Daily Mail

If you want to avoid getting old behave like an immature Burke

- CHRISTOPHE­R STEVENS Kathy Burke: Growing Up HHHHI The Bay HHHHI

The comedian Kathy Burke doesn’t tiptoe around delicate topics. Instead she puts on her bovver boots and starts stomping. She thinks anyone who lies about their age is ‘ a bit pathetic actually’, and insists she’ll never have plastic surgery, ‘ cos where does that end? Madonna!’

But even she was deluding herself a little, as she faced up to being 58 on Kathy Burke: Growing Up (Ch4). When she was a wild young woman, she said, senility began at 40, and anyone approachin­g 60 was pretty much decrepit. Now, she says hopefully, you can be in your prime for decades longer. Getting old is optional till well after 80.

I’m a few weeks senior to Kathy, and I’ve got sad news for her. Millennial­s don’t only regard our generation as dinosaurs — they assume that by 58, we’re functional­ly extinct. Proof of that was on show in Interior Design Masters this week, when two youthful contestant­s were challenged to decorate an apartment for ‘ a mature older couple’ — in their 40s. host Alan Carr made it sound like a remit for stairlifts and a live-in nurse.

You can forget the adage that ‘life begins at 40’. In this youth-obsessed culture, life is all over at 40.

The only effective response is to behave like a Burke: ‘ The older I get, the more immature I’m becoming,’ she said. ‘I like being naughty — it’s seen as eccentric when you’re older. Do what you want, and try not to get arrested.’

exploring some of the stranger ways people can keep themselves young, Burke met Mistress Sofia, who tops up her pension by working as a dominatrix — in her 70s! Sofia’s dungeon was stocked with racks of handcuffs, a school desk and cane, and a leather-clad whipping table — hand-built for her by one of her ‘slaves’, or gentlemen callers.

Presumably, he made it in his garden shed. I’d love to know what he told his wife he was up to.

Kathy admired Mistress Sofia’s work ethic, but didn’t envy her: ‘I couldn’t do that line of work cos I would kill them . . . accidental­ly on purpose.’

her investigat­ions, laced with coarse humour and frequently funny enough to make me snort, ended with a visit to a Croydon undertaker’s, where the funeral director tried to sell her a coffin covered with ostrich skin. I don’t much care what happens to my earthly remains, but I’d rather they weren’t used as the stuffing in a roast ostrich, like Sunday dinner in the Serengeti, thanks all the same.

Seething dislike between the police and the fire service on The Bay (ITV1) provoked a couple of one-liners in the Burke mould. One copper referred to firefighte­rs as ‘ Trumpton’ and sneered, ‘Don’t you have a calendar to pose for?’

Previous series of this crime drama have been leaden with virtue-signalling characters and storylines. This time, writer Daragh Carville has set political correctnes­s aside and concentrat­ed on strong characters with plenty of secrets — and The Bay is far better for it.

DS Jenn Townsend (Marsha Thomason) is probing an arson attack in which a mother-of-four died. her boss thinks the house was firebombed by accident: there’s a probation hostel a few doors down that makes a more likely target.

But the dead woman’s husband has money problems, alcohol problems and family problems, just for starters. Joe Armstrong plays him with a mixture of selfpity and menace, and enough real grief to keep our sympathy.

As he whined and snarled in the police interview room, I was struck by how much his face and mannerisms resembled that great character actor Alun Armstrong.

And then the penny dropped. Joe is starting to look a lot like his dad. Age will do that to you.

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