider co-star. From Wednesday

 

BBC iPLAYER & ALL 4 

 

Ghosts

The second series of this gentle, family-friendly sitcom is currently airing on BBC1 on Mondays, but the entire box set is available to stream, alongside its predecessor. Written and performed by faces familiar from Horrible Histories and Yonderland, the plot follows the fortunes of Alison and Mike (Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe), a young couple who, after struggling to get on the housing ladder, are thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a manor house.

Written and performed by faces familiar from Horrible Histories and Yonderland, the plot follows the fortunes of Alison and Mike (Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, above)

Written and performed by faces familiar from Horrible Histories and Yonderland, the plot follows the fortunes of Alison and Mike (Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, above)

But there are two problems: the property is in a state of disrepair and it’s inhabited by a bunch of ghosts who are not particularly thrilled about sharing their home. BBC iPlayer, available now

 

Strike 

Based on the eponymous detective novels written by J. K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, Strike stars Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike, a war veteran turned private detective operating out of a tiny office in London’s Denmark Street, who uses his background as a Special Investigation Branch officer to solve complex cases that have eluded the police. 

Opposite Tom Burke, Holliday Grainger plays his professional partner Robin Ellacott. Throughout all four series there is a constant will-they-won’t- they between them

Opposite Tom Burke, Holliday Grainger plays his professional partner Robin Ellacott. Throughout all four series there is a constant will-they-won’t- they between them

Opposite him, Holliday Grainger plays his professional partner Robin Ellacott. Throughout all four series there is a constant will-they-won’t- they between Strike and Ellacott that many critics found frustrating, though Burke insists that this is the very heart of the show. BBC iPlayer, available now

 

Michael Palin Box Sets 

To tie in with Michael Palin: Travels Of A Lifetime, a new series starting tonight (BBC2, 8pm) in which the genial Monty Python star looks back on his epic journeys, the BBC is making three of his best-loved series available to stream. 

Around The World In 80 Days is the show that started it all in 1989, and sees Palin follow in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg. In 1992’s Pole To Pole he travels from the North Pole to the South Pole via Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, Europe and Africa. 

Finally, Hemingway’s Adventure, from 1999, sees him retrace his literary hero Ernest Hemingway’s journeys through the US, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. BBC iPlayer, available now

 

Angel 

In Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Buffy’s relationship with boyfriend Angel was always complicated by the fact that she was a slayer and he was a vampire – and a moody, tortured one at that; a love rival dismisses him as a ‘billowy coat king of pain’.

When Angel (David Boreanaz) bowed out, he was given his own spin-off series, in which he works as a detective, battling the powers of darkness and saving souls. Several characters appear in both shows and Buffy fans will find Angel an enjoyable addition. All 4, available now

 

Lance 

Lance Armstrong was once the most famous sportsman on the planet, a seven-time Tour de France winner who had survived testicular cancer and founded a charity that raised millions. 

Lance Armstrong (above) was once the most famous sportsman on the planet and a seven-time Tour de France winner who had survived testicular cancer

Lance Armstrong (above) was once the most famous sportsman on the planet and a seven-time Tour de France winner who had survived testicular cancer

We know now that it was only through drugs that he was able to dominate the world’s toughest cycle race from 1999 to 2005. This gripping film charts his spectacular rise and fall in forensic detail, with contributions from the man himself. 

Regrets? He’s got a few… BBC iPlayer, now

 

Why is there such a buzz about..? 

Enola Holmes (Netflix)

When it comes to entertainment pedigree, Enola Holmes couldn’t be more of the moment. It stars 16-year-old Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things, is directed by Harry Bradbeer (who directed most of Fleabag and a couple of Killing Eve episodes too) and has a screenplay by Jack Thorne (who adapted Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials so successfully for TV).

I think we can safely say that as far as feisty females are concerned – and they are very much the common denominator of all those shows – Netflix’s latest hit certainly has the bases covered. 

Enola sets off in pursuit of her missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter, above)

Enola sets off in pursuit of her missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter, above)

With a supporting cast that includes Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin and Fiona Shaw, you can see the sort of investment that’s been made. Money has clearly been spent on adapting the first novel (of six) by American author Nancy Springer about the adventures of Enola Holmes, the younger, cleverer sister of both Sherlock and Mycroft.

