At some stage someone will figure it out: despite the Very Paul Curtains in the background, Mr Merton is recording just down the corridor from Mr Hislop. The makeup artists know already, of course, but they’re sufficiently young to imagine that no one over the age of fifty has any sort of sexual desire ever, and there are others on the show who are aware of the living situation but don’t think much of it.
In many ways – most ways – it’s a relief.
In others, it’s a bit insulting.
That’s when Paul starts going on about wanting a sculpture of himself. Ian has seen him do this kind of thing before. Paul has, over the years, wanted many things – including becoming pope and a ‘Paul Pride’ march – and mostly he has to be talked out of these desires. (Sometimes he is allowed get what he wants. Like a t-shirt with the cover of a particular issue of News of the World. Like a bit where he goes into daydream-mode and he and Ian are frolicking through a meadow together.)
And the cat. Paul has it in for that cat, the uninformed observer might deduce, except that he loves Colin. The wretched cat, of course, loves Paul more than anyone else in the house. Never mind that Ian’s the one who actually provides the food, changes the litter tray, does the damn work. It’s like a microcosm of the show for the last thirty years: Ian does the research and Paul swans in and gets all the credit.
If they were younger, they’d squabble more about it all; as it is, they bicker mildly before curling up in bed together.
It’s a guest room, if anyone asks. A spare room. Those curtains are a bit loud, yes. This part of the argument isn’t for them. Get ready for next week. Breathe in.