Dear Diana

I saw 'Keeping Mum' on Friday. Some young man in the queue said to his girlfriend, "Do you want to see 'Keeping Mum'? It's got Rowan Atkinson in it?" "Naw," she rasped, "I am SO over Rowan Atkinson."

Rowan did a muted but decent job as the hard working country vicar whose frustrated wife has to contend with a randy golf pro, a promiscuous teenage daughter and a homicidal housekeeper who turns out to be...

It's all very much cut to a pattern of quirky British black comedy with Kristin Scott Thomas endeavouring to play with gusto and give life to a script in urgent need of a respirator. Maggie Smith floats through as the homicidal hag who does for James Booth and his noisy dog, Clarence.

Jimmy's in about three scenes (two of which has him looking for his hound) and I guess he must have been in the scene where Maggie despatches him, but I dozed off. Anyway, he's at the bottom of a pond in the final scene which has a certain potency, certainly for an actor's last act fade.

I hadn't seen him for some time so I was shocked by his appearance, and by the fact that he was given no lines of any consequence. To me, it was further evidence that outside of a few megatalents (MesDames Dench and Smith, for example) British cinema continues to squander and waste its veterans.

As for the film, I found it mediocre, slightly unpleasant in its attempted melding of a comedy of murder and The Vicar of Dibley with modish four letter words: all very half hearted. However, the afternoon screening audience (including 6 noisy teenage girls) laughed quite a bit.

Now to search out some decent copies of Sparrows Can't Sing and The Bliss of Mrs Blossom...

Hope all is well with you