Being completely crap, I've failed to turn the blog address into a link. Any tips welcome, because I can't make the advice in the help pages work. So here's the relevant bit, omitting the recipe for Eton Mess ice cream...
Talking to my comedy neighbours on Sunday night over my first and 90 per cent successful attempt to devise Eton Mess ice cream, we all had a moan about tweeters who declare that they only manage to watch five minutes of a show before turning it off. Tut tut, we went - what's half an hour in a lifetime? Sadly, I only lasted ten minutes of The Royal Bodyguard before my head began to hurt and, to my shame, I went in search of something else.
This unfortunate show bore out the venerable lesson that while an audience will come to a new comedy which stars a much-loved actor, if the show doesn't work, people won't come back for a second bite, a lesson proved yet again by a slump in ratings between episode one and two.
When I worked at the BBC, a major aspiration was to find a comedy vehicle for David Jason, a fine actor and a national treasure. Why this one was chosen is a complete mystery, but then so much of commissioning is mysterious. Potentially successful shows are turned down with little explanation, or explanations that seem perverse. A channel controller told me - I'd watch this show and enjoy it, but I don't want it on my channel. A commissioner told me a script was too funny. A former boss said he loved the first 15 pages of a script, which were hilarious, but that the next 15 needed to be brought up the that level. The writer did revisions, we resubmitted the script with the first 15 pages unchanged, and were then told that the problem was in the first 15 pages, which were just not funny.
It's no wonder that writers and producers often feel that they are working in a whimsical world. They are, it is.
If The Royal Bodyguard can be classed as an error - and it would be a pleasure to see David Jason back in a comedy - the return of another national treasure, Absolutely Fabulous, was to me a real treat, with Jennifer Saunders demonstrating what a clever writer she is, maintaining the heart of the show while making it feel contemporary and, in the first episode, creating parts for two younger and very talented actresses, Lucy Montgomery and Katy Wix.
My pleasure was only slightly diminished by seeing, in the second episode, the producer playing a non-speaking role as a music industry bigwig, and looking it must be said quite self-conscious. After allowing myself to be persuaded into an ill-advised appearance in a Birds of a Feather Christmas special, where my one line (Dorien, you spoil us) was thankfully cut from the finished programme, I formed the view that people who work behind the camera should stay behind the camera, a view reinforced by seeing the script editor of Mrs Brown's Boys essaying a role in the new year edition. Not a good idea.