Watching brief - Amanda Platell

<em>Today</em> is in danger of becoming yesterday's first news choice. The sound of Jim Naughtie fli

When you are away from Britain for some time, as I have recently been, there are some things you really miss - the humour, the humidity, the hustle, the hassle and the Today programme. So it pains me to say that while the former remain faithful to my memory, Today is teetering as our most serious current affairs news programme. The sound of Jim Naughtie flirting with Sarah Montague last week had me reaching for the sick bag.

His hissy fit with John Reid, when he mistakenly thought the Secretary of State for Defence had accused the programme of being a propaganda tool for al-Qaeda, was a silly overreaction.

The lowest point came in Montague's interview with the breathtakingly complacent immigration minister Tony McNulty after news broke that there were roughly 280,000 illegal immigrants in the UK. When he admitted he had absolutely no idea how many people were in the country illegally, and appeared to care less, there was not a word of inquisition from our intrepid interviewer.

With John Humphrys leaving soon, Today is in danger of becoming yesterday's first news choice.

Is the BBC in the grip of another bout of self-revulsion, insecurity and crippling political correctness? What else could explain Tuesday's Breakfast Show introduction about the numbers of illegal immigrants, claiming it was "a case of overstaying their welcome"?

More than a quarter of a million people who have broken our laws and abused our system - and they describe them like a busload of lost Cuban tourists.

The previous day, in one of the lunchtime news bulletins, a survey of the appalling standards in maternity wards was illustrated with a film of a black baby and mother, the following story about bullying in schools supported by a film of Asian and black teenagers.

Since when did a respect for the breadth of cultures in our society mean that the BBC had to over-represent the minorities within it?

Well done the Sunday Mirror, for providing the only light relief of the weekend. Well, it was the nanny who did, actually: Jude Law's nanny.

The little mite kept a diary of her time with Law, revealing how the actor, engaged to Sienna Miller, "made me whole body tingle" when they made love on his pool table.

Law said he would help the nanny, Daisy Wright, find another position after she was sacked - apart from the one on the pool table - and suggested his friends David and Victoria Beckham. Coincidentally, their nanny recently left and sold her diary to the papers.

Given David Beckham's recent romantic misdemeanours, I imagine Posh would find Daisy a most unattractive proposition. She, too, has a pool table.

The sixth Harry Potter book hit the stands and the newspapers predictably sent their cub reporters to cover the event at Edinburgh Castle. The Sunday Telegraph's Peaches Geldof provided the perfect example of precocious teen scribbling - overwritten, arch and missing all the joy of the event that was so perfectly captured by the Times's George Moore or the Guardian's Lizzie Atkinson. The problem with some celebrity teenage journalists is that they are far less interested in their subjects than themselves.

Having said that, I am much missing the hand of the Sunday Telegraph's new editor, Sarah Sands, at the Saturday Telegraph. It was one of my favourite weekend reads; now it feels a bit blokey. Apart from the new byline pictures - Matthew d'Ancona looks positively hunky - the deft touch of Sands is not yet really apparent in her new paper. But with the wall-to-wall coverage of the London bombings it has been understandably difficult to bring light and shade to any title.

In yet another example of her humble desire to stay well in the background, Camilla Parker Bowles now has her own coat of arms. Alongside the usual lions, harps and crowns, Mrs P B has chosen a wild boar, to reflect her family's heritage. Given the nickname coined by the late Diana and still favoured by many, a Rottweiler might have been more appropriate.

One of the real benefits of the Tory leadership race is the spotlight it has cast on some of the outside contenders, giving them a chance to shine. One such candidate is Alan Duncan, who announced, in an article in the Guardian, that he had pulled out. Duncan was the first openly gay Tory MP with aspirations to high office, a clever man with fine media skills. His article was predictably eloquent, yet clumsy in describing the more morally censorious members of his party as the "Tory Taliban". In these dark days such terms should not be thrown around lightly.