Benet Brandreth is more than a chip off the old block, father Gyles; he’s a full-scale plank, and proud of it, too. He admits he’s the fortunate beneficiary of an expensive education paid for by twenty seasons of Countdown.
Close your eyes, and you can hear Gyles in every word. Open them, and there he is again. But the uncanny thing is that Benet’s very much his own man despite being so emphatically the very opposite.
And he embodies a continuation of Brandreth-ness to a remarkably non-irritating degree. He went to Cambridge, not Oxford. He is a fully over-paid up barrister. He fancies himself as a bit of a ladies man. He seems to be intimately acquainted with the Duke of Edinburgh. And he’s a secret agent for a right-wing government, not a puppet MP.
His unlikely story embraces a thwarted Hollywood career in which, after playing Hamlet, he dated Vanessa Paradis, worked as a Brad Pitt body double and appeared in a little-known movie with Jennifer Aniston, Cheer Up, Love, based on Anna Karenina.
He saves the Royal Yacht from an attack by the hit-and-mythical Kraken, makes an unwise pass at Demi Moore, re-moulds his life as a conceptual artist and tracks down his girlfriend on a pro-Iraq war march that he has organised.
On the eve of the one-before-last royal wedding, the Duke of Edinburgh is kidnapped and abducted to a Turkish bath in Whitechapel.
Benet, bold and brazen, no meek daddy’s boy he, faces down his potential nemesis, or Moriarty: the call comes through from Cameron (Dave, not Mackintosh). He buckles on his holster... it’s all delightfully funny, and a bit Brandreth bonkers, too.