Editor-At-Large: Who wants to be a millionaire like sad, deluded Chris Tarrant?

"Chris Tarrant isn't a boy. He's a self-deluded bloke who shagged another woman and was surprised when his wife hired a private detective to find the evidence he'd lied to her and his children for years"
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The Independent Online

Is Chris Tarrant mad or bad? I just ask the question because only an insane numbskull would give an interview to Gloria Hunniford (shown yesterday on the Biography Channel) in which he admits to "playing away" for seven years, and then defends his behaviour by saying "boys do". Chris Tarrant isn't a boy, he's a self-deluded bloke who shagged another woman in a flashy pad he'd bought, and was then surprised when his wife hired a private detective to follow him and provide the evidence that he had been lying to her and the kids for years.

Being unfaithful isn't something that men, and not women do - and Chris sounds his age when he tries to propose that there are genetic differences between the sexes which allow men to snog women in winebars and have a bit on the side, and declares wives a bit unsporting if they take exception.

For years, Chris Tarrant deceived his wife, told her he was going on fishing trips, when the only rod that was seeing any usage was an appendage attached to his flabby torso. What is it about this man that refuses to see he should have just said "sorry", eaten humble pie, and tried to make it up to his family? He talks about "getting grief from the press" and describes his behaviour as "a man thing".

True, Chris has committed no crime; he's not a paedophile; he hasn't foisted himself on someone who wasn't willing; and he hasn't harmed society, spread disease or robbed a bank. He is a philanderer, not a serial killer. But his wife is right to feel let down, after he publicly humiliated her. He's guilty of shameful deceit, a horribly overblown ego, and a refusal to grow up gracefully.

I used to really like Chris, and have worked with him often. His wife was charming and intelligent. Why couldn't Chris see that there was only one candidate who would have been prepared to put up with him, to love and care for him, when he's 70 - and he's thrown it all away? It's pitiful.

The line that Dr Johnson penned just for Alain

What has happened to Alain de Botton? Once the thinking woman's telly crumpet, with his Channel 4 series on travel, architecture and philosophy, he seems to have got a bit too big for his boots. Alain lives in Brook Green, a comfortable, middle-class enclave in west London, between Hammersmith and Kensington, far posher than Shepherd's Bush and north Fulham.

But the balding philosopher is far from happy, telling an interviewer that he thinks London, and his particular neighbourhood, is "hideous", and he'd like to blow the whole place up. Brook Green is so repulsive, apparently, that it inspired Alain's latest book, The Architecture of Happiness. I couldn't find one bad thing to write about the architecture of London. There's not a day when I don't think how lucky I am to live in the most stimulating, varied, lively city in the world.

As for Alain's eulogy to Georgian architecture and the harmonious design for living of 250 years ago, it's ridiculous. Who wants to live in a house built when no one had bathrooms, and servants lived in the basement? Give me open-plan living and a loft conversion any day. As Dr Johnson said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

This is great panto. Trouble is it's meant to be a play

A newspaper headline last week announced: "Scientists uncover first signs of life in West End". It wasn't the discovery of a medieval manuscript for a musical based on The Canterbury Tales, but the excavation of a skeleton dating from AD410, near Trafalgar Square. I'm sure that a day spent digging at the site next to St Martin-in-the-Fields was more exciting than the evening I spent around the corner in the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, watching a play that should have been entombed before it arrived in Britain. Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is so pedestrian, so appalling, so hackneyed, that I can recommend you take a trip to enjoy this turkey before it folds. It stars Claire Bloom as an ageing widow who employs Billy Zane as her dance teacher. Mr Zane is one of those rare men who has lost his hair but retained loads of style. Sadly, even he can't save this awful play. Ms Bloom, on the other hand, fluffs her lines, delivers them in weird accents ranging from the deep south to Scunthorpe, and keeps us waiting while she changes into a series of unattractively clinging frocks. This show is a huge clunker, so enjoy it while you can.

Early panto: Matt Lucas was a desert island dream

Matt Lucas, below, is simply the greatest living Englishman. I hate 'Desert Island Discs' - partly because snooty Sue Lawley would have died rather than invite me on the programme. Nevertheless, last week was a desert island dream. Matt talked without a shred of self-pity about losing his hair as a child, being so fat he was taken to WeightWatchers, his father going to jail, and his parents splitting up. This was radio gold - and his choice of music absolutely top, ranging from Freddie Mercury to Sweeney Todd and The Kids from Fame. Going to a therapist generally means you lose your sense of humour, but in his case he is not only well-balanced, but effortlessly hilarious. The wedding celebrations with his partner Kevin are coming up, and guests have been told to come as panto characters. I've planned a beanstalk frock, although I may have to spend the day before sewing runner beans on it.

Punk birthday: Anarchy's back, and the chance to make millions

It's not even 2007 and we're in the midst of yet another spate of TV programmes taking a look back at punk. This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols' single 'Anarchy in the UK'. So ITV4 is devoting much of tonight's viewing to Johnny Rotten and his mates. So many punk celebrations are planned over the coming months - including a big exhibition at the Barbican in London - it's time to go through the attic to find those bondage trousers or Jamie Reid artwork: there's a fortune to be made on eBay. Somehow I don't think that Pete Doherty's discarded hats and shirts are going to have quite the resale value in a decade's time.

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