Qatar hero: How Richard Keys provided the week's most Partridge moment

The former Sky Sports anchor welcomed a camera crew into his Doha home...

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The Independent Online

It was the week that Alan Partridge’s dream finally came true. Eighteen years after desperately pitching “Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank” to the “head of programming at the BBC” in the first episode of I’m Alan Partridge, the former WBO middleweight champion boxer shot a short promo film for a booking website called Hostelworld and declared himself in on the joke.

But this, if you are prepared to believe it, was not the most Partridge moment of the week, because that honour fell once again to Richard Keys, the Sky Sports anchor who “resigned” in 2011 after making derogatory comments about a female assistant referee and then dismissing his not-so-casual sexism as “banter”.

Keys has now, as Partridge would put it, bounced back and finds himself presenting for Al Jazeera while living in Doha, Qatar. Last week, he welcomed a camera crew from beIN Sports to his beautiful home, which he was quick to point out wasn’t actually his. The short film also revealed that Keys has a “fascination” with the Titanic as well as allowing us the glimpse inside his fridge that proves he shares with Partridge a love of Toblerone.

Later in the piece (called “Sneak Peak” and on YouTube), Keys is asked what he would save in the event of a fire. Women and children, first? Not a bit of it. Keys, who is married and has two children, replies without missing a beat: “Myself.”

Ye pods!

According to a recent report in the Lancet,  Japanese children (above, centre) are the healthiest in the world. (The UK’s are 23rd.) With that fact established, it was only a matter of time before we were being urged to serve our sprogs a sushi and sashimi diet, and next month that challenge will become easier with the publication of The Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Children (I’d tell you more but the book is under “strict embargo” until 24 September).

One thing I can reveal, is that the book will contain such recipes as beef, mushroom and vegetable gyoza that will no doubt prove invaluable in weaning our kids off fish fingers and Fruit Shoots. But though they seem to believe they are telling us all something we are unaware of, the writers and publishers might wish to bear in mind the reaction that a writer friend received recently when he put a plate of peas in front of his four-year-old. “Daddy,” she said when confronted with the dish, “are these a bit like edamame?”

Snail mail

Chances are that you will have received an email at some point telling you that a distant relative has died and left you a small fortune, or that you have won a foreign lottery and need to collect your winnings or that a person you know has been mugged on holiday and needs help to pay the hotel bill. Most of us just delete these scam emails without a second thought.

Not James Veitch. The “comedian and scamp” had a brainwave a couple of years ago and decided to waste as much of the scammers’ time as possible by replying to all their emails and attempting to engage them in lengthy conversation. The result is a book called Dot Con, published last week. 

“Most of the scammers caught on to what I was doing quite quickly, so there are hundreds of exchanges that didn’t make it into the book,” he says. What was the strangest scam he encountered?

“The weirdest was an email and Twitter exchange with someone called Oramaeze Maxwell. He was looking for investment in his farm and was promising huge returns. I asked him, ‘What sort of farm are we talking about? Will I need to milk a cow?’ He replied: ‘No cow business. Snail farm only.’ I asked: ‘How are we supposed to get milk from snails? Have you thought this through?’ I knew my investment was in safe hands when he reassured me with, ‘No, I don’t mean we milk snail but farm it so that all who eats snail can afford to buy snail’.”

No sleep till Springfield

There is, apparently, something of a trend in heavy metal music for bands based on characters from The Simpsons. The latest is a group from Phoenix, Arizona, called Okilly Dokilly (above) who dress up as Homer’s neighbour Ned Flanders. They are, according to singer Head Ned, the “world’s only Nedal band”. But not everyone in the Simpsons-themed-band fraternity is thrilled by Okilly Dokilly’s arrival. Last week, an Australian band named Dr Colossus (after a minor character) released a song called “Stupid. Sexy. Flanders”. “It is purely coincidental this has been released only days after a Flanders themed band decided to destroy the internet,” they insist.

No rhyme or reason

Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:

He’s the king of the new street-art cool,

But his work in an old disused pool

Is a theme park that’s dismal,

Its rides are abysmal,

As an idea it’s right off the wall.

Twitter: @simmyrichman