The saga of John Darwin [not much indication of Intelligent Design there] is priceless. As it continues to unravel every new snippet of information, adding to the twists and contradictions, brings more entertainment into the dark days of winter and raises more smirks and smiles. The allegations already made by the police and those which they are considering are serious enough but that’s not what has grabbed everyones’ attention; it’s not everyday that a story so fascinating, so funny, so breathtakingly loopy comes to light . . . and there’s still lots more of it to come . . . In addition to the story itself everyone has been finding their own angle and digging up their own meaning.

First, in 2002, Darwin does his Reggie Perrin act and apparently gets away with it. Then he resurfaces more than 5 years later, looking very svelte, suntanned and well-presented, claiming to be a missing person but having no memory of any events after 2000. His wife, who has cashed in his insurance policies and sold their UK properties has done a bunk to Panama and, when contacted by the press, says she is delighted to hear of him being refound. Then things start unravelling as sightings of the ‘dead’ man come to light and even photographs. So both Anne and John Darwin begin to adjust their stories. Both sons, meanwhile, have claimed they knew nothing of their father’s disappearance or their mother’s involvement in the alleged fraud, but both apparently left their jobs before John Darwin reappeared.

Only someone from Britain could be so stupid and so amusing at the same time. What a shame that the Darwin Awards are only given to those who succeed in genuinely killing themselves. Couldn’t the organisers set up a new category Least Best Attempt or some such? Or maybe we need to establish something entirely new, a Reginald Perrin Award. Any volunteers for the panel of judges?

There’s obviously a lot more to come from this story, enough to keep us entertained during the coming months.