Charles dance

Identity politics is in retreat in Hollywood

‘Diversity is woven into the very soul of the story.’ If those words of praise from a rave review in a left-leaning journal sound to you about as inviting as a cup of cold sick, then my advice would be to stay well clear of The Sandman. Neil Gaiman’s epic graphic novel series (launched in 1989), set in the world of dreams, was relentlessly inclusive long before it became the norm. ‘I wanted to change hearts and minds,’ Gaiman has said in an interview. ‘I had trans friends and still do, and it seemed to me that no one was putting trans characters into comics. And I had a comic.’

How The Spectator discovered Helen Mirren

One of the first jobs I ever did for The Spectator was to find out if professional wrestlers fixed the outcome of their fights in advance. This was 1965. The editor who wanted to know was Iain Macleod, a future chancellor of the exchequer filling in time while his party was out of office by dabbling in journalism. He turned out to be an addict of the professional wrestling screened on Saturday afternoon TV. In spite of the spinal disease that had immobilised his back and neck, he mimed what he meant by throttling himself without getting up from his chair in an Indian deathlock. His deputy editor, his political