I WAS looking forward to this new series, with tonight’s opening episode promising to tell the “secrets” of the Royal Yacht Britannia, because there was indeed a juicy secret about this old ship, concerning a Cold War plan called Python.

Before a nuclear war, Britain’s government would disperse around the country in small groups, with one to be hidden at sea off the coast of Oban, on either Britannia or HMS Engadine.

This secret plan was only recently revealed, so it’s inexplicable that this show, having such brilliant material to work with, chooses instead to tell us about Britannia’s cutlery, cushions and curtains, with just a tiny nod to the nuclear secret.

We do learn something of the colourful history of a ship now berthed in Edinburgh now as a tourist attraction, though, such as a rescue mission where she scooped evacuees off the beach in Aden. But this still feels like a missed opportunity. The show goes for silly old naval nostalgia instead of telling us this fine ship’s truly secret history.

WHEN this show was first broadcast on Radio 4, I used to leap across the kitchen to switch it off. I can’t stand the voice of the main character’s voice, who sounds like his throat is stuffed with stale bread.

This is the third series of the Graham Linehan and Steve Delaney comedy, with the latter playing Arthur Strong, an ageing music hall actor who likes to think fondly of his imaginary glory days. Rory Kinnear plays the shy and sensible son of Strong’s former comedy partner. They do create a nice little double act but I just cannot take to this sitcom.

Tonight, Strong is in the local greasy spoon cafe trying his hand at fortune telling and making sure his customers are horribly distressed by his “predictions”.