James Delingpole James Delingpole

Character is destiny

Character is destiny

I’ll be honest. I’ve watched less than bugger-all TV this week. The three bridge evenings (one of them, get this, tutored by the legendary Susanna Gross) didn’t help, nor yet did the parents’ barbecue evening at our kids’ new school, and Wednesday night is Pilates night so obviously that’s no good, and you wouldn’t seriously expect me to waste time watching preview tapes during my actual working day.

But I did catch a bit of 49 Up (ITV1, Thursday) — will that do? Yes. We find this series especially intriguing in my family because one of the children whose fortunes the film has been following every seven years of his life is my wife’s cousin John Brisby. At least it would have done if he hadn’t decided some time back that he didn’t much like the intrusion and pulled out.

For the latest programme he’s opted back in and there has been much speculation in our household as to why. We think either it’s to promote the charitable work he does with Bulgarian orphanages or to stick two fingers up at Blair and say what an absolute tosser he is for banning hunting, which, John being a QC, he’s going to have some difficulty practising in any meaningful way any more. I don’t know which, unfortunately, because the episode we watched had only two people, who weren’t John, on it.

Forty-nine — even more than 40, which is the freaky landmark I’ve just reached —strikes me as a terrifyingly interesting age to be. You’re still sexually and sportily capable enough to think of yourself as an elderly young person rather than a young old person, and you’ve still enough years left not to consider major changes of life wholly out of the question.

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