This week saw the death of Ricardo Montalban, who is probably best known in this country for his role as the proprietor of Fantasy Island, a place where visitors could, for a fee, live their dreams. Ricardo greeted clients in an immaculate white suit and, assisted by Tattoo, his diminuitive assistant, handed out lessons for living to people who rather badly needed them.
It probably wasn't his finest moment as an actor, and his fans probably knew him better as a bit of a heartthrob in his time, but he gave his character depth and a sense of moral authority when dealing with those who had an exaggerated sense of their importance or value.
Unfortunately, his death, at the age of 88, means that he can't help Digby Jones to see the error of his recent statement about the Civil Service, so I'll have to stand in for him.
I see that Digby is of the view that many civil servants deserve the axe. Funnily enough, my fellow civil servants would quite like to take an axe to him...
Whilst he believes that the Civil Service is 'honest, stuffed with decent people who work hard', he was amazed 'at how many people deserved the sack and yet that was the one threat that they never worked under, because it doesn't exist'.
Lord Jones of Birmingham was appointed as a Life Peer in 2007 to serve as a Government Minister, stood down in 2008 and has now resigned the Labour whip, sitting as a crossbencher. As a Life Peer, he cannot be removed from his position except by death. Ironic, isn't it?
In the meantime, I raise a glass to Ricardo Montalban. He brought a little sunshine to the lives of filmgoers everywhere. Not a bad epitaph...