Peter Rhodes on an Indian romance, the risks of obesity and standing up for nice things – expressandstar.com


Posted: August 31, 2020 at 5:52 am

Our changing language. I suggested the US mail-in voting would soon replace the British postal vote A quick check on Google reveals 37.5 million references to the British version compared with a tsunami of 1,630 million references to the Yank style. The maths are against us. Or do I mean the math is against us?

Speaking at Edinburgh TV Festival, the BBC's head of content Charlotte Moore announced: Diversity on screen and off screen has never been more important to the BBC, which is pretty much what you'd expect. But the list of dramas she praises for real commitment and direction of travel includes A Suitable Boy. True, this lavish adaptation of Vikram Seth's novel is set in India and performed by Asian actors. But does it really spread the sort of woke message that Auntie Beeb cherishes?

Described by one critic as Pride & Prejudice in a sari, A Suitable Boy reflects middle-class Indian life in the 1950s, a few years after independence. The attitude towards Britain is not the snarling post-colonial resentment about famines and brutality that we have come to expect from the BBC. To these families, England is a place to be admired. There's even a hint of regret that the British have gone. You can watch A Suitable Boy from start to finish and feel only affection and kinship for India, and not an ounce of imperial guilt. It was all very un-Beeb. Was Auntie so thrilled to have commissioned an Indian drama that nobody bothered to read the script?

A reader believes emergency sirens are being used more today than before the pandemic. I'm not sure if anyone keeps a tally of such things. Any views?

Doctors knew from the outset that obese people were more likely to die of Covid-19. But the global scale of risk has only just been assessed. The increased risk of death is almost 50 per cent a shocking result. It gets worse. Not only does being overweight reduce your chance of survival; it may also reduce the effectiveness of any vaccine. The perfect time to cut back on that Eat Out to Help Out slap-up nosh, perhaps?

Dalia Stasevska, the Finnish conductor at the centre of the Last Night of the Proms controversy, posted a Tweet: I stand for equality. I stand against racism. I stand for love and compassion. Me? I stand for all of the above, plus raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens.

Stasevska insists she did not object to the lyrics of patriotic songs at the Proms and I believe her. It would be madness for any Finn to accuse Britain of racism when only two years ago, an EU agency reported that Finland had the highest rates of race-related harassment and violence while the UK had amongst the lowest. Stones and glass houses.

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