As I've said more than once before, and will repeat endlessly until someone tells me how clever I am, Mad Men has chronicled the decade in which ideas first became commodities. Its ending demonstrates how the sixties were an age in which everyone had ideas all the time – Let's open a gallery in this old shed! Let's move to San Francisco and paint wooden eggs! – and how people gradually filtered out all this noise and made sense of it all.
Betty Francis took a lot of shit down the years, from her husbands, from her daughter and from Mad Men viewers insistent on judging her by contemporary standards of parenting and womanhood. Maybe she's due a reappraisal.
Sometimes Mad Men makes me doubt my own intellect, something that usually happens only when I wake up and survey the remnants of a wholly unnecessary Dallas Chicken meal bought drunkenly the night before. But there lives an intellectual joust within the self on watching high-quality, subtext-laden TV. Am I getting it "right"? If I type my interpretations into Google, will I find others think the same, thereby validating me? Or if I announce them in public will I be scorned by my peers for missing the allegory? Well, this time I'm going for broke. "Lost Horizon" is all about God.
Proof, if proof be needed, that if you wish hard enough for something it comes true, Lord Sugar has announced that Claude "The Gentleman Thug" Littner will replace Nick Hewer on the next season of The Apprentice. So in honour of the man who gives middle-managers from the East Midlands nightmares (and of me calling it all the way back in December
), here are 50 facts that are definitely true about Claude.
Having confidently predicted last week
that we were heading for a non-committal ending, inevitably I've mugged myself. Here, three episodes out, is the planet-killer. Don tells us this is the beginning of something, not the end, but the last time he told the truth was in about 1967 and it was only to tell Roger he couldn't pull off a kaftan.
Eastenders today announced the arrival of new family the Lees, and confirmed that whatever big storylines are in store for them are largely irrelevant as they'll be conducted behind closed doors like most people's are.
"This place reeks of failure," says the realtor trying to sell Don's empty penthouse apartment. Finally, a way in which Don Draper and I share a similarity: I'd live happily enough in a flat with only garden furniture and a TV too. I'd use only paper plates and just throw them over the balcony when I'd finished eating.
Megan's diary entry: "Got a million dollars off Don. Didn't have to have sex with Harry Crane. Best day of life so far by some stretch. Megan pour la victoire
The sixties are over, man. It's April 1970 and the Beatles are officially splitting up. Nixon is directing US troops to invade Cambodia. At the Kennedy Space Center the ground crew of the Apollo 13 are attempting to bring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton safely back from space. Oh, and Don Draper's banging a diner waitress in an alley.
The BBC has confirmed reports that Richard Hammond provoked the fracas between presenter and opinion-fabricator Jeremy Clarkson and a Top Gear producer. He then ran behind Clarkson and at intervals poked his tiny head into view to say "Yeah!" while the larger man conducted the argument. When the altercation turned physical he did little except aim a kick at the producer when he was on the ground and then back away hurriedly.
Hammond, 45, was asked to present the show in Clarkson's absence but, on realising none of his bigger mates were around, only went red and mumbled something about how he got loads of girls and his uncle owned a BMX factory. James May refused on the grounds of being literally incapable of anything.
Clarkson was predicted to end up doing really well out of the whole thing somehow and to have his cause tirelessly championed by people who think speed cameras are enforced by Sharia law or something.