Diary: Maverick... with a Volvo

It took five whole episodes, but I've finally worked out what was bothering me about BBC1's
Luther, starring Idris Elba as maverick copper DCI John Luther: the man drives a Volvo. Morse had his Jag, Gene Hunt his Audi Quattro, Rebus his Saab. But a Volvo? Would a maverick really drive a car with such an impeccable safety record? "Originally, Luther wasn't going to have a car at all," novelist Neil Cross, Luther's creator, explains in an email. "The producer pointed out this may prove to be impractical in a drama show... I wanted to give Luther the kind of car a man who didn't care much about cars he might buy, begrudgingly, when backed into a corner. He bought it 10 years ago from his erstwhile next-door neighbour, Fat Thommo Chitwood, for £500 and a David Bowie bootleg on blue vinyl. He suspects that at some point in its long history it was probably stolen, because there was a half-eaten packet of Murray Butter Mints in the glove box. It's probably still there."

* How much does Mark Regev earn? Not enough, probably. Israel's foreign press spokesman has a tough gig, nightly shielding his nation from the insinuations of Paxman, Snow et al. In Israel, his is a permanent civil service position; so is his salary public? And does he, Jock Stirrup-style, make more than his boss? "Civil service salaries are modest here in Israel," Regev says, when I interrupt one of his more difficult days with my call. "But I'm not sure I want to make mine public. I'm only the spokesperson. I can assure you I earn less than my Prime Minister and my ministers." Israel's PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, took a 5 per cent pay cut in 2009, leaving him less than £80,000 per year, not including his free room and board. Which means Regev, Israel's televisual ambassador to the world, last year earned less than half the salary of Sir Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser at our own Department of Communities and Local Government.

* While I'm on those paid to defend the allegedly indefensible, BP has hired a new PR flack. Anne Womack-Kolton has a fine record of rep-bolstering for the unpopular: she was Dick Cheney's press secretary during the 2004 election, responsible for maintaining the vice-president's teddy bear-like public image. BP evidently thinks she can save its Stateside reputation in the face of falling share prices and rising crude levels in the Gulf of Mexico. I give her about as much chance as an oil-slathered sea turtle.

* New MPs Rory Stewart (Con, Penrith and the Border) and Tristram Hunt (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent) have been declared the hippest cats in the Commons, coming 45th and 48th respectively on GQ's annual list of the world's coolest gentlemen. No surprise that Dylan Jones's publication prefers the Tory. The GQ editor published a book of highly congenial interviews with David Cameron, whom his magazine named Britain's "most influential man" while Gordon Brown was still PM. The entire top 50 seems in thrall to the upper class: number one is Prince Harry, to whom Old Etonian Stewart was once tutor. Hunt, the son of a lord, is one of Labour's poshest parliamentarians. He told me: "I look forward to taking Dylan Jones around the stylish and attractive pubs, bars and cultural attractions of Stoke-on-Trent." Hunt was beaten to 47th by Dappy of N-Dubz who, as mentioned here before, attended "Labour's Eton": Haverstock School, which educated the Milibands and Oona King.

* Ken Livingstone, King's mayoral rival, ruffled one reporter's feathers before his campaign even started: Martin Bright, political editor of The Jewish Chronicle, who made an unflattering documentary about the ex-mayor before the 2008 election. In a recent interview for the Iranian Press TV network, Livingstone described Bright as "a bit of an Islamophobe". Bright's open letter to Livingstone in the JC's latest issue charges him with libel, but says an apology would suffice. Maybe Livingstone should take that offer: he recently had to pay a reported £11,000 damages after accusing a Labour colleague of (what else?) Islamophobia.


Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most