There’s no place like home!

You can think of many ways to spend a million, from good works to hedonism, but certainly the last thing I’d ever consider is buying an abandoned ghost town in California, without water, and trying to turn it into a tourist attraction.

But Brent Underwood did, with his life savings, with a partner and help from friends. He’s been chronicling it on YouTube in a series of utterly compelling video diaries since March this year when he decided to go for a week or two to see out the pandemic, before getting snowed in and spending six months alone in the mountains, surrounded by abandoned shacks, mine workings and the American Hotel, which is straight out of a cowboy movie.

It helps that Brent is utterly, wonderfully obsessive and flat-out bonkers – to call him eccentric is to seriously downplay his compulsion – and while he isn’t a smooth presenter, and his camera and audio work can be shaky, this is the best and most inspiring TV I’ve seen in ages.

The scenery, from his mountain-top eyrie over Death Valley, is stunning. He has a drone for aerial shots until it writes itself off into a tree while following him.

There is electricity to Cerro Gordo, but the town has been abandoned since the 1930s when the silver and zinc mines closed. It turns out there is water, not just from the snow, but it’s 700 feet down.

When locals – probably from the nearest place, Lone Pine, which is 20 miles away – are struck by how determined he is to reclaim the town, they fix up the 150-year-old hoist cage and lower Brent into the bowels of the earth and they all set about reconnecting and repairing the pipework to bring it back up.

Then there’s the hotel, a two-storey wooden structure which was built by Englishman John Simpson and his wife in 1871. Until it burns down. And Brent, of course, decides that, with help, it’ll be rebuilt exactly as it was.

The story is still unfolding. Who knows where it will go, but it’s unmissable.

Class, no question

Before Borat and Ali G, while Parkinson was still learning the ropes, there was Leta Drake Powell, perhaps the greatest interviewer of the stars of all time. She is Nebraska’s feistiest, asking the questions no-one else would dare, while putting a friendly hand on the arm.

She tells Gene Hackman he has done some brilliant pictures and “you’ve done some stinkers”.

To Lee Remick: “You got to work with Richard Burton in The Tempest … And now he’s dead.”

And to Tom Hanks: “How do you kiss underwater without bubbles coming out of your nose and mouth?”

Never have so many famous names been so comprehensively gobsmacked.

Leta is still alive at 82 and still working in TV in Nebraska. A legend.

Ya dancer, Scotland!

We need a new football anthem to get rid of that dreadful dirge, Flower Of Scotland. The magnificent fitba team have made the successor a rather simple choice with their celebratory song in the dressing room after the Serbia game. Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.

As the lyric puts it so succinctly, we need a certain song. And this is it.

Can you imagine 20,000 bedaubed Tartan Army guys singing it before the kickoff against England at Wembley? We’re coming, we’re coming, we’re boogying down the road.

That Harry Kane won’t know what’s hit him.

Covid Cold War

I WASN’T allowed to say anything before today, but it’s now okay for me to share that I volunteered for the Covid-19 vaccine trials that Imperial College is running in partnership with Oxford University. It’s important that we all do our part to beat this virus. The vaccine is the one that has been developed in Russia, Sputnik V.

I received my first dose yesterday and I wanted to let you all know that it’s completely safe, with иo side effects whatsoeveя, and that I feelshκι я чувю себя немного стрно и я думю, что вытл осные уши. чувству себя немго страо..Должно быть, это похмелье после этой великолепной победы, а не вакцина.