Did anyone else read Robert Harris giving Gyles Brandreth an absolute kicking in The Sunday Times, and think, Woah, steady on, Bob. What’s Gyles ever done to you? This is like punching Paddington Bear, or strangling Sooty. Surely there are more worthy candidates for a coldblooded character assassination than this harmless old hack, whose sole and modest ambition in life has been to give people who like doilies and macaroons a gentle chuckle?
The harshest you could say of Brandreth, surely, is that he is a bit of a name-dropping old ham. Perhaps a soporific milksop. You might even call him a namby-pamby flimflammer or a flummering fop, but surely no reasonable person would want to go so far as to suggest that he was a preening pansy or a simpering poltroon?
And yet in his review Harris calls Brandreth ‘tedious’ and ‘a creep’ and furthermore implies that the Countdown stalwart is a canting prig, a humbugging punchinello, a coxcomical poetaster and even a pontificating soi-disant.
This all strikes me as being a somewhat over-egged evisceration of a man who is, at the very worst, a waffling old creampuff.
Meanwhile, in a rather kinder review of Gyles’s diaries, Camilla Long extracts a typical anecdote in which Brandreth lunches with the Great Blogger himself, and which ends with the immortal line:
“I am never early. I am never late. I am Jeffrey Archer.”
Jeffrey Archer – now there’s a real c***.