Diary: Too many miles on the clock

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The Independent Online

On Sunday, BBC2 aired the Top Gear Botswana special for the 15th time. Unwittingly, I found myself watching it again. If you haven't seen it (which would involve you not owning a television) it's the one where James May does not get eaten by lions, despite Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson, secreting raw meat inside his Mercedes as they drive across the southern African nation. Hammond also does not drown in the Okavango when his Opel Kadett sinks. And Clarkson crashes his Lancia, but not fatally. According to the BBC website, this single episode of Top Gear has been repeated, on average, once every 2.2 months since its original broadcast in November 2007 (and that's not even counting the myriad times it's been re-run on Dave and Dave Ja Vu). Statistically speaking, you are almost as likely to find the Top Gear Botswana special when you turn on the television as you are the news. For my licence fee, I'd expect something a little more original during prime-time.

* The Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham appears to have had his campaign website, andy4leader.com, designed along the lines of a Gary Numan LP cover, guy-liner included. "The intention is to reflect traditional political posters but with a modern edge," Burnham's communications director, Stuart Bruce, tells me. "One message of the campaign is that the Labour Party has a history to be proud of, but we've got to operate differently in the 21st century." But doesn't this design hark back to the early 1980s? Not many great electoral memories for Labour supporters there. "Actually, it's more an echo of the posters of the 1920s: the Soviet-type ones." The Soviets? Seems a little extreme. Still, at least they knew how to hold on to power once they had it.

* It seems that Jeremy Hunt, the new Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, has yet to master certain aspects of his brief, including the internet. In a column for The Mail On Sunday, Piers Morgan reveals that Hunt had no idea what Britain's Got Talent was when the pair met, despite it being top of the TV ratings. And during the televised election debates, Hunt shamefully mistook an "@" for a hash tag while tweeting derogatory thoughts about Nick Clegg. Post-election, the Conservative edited his Twitter feed, thus wiping (or so he thought) the unfortunate references to his party's coalition partner from the public record. Unfortunately, bloggers have accessed Hunt's past tweets and published them. The minister did manage to announce, without mishap, the birth of his son to his 3,000-plus followers on Friday. Nevertheless, it is best to learn web etiquette thoroughly if you're to be the one regulating the web.

* Lembit Opik makes his post-parliamentary stand-up comedy debut at London's Backstage Comedy Club tomorrow. The 70-strong crowd will include his former Commons colleague Stephen Pound MP. Asked if he was on the guest list, Pound responded, "There's no way I'd blag my way into that; the poor lad needs all the support he can get. I'm paying £7 for it." Pound and Opik once appeared on the same bill at the Comedy Store. Characterising Opik's style, Pound said: "He's wry and dry and whismical and witty and occasionally utterly incoherent." Does he have groupies? "He's the most unlikely babe-magnet in the Western world. I've never understood the appeal but he works his magic somehow – though demonstrably not with the electorate of Montgomeryshire."