Aimed at a slightly younger audience than those who enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch in the modern-day Sherlock but sharing the same energy of Robert Downey Jr’s 2009 film Holmes, this is good, high-spirited fun.

With our young heroine, Enola – which she’s rather proud spells alone backwards – addressing the camera directly, there are definite echoes of Fleabag too, as she sets off in pursuit of her missing suffragette mother (Helena Bonham Carter, right) but is quickly distracted by a floppyhaired marquess (Louis Partridge).

A sequel surely can’t be ruled out.

Matthew Bond 

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SKY/NOW TV, DISNEY+ & ACORN TV

 

Brave New World  

In New London, everyone belongs to everyone else. Monogamous sexual relationships are considered supremely selfish in this rigidly socially engineered, pill-popping world of the future – a supposed utopia of order and harmony and pharmaceutically ensured goodwill that is in fact sterile and lifeless. 

But not everyone subscribes to the new world order, as the increasingly unhappy Lenina Crowne (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd) find out when they journey outside their bubble to the so-called Savage Lands. 

Based on Aldous Huxley’s influential 1932 novel, this nine-part adaptation also features Demi Moore as John’s mother Linda, as well as Joe Anderson and Lara Peake (above)

Based on Aldous Huxley’s influential 1932 novel, this nine-part adaptation also features Demi Moore as John’s mother Linda, as well as Joe Anderson and Lara Peake (above)

And what will happen when they take their troubled worker John (Alden Ehrenreich) back to New London with them? Based on Aldous Huxley’s influential 1932 novel, which introduced a number of dystopian ideas that have since become standard sci-fi tropes, this nine-part adaptation also features Demi Moore as John’s mother Linda, as well as Joe Anderson and Lara Peake. Sky/NOW TV, available now

 

The Right Stuff 

The space pioneers who started it all Space is big on TV at present. Among other shows, there’s Away – a sci-fi drama about a mission to Mars; Challenger: The Final Flight, a documentary series about the space shuttle disaster; and Space Force, a Steve Carell comedy. 

But here’s the origin of them all: the story of Mercury Seven – America’s first astronauts. Based on the Tom Wolfe bestseller, this is a fact-based drama about the obsessive, competitive, alpha-male military test pilots selected in 1959 by the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) for the space programme. 

They are flawed heroes but they become instant celebrities, splashed on the cover of every magazine. The story focuses on John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams), a high-minded family man, and Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman), a fellow with an eye for the ladies and ‘one of the best pilots the Navy has ever seen’, but ‘also one of the most reckless’. 

The story focuses on John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams), a high-minded family man, and Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman, above, with Shannon Lucio), a fellow with an eye for the ladies

The story focuses on John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams), a high-minded family man, and Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman, above, with Shannon Lucio), a fellow with an eye for the ladies

The stakes are high – far more than just the lives of the astronauts. ‘What we’re doing here has consequences for the entire world,’ says a Nasa boss. ‘If Russia gets a man into space first, we could lose the Cold War.’ Disney+, from Friday

 

Reilly: Ace Of Spies 

Sam Neill was once in the running to replace Roger Moore as James Bond, and he’d have been pretty good too if this 12-part spy drama is anything to go by. Written by Troy Kennedy Martin, best known for creating Z Cars and the original screenplay for The Italian Job, it focuses on the story of Sidney Reilly, a real-life Russian-born British secret agent and a suave, sophisticated womaniser. 

Sam Neill (above) was once in the running to replace Roger Moore as James Bond, and he’d have been pretty good too if this 12-part spy drama is anything to go by

Sam Neill (above) was once in the running to replace Roger Moore as James Bond, and he’d have been pretty good too if this 12-part spy drama is anything to go by

Reilly’s major accomplishments – including the infiltration of the German army in 1917 and plotting the overthrow of the Bolsheviks a year later – are among the feats depicted in the Bafta-winning series that was first broadcast in 1983 that is still a thrilling watch today. Acorn TV, from Monday

 

The Call Of The Wild 

A bearded Harrison Ford stars in this charmingly old-fashioned story based on Jack London’s much-loved 1903 novel. Living a happy life in the sunny climes of California, adorable St Bernard/Scotch Collie Buck is stolen and transported to the snowy wastes of the Yukon. 

