Captain Moonlight: Is sharing a bed suspicious, Stan? It certainly isn't, Ollie

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RIGHT. I think things have now gone quite far enough. Poor David Ashby. Whenever has a gourmet break attracted such criticism? It has come to a pretty pass when two men can't share a bed without this sniggering behind hands, press harassment and the drawing of certain unwarranted conclusions. Regard my picture. Did people see anything in this other than Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy sharing a blanket, comradeship and the odd sharp blow? They did not. And what of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise? Is the memory of Eric turning solicitously towards his small partner and inquiring 'Tea, Ern?' to be scrutinised for a subtext? Must there be sex with everything? Do I have to concern myself with what Eric and Ernie were doing before Eric leapt out at the sound of an ambulance to comment, shrewdly, that 'he won't sell many ice creams at that speed'?

There is more. The Times Literary Supplement is presently engaged upon a debate about whether or not Aladdin rubbing his lamp is a symbol of masturbation, or whether D H Lawrence's famous short story, The Rocking Horse Winner, should be seen 'in terms of obsessive onanism'. Crikey.

Consider, too, the sad story of Noddy. Once upon a time, Noddy and Big Ears shared a bed in Toytown and hugged each other. Not any more. At the end of 1989 a writer commissioned to update Noddy for the 1990s removed the bed scene at the same time as the golliwogs were turned into goblins.

I noticed, too, that after Mr Ashby compared his behaviour with that of touring rugby and cricket teams, leading sportsmen queued up to deny any such sharing. Pampered creatures. Whatever happened to team spirit? Such fastidiousnesses do not obtain throughout the noble games. Indeed, I am in a position to reveal exclusively that the substantial figures of the food and drink editor of the Guardian and a political correspondent of the Sun once shared a bed while in pursuit of the oval ball; and, then, of course, there was the interesting case of the industrial reporter and the general secretary of the NUM.

And what about the SAS? The Ministry of Defence may refuse to comment, but it is common knowledge that these brave chaps often share sleeping bags to combat the cold. Standard survival technique. Snigger at them, I say. Or at Roy Rogers. Who can ever forget his classic rejoinder to offers of hospitality: 'I allus sleeps with my hoss'? But these are dangerous times. Perhaps it might be better, for the time being, to follow the wise advice of the mother of the legendary 'Sir' Geoffrey Boycott, that it was always safer to take a bat to bed.

(Photograph omitted)