Ed Miliband has been accused of nicking a gag from Sarah Millican in his response to today’s Budget.
The Opposition leader raised laughs in the House of Commons with his sly reference to the monied background of most of the Cabinet.
Referring to ITV’s Downton Abbey, Millband joked: ‘We all think it's a costume drama. They think it's a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
However, as Twitter was quick to point out, a similar line had been used in Sarah Millican’s BBC Two show last Thursday.
Political PR guru Dylan Sharp was first to point out: ‘Wasn't that line on Downton Abbey nicked from Sarah Millican's TV show last week?’
And comedy reviewer Stephanie Merritt gave the idea more traction by writing on the Guardian website that she was impressed with Miliband’s quick wit ‘at least until a minute or so later, when it occurred to me that I had heard the line somewhere before. Then it came to me: the comedian Sarah Millican had used a strikingly similar joke on her BBC2 show.’
Although Millican’s idea was similar to the one used by Miliband (or supplied by his speech-writers), she had expressed it in a different way.
Her original version was: ‘I watch any costume drama about the upper classes. What was that brilliant show last year full of posh people dressed up in ridiculous outfits being fawned on by people who are common as muck? Oh, that’s right the royal wedding.
‘Downton Abbey must be like watching Big Brother for the Queen.’