Becoming a sled dog, he crosses paths with bereaved outdoorsman John Thornton (Ford) and the pair set off on an adventure. All the animals are depicted using CGI, thanks to Disney’s policy of not using real animals on set. Disney+, available now

 

AMAZON

 

Fleabag 

The second and apparently final series of Fleabag provides three hours of brilliant tragi-comedy that won six Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Bafta. Phoebe Waller-Bridge created and plays a grieving, troubled young woman who has, in her words, ‘spent most of my adult life using sex to deflect from the screaming void inside my empty heart’. 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (above) created and plays a grieving, troubled young woman who has, ‘spent most of my adult life using sex to deflect from the screaming void inside my heart’

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (above) created and plays a grieving, troubled young woman who has, ‘spent most of my adult life using sex to deflect from the screaming void inside my heart’

Will religion help her? Has she finally found love with Andrew Scott’s ‘hot priest’? And how will she and her sister (Sian Clifford) cope with their widowed Dad (Bill Paterson) getting married to their awful godmother (Olivia Colman)? 

How will she and her sister (Sian Clifford) cope with their widowed Dad (Bill Paterson) getting married to their awful godmother (Olivia Colman, above)?

How will she and her sister (Sian Clifford) cope with their widowed Dad (Bill Paterson) getting married to their awful godmother (Olivia Colman, above)?

The ending, in which ‘Fleabag’ speaks to the camera for the last time, is pretty much perfect. If you’ve yet to experience the comic delights of the show that made Waller-Bridge a star, now is the time. From Thursday

 

Fernando Torres: The Last Symbol 

‘This is the story of my life. So short but yet so lengthy.’ The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker hung up his boots last year, so now seems the perfect time to look back on his career.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker, Fernando Torres (above), hung up his boots last year, so now seems the perfect time to look back on his career

The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker, Fernando Torres (above), hung up his boots last year, so now seems the perfect time to look back on his career

He discusses the people who had an impact on his life both inside and outside the game and recalls his most memorable moments on the pitch. Available now

 

FILMS

I Am Woman 

How the 1971 hit song I Am Woman and singer Helen Reddy (who died last week) got to No 1, with the help of journalist Lillian Roxon and cocaine-addicted husband-manager Jeff Wald. 

It’s a familiar tale but Tilda Cobham-Hervey is striking in the central role. Most platforms, from Friday

 

Blackbird 

There is much to enjoy and reflect on with Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet (above)

There is much to enjoy and reflect on with Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet (above)

From the moment we watch Susan Sarandon struggling to get out of bed, we’re pretty sure this star-studded drama is not going to end happily. But with Kate Winslet, Sam Neill and Lindsay Duncan among the supporting cast, there is much to enjoy and reflect on. Most platforms, available now

 

The Ground Beneath My Feet 

A young Austrian business executive struggles to keep her life under control; not surprising considering the endless hours at work, a suicidal sister and the affair with her female boss. 

The big question is has Lola – very nicely played by Valerie Pachner – reached breaking point? Mubi, available now

Matthew Bond

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly ‘lives at risk’

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care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly lives at risk

Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly ‘lives at risk’ after more than 100 reported coronavirus symptoms. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had suspended inspections for five months in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

But last month the watchdog took the decision, sanctioned by the Department of Health, to redeploy inspectors.

The CQC, which employs around 1,300 inspectors, is set to launch 500 inspections over the next six weeks – but testing for those visiting care homes is not currently compulsory.

Care provides have fiercely criticised the move after it was estimated that 16,000 care home residents died with Covid-19 during the first wave of coronavirus. 

Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly 'lives at risk' after more than 100 reported coronavirus symptoms (stock image)

Care homes are demanding mandatory testing of inspectors to prevent putting elderly ‘lives at risk’ after more than 100 reported coronavirus symptoms (stock image)

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Sunday Telegraph revealed that more than 100 CQC inspectors reported Covid-19 symptoms or were forced to self-isolate.

It showed that during the period from March to October 20, 11 CQC staff tested positive for coronavirus which included six who were inspectors. 

A further 225 members of CQC staff, 103 of whom were inspectors, self-isolated as a precaution.

