Irish Sea

Pedigree chum: Is Alexander Armstrong the poshest man in comedy?

More so than Miranda Hart, Stephen Fry and David Mitchell, Alexander Armstrong seems to be the acceptable face of posh comedy. With his comically large ears (a gift from his father), crinkly smile, affable demeanour and (crucially, perhaps) lack of smarty pants, he's the cuddly side of the upper classes in an age when, rather oppressively, toffs seem to be taking over again. Even Armstrong's overgrown Hooray Henry, 'Harry', in those adverts for Pimm's – alcopops for the privileged – is cherishable. Not that he drinks the stuff in public, he says, for fear of wags shouting, "It's Pimm's o'clock" – one of the great advertising campaigns, by the way, that helps explain some of Armstrong's wider appeal. The more you parody the posh, as the creatives at the advertising agency Mother realised, the more accessible they become to other groups.

Frustrated O'Connell raring to go

Paul O'Connell, the Ireland captain, is champing at the bit to get back into the action against Italy in Dublin today, and says his side's enforced three-week lay-off nearly drove him crazy.

David Kelly: Irish actor who played the feckless O'Reilly in 'Fawlty

To British television viewers, David Kelly was the stereotypical Irishman, guaranteed perpetuity through his appearance as O'Reilly, the inept contractor hired by Basil in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Builders". After botching a job inside the hotel, he is seen taking issue with Basil's disgruntled wife. "I like a woman with spirit," he unwisely says, before Sybil batters him with an umbrella. "I've been 52 to 53 years on stage and yet Fawlty Towers, those full nine minutes, make me recognised anywhere in the world," he once said.

Fingal Bay takes Neptune plunge

There is some significant Cheltenham i-dotting and t-crossing due to be carried out later this week but a certain amount of punctuation was put in place yesterday ahead of the four-day, £3.3m Festival that starts four weeks today. Binocular, for instance, one of Nicky Henderson's Champion Hurdle candidates, will miss tomorrow's Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso and challenge for the title he won two years ago without further conditioning in public.

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