Talking of Peter Hitchens, his latest Mail on Sunday column has another BBC-related section:
The Beeb’s scandalous addiction to Profumo
Here we go again, this time it’s the BBC making a series called The Trial Of Christine Keeler in which the sad 1960s call girl will be beautifully impersonated by Sophie Cookson.
You’d think nothing happened in that era apart from the Profumo Affair, which didn’t matter at all. But it was packed with scandal.
A decent drama about the Suez Crisis or the anti-railways Transport Minister Ernest Marples, who actually skipped the country (in a train), are badly needed. But they don’t involve sex. Could that be the problem?
That sent me looking up Ernest Marples as, beyond a vague recognition of his name, I know nothing about him. It turns out that he was the man behind Dr. Beeching and his notorious railway cuts (plus premium bonds, postcodes and the M1), and that he ended up fleeing the taxman and bolting to Monte Carlo in 1975 before ending up on his 45-acre vineyard estate in the Rhône Valley. Alas for Mr Hitchens though, Wikipedia has a section which says:
Use of prostitutes
When Lord Denning made his 1963 investigation into the security aspects of the Profumo Affair and the rumoured affair between the Minister of Defence, Duncan Sandys, and the Duchess of Argyll, he confirmed to Macmillan that a rumour that Ernest Marples was in the habit of using prostitutes appeared to be true. The story was suppressed and did not appear in Denning's final report.
So even if he got his BBC Ernest Marples drama - presumably to be called Marples - Mr H. would still be unable to escape the Profumo affair, or the sex.
In fact, the BBC - should they learn about this - will doubtless think that Marples is a cracking idea. I should probably start writing it now:
Marples: Dr. Beeching, I'd like to see you take an axe to the national railway system.
Beeching: (in the style of Sid James) We'll can do it together Ernie. I hear you're very handy with a chopper. (Dirty laugh)