The report also showed that the watchdog had received one complaint in relation to its inspectors not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment during an inspection.

Care home managers have since called on the organisation to introduce mandatory testing for all inspectors as they insist that otherwise ‘lives will be put at risk’. 

The report also showed that the watchdog had received one complaint in relation to its inspectors not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment during an inspection (stock image)

The report also showed that the watchdog had received one complaint in relation to its inspectors not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment during an inspection (stock image)

Labour MP Barbara Keeley has since said that the data proved why it was now vital that inspectors were regularly tested in order to protect elderly lives.

She told The Independent: ‘On the basis of these numbers, inspectors may be potentially taking infections into care homes. Given the risk Covid-19 poses in care homes, this cannot be allowed to happen.

‘It’s just not acceptable that the inspectors are not being tested regularly… It is clear from these numbers that the only way for CQC inspections to resume in a safe manner is for all inspectors to have access to regular Covid-19 testing, even if they are asymptomatic.’

MailOnline has contacted the Care Quality Commission for comment. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Diary of political aide PETER CARDWELL reveals whats goes on in Westminster

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diary of political aide peter cardwell reveals whats goes on in westminster

Six decades ago, we didn’t exist. But we spads have become increasingly influential in Whitehall, playing a strange role for Ministers, somewhere between friend, gatekeeper, adviser and general dogsbody armed with a Snickers bar (in case of a meltdown needing a sugar hit).

As Housing Secretary James Brokenshire’s media spad, I had to advise him on the regular rounds of interviews – which could cover anything from NHS care beds to Love Island evictions – as well as reminding him to have a pee beforehand. And, of course, to be tuned into all the Westminster gossip.

The Coffey grinder

A colleague who got invited to the Brit Awards contacted me the morning after about the antics of the Work and Pensions Secretary: ‘The image that will be burned into the pinholes of my eyes – perhaps for ever – is that of Therese Coffey attempting to twerk to Stormzy.’ As a result, poor Therese has been nicknamed the ‘Twerk and Pensions Secretary’.

Theresa’s one unhappy camper

At one reception at No 10, a Tory MP brought the eccentric actress Su Pollard as his plus-one. The then PM, Theresa May, endured Pollard shouting, ‘Hi-de-hi, Theresa!’ at her. I’m sure, in that moment, Mrs May felt the decades at the grindstone of political life were all worth it.

At one reception at No 10, a Tory MP brought the eccentric actress Su Pollard as his plus-one. The then PM, Theresa May, endured Pollard shouting, ‘Hi-de-hi, Theresa!’ at her. I’m sure, in that moment, Mrs May felt the decades at the grindstone of political life were all worth it

At one reception at No 10, a Tory MP brought the eccentric actress Su Pollard as his plus-one. The then PM, Theresa May, endured Pollard shouting, ‘Hi-de-hi, Theresa!’ at her. I’m sure, in that moment, Mrs May felt the decades at the grindstone of political life were all worth it

The snarking of the Hunt

I asked Labour’s Tristram Hunt what he saw as his role as a constituency MP. He said: ‘It is to try to convince people that Stoke isn’t a s***hole.’ At least he was honest.

Take that, Barlow!

At the heart of No 10 is ‘Switch’ –- the switchboard – renowned for its calm, assured operators who connect Prime Ministers to anyone in the world. Switch has the number of almost anyone the PM could possibly want to contact. Very occasionally, though, it makes mistakes. Once, a No 10 official asked to be put through to the then Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, but the operator misheard. Take That frontman Gary Barlow was slightly baffled to receive a call about housing policy.

A smarter class of reader

James Brokenshire’s wife Cathy rang me about an interview James was about to do with the Daily Mail. Was it OK to wear jeans for the photo? No, I said quickly, it is better to go slightly smarter as the Mail’s readership would expect something a little dressier.

My text that cost £387m

One Friday morning, I was working at home in my jogging bottoms, happily tapping away at my laptop and two phones. Incidentally, two groups of people always work on two phones: spads and drug-dealers.

I was called by a journalist on The Times and asked about a rumour that housing giant Persimmon was about to post profits of £1 billion. After some digging, I texted a comment saying the company had not always acted entirely properly in regard to the Government’s Help To Buy scheme for first-time buyers.

