David Lister: Beckham's off-guard moment

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The Independent Online

David Beckham flew into Italy on Monday to rejoin his club AC Milan, and was met at the training ground by an armed security guard. Such is the routine of a midfielder if you are David Beckham. What slightly perturbed me was the picture of the fulsome greeting that Beckham gave to the said armed security guard. The pair exchanged a friendly, almost passionate, hug.

I think there should be a definite pecking order for footballer hugs. You can hug your teammates when you or they score. You can hug your manager, but only on special occasions such as cup finals. Too often, and it looks like sycophancy. You can hug your wife and children in the close season. But not your security guard, David. A security guard should be invisible: present and potent, shadowy and dangerous, but always unacknowledged. Flaunt them and every footballer will want one.

Seeing stars... again and again on BBC1

Aside from the fact that too much of it was disappointingly below par, BBC1 television on Christmas Day could have left you feeling confused. We all know that you see an actor in a programme and then the same actor can pop up in another programme and, well, that's showbiz. It's what actors do. But I wonder if it has ever happened quite so often in quite such close proximity.

EastEnders at 8pm, the most watched programme of the night, starred Larry Lamb as Archie Mitchell, a particularly nasty man who meets a particularly nasty end.

Two hours later at 10pm there was Larry Lamb playing loveable Mick, Gavin's dad in Gavin and Stacey. Gavin himself is played by Mathew Horne.

That would be the same Mathew Horne who re-emerged immediately at 10.30pm to play, with a remarkably similar personality, Catherine Tate's grandson in Nan's Christmas Carol. Playing the ghost of Christmas Present in the same show was David Tennant, who began the evening at 6pm as Dr Who (as well, of course, as being the face of the channel's Christmas idents and a guest on the Christmas Eve edition of the quiz QI).

The BBC certainly lets you know who its stars of the seasons are, even if it makes suspension of disbelief a little more tricky than usual.