This led to a story saying ‘Britain’s most profitable housebuilder faces being stripped of its right to sell Help To Buy homes after allegations of poor standards.’

On Monday morning, when the financial markets opened – and largely the result of my text – Persimmon’s worth fell by £387 million in just one day.

Ironing out the wrinkles

One Minister who sat around the Cabinet table told her diary secretary to block out an afternoon once a month so she could go to her doctor in Harley Street for Botox. ‘The problem,’ the spad told me, ‘is when she grins heavily, you can see the filler accumulate above her temples.’

Rebel without a pause

Some Downing Street spads had a sweepstake on how long Greg Clark, then Business Secretary, would speak continuously in Cabinet meetings. His record? Twenty-six minutes without a pause. In a 90-minute meeting.

Boris owes me a big debt

My first encounter with Boris Johnson was when I was on work experience at The Spectator and he was editor. He sent me to buy him a coffee, saying: ‘And get one for yourself, too.’

My first encounter with Boris Johnson was when I was on work experience at The Spectator and he was editor. He sent me to buy him a coffee, saying: ‘And get one for yourself, too’. The coins he gave me didn’t even cover the full cost of his latte. Boris still owes me £2.35, 15 years on

My first encounter with Boris Johnson was when I was on work experience at The Spectator and he was editor. He sent me to buy him a coffee, saying: ‘And get one for yourself, too’. The coins he gave me didn’t even cover the full cost of his latte. Boris still owes me £2.35, 15 years on

The coins he gave me didn’t even cover the full cost of his latte. Boris still owes me £2.35, 15 years on.

The rainbow warrior

While in the Northern Ireland Office, I worked with Junior Minister Kris Hopkins on advancing the cause of same-sex civil marriage there, against resistance from the Democratic Unionist Party. During one meeting, the blunt Yorkshireman said: ‘It’s probably about bloody time I got on my big rainbow underpants and told the DUP what’s what on equal marriage.’ When Kris left the department, I bought him such a pair on eBay for £2.99. I don’t know if he ever wore them.

The last Post-It

It is traditional for Treasury Ministers to leave a light-hearted Post-It note for their successors.

Liam Byrne’s message after the 2008 banking crash and subsequent recession infamously read: ‘Dear Chief Secretary, I am afraid there is no money. Kind regards and good luck.’

Previously, civil servants had spotted a series of other notes that Byrne (nicknamed ‘Baldemort’ in tribute to the Harry Potter villain) had left around his desk to motivate himself.

They included ‘Get Army fit’, ‘Have my own library (like Reagan)’ and ‘Buy ski chalet in France’.

Red Ed’s jibes are no joke

I was reliably informed two jokes were cut out of Ed Miliband’s first conference speech as Labour leader about the then Tory Communities Secretary Eric Pickles being overweight. The first – ‘the party never worries about losing Eric Pickles, because wherever he goes he always leaves a trail of crumbs’ – you could probably just about get away with. But ‘Eric Pickles – the only Cabinet Minister visible from space’ would have been a jibe too far.

Shocking behaviour

Protection officers get to know Ministers well, but personal relationships such as the one in the BBC1 drama Bodyguard are strictly prohibited. Saying that, one spad sent a cheeky Valentine’s Day card to a protection officer who had worked with their principal, including the line: ‘No need to fire your Taser to make me go weak at the knees.’

A whiff of offence

During the Election campaign of 2017, one volunteer worker had a particularly strong reaction around Theresa May’s chief of staff Fiona Hill – her perfume brought her out in hives, so she had to retreat every time Fiona came near. The volunteer never felt that she could explain to Fiona the reason she kept stepping away.

Oven-ready scandal

The eight-day media maelstrom that we called ‘Ovengate’ began when a small Sunday Times news item remarked that James and Cathy own two double ovens. By Tuesday, memes were flying thick and fast on Twitter, and James decided to lean into the ludicrous, and increasingly funny, reaction. He tweeted a picture of himself with a Victoria sponge cake with the line: ‘Amazing what you can rustle up! Maybe some more hot potatoes next! #TwoOvens.’

A very boor show

The key thing, in victory and defeat, is to be graceful and magnanimous with your opponents. Labour’s Emily Thornberry was neither. Despite the exit poll in 2017 which suggested the Tory Government was going to be re-elected, she strutted on to the set at Sky News, churlishly sneering at us. Cathy Brokenshire can’t stand Thornberry and, believe me, when you’ve lost Cathy you’re doing really badly.

Something’s brewing

Whenever Theresa May was on a factory visit, it was our job to check there was a supply of the correct tea bags (Earl Grey, since you ask).

Whenever Theresa May was on a factory visit, it was our job to check there was a supply of the correct tea bags (Earl Grey, since you ask)

 Whenever Theresa May was on a factory visit, it was our job to check there was a supply of the correct tea bags (Earl Grey, since you ask)

Conference pairs

At one Liberal Democrat party conference, I remember the drunken lover of a senior Lib Dem MP pitching up wearing just a vest and shorts, looking like some sort of relic from a Culture Club gig. I also remember a female friend, who would have been about 25 at the time, telling me about the difficult experience of extracting herself from a conversation with a famous broadcaster at least 40 years her senior whose intentions were not to discuss the contents of Nick Clegg’s speech.

Back to school, Minister

Suspecting that while being interviewed by sixth-formers, newly appointed Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley might be tested on some rudimentary general knowledge, I told her the FAT LAD acronym I’d learned in primary school to remember the six counties of Northern Ireland – Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim, Down.

As you leak it

At a mandatory 7.55am gathering of all spads in Downing Street – one of the first of the Johnson administration – Dominic Cummings told us in no uncertain terms: ‘If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.’ Of course, these sentiments were immediately leaked and appeared in The Times the very next day...

At a mandatory 7.55am gathering of all spads in Downing Street – one of the first of the Johnson administration – Dominic Cummings told us in no uncertain terms: ‘If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.’ Of course, these sentiments were immediately leaked and appeared in The Times the very next day…

At a mandatory 7.55am gathering of all spads in Downing Street – one of the first of the Johnson administration – Dominic Cummings told us in no uncertain terms: ‘If you leak, you will be marched from your desk by the head of security at your department, your pass will be taken off you and you will be sacked. You have no rights.’

Of course, these sentiments were immediately leaked and appeared in The Times the very next day…

© Peter Cardwell, 2020

lThe Secret Life Of Special Advisers, by Peter Cardwell, is published by Biteback on Tuesday at £20. To order a copy for £17.60, including free UK delivery, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193 before October 31.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Lily James’s character describes Dominic West’s character in upcoming movie

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lily jamess character describes dominic wests character in upcoming movie

Few who saw the photographs of them canoodling in Rome can doubt that Lily James looked impressed by Dominic West’s masculine charms.

Now the 31-year-old has spoken in glowing terms about the appeal of the character he plays in their new film.

The pair co-star in the BBC‘s upcoming adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit Of Love, which traces the romantic adventures of the free-spirited Linda Radlett between the two world wars. 

For his part, West appears as the bullying and eccentric Uncle Matthew.

Actress Lily James, 31 has spoken in glowing terms about the appeal of the character Dominic West plays in their new film

Actress Lily James, 31 has spoken in glowing terms about the appeal of the character Dominic West plays in their new film

In an interview with The Guardian published yesterday, but conducted before the dalliance in Rome, Ms James said she had known her co-star for ‘a really long time’ since they appeared together in a Shakespeare play a decade ago.

Speaking of his role in their latest venture, she added: ‘He’s a brilliant Uncle Matthew, another mad sort of character. 

I have a great line in it where I say, ‘Matthew is frightening and I disapprove of him, but I feel he sets the bar for English manhood.’ What a great line.’

When the photographs of their holiday antics first emerged, West staged an awkward photoshoot at his Wiltshire mansion with his wife, the Anglo-Irish aristocrat Catherine FitzGerald.

Lily James and Dominic West, 51, pictured together on a scooter in Rome earlier this month

Lily James and Dominic West, 51, pictured together on a scooter in Rome earlier this month 

The Wire actor, 51, later posted a handwritten note at the boundary of their property for photographers. It read: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together. Thank you.’

Ms James, who last year split from former Doctor Who star Matt Smith, has since kept a low profile at her North London home.

In the interview, she says she spent the summer reading poetry and watching films.

Asked if she spent the time alone, she replied: ‘No comment.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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