Backchat was impressed by the commitment shown by one insurance company press officer to his job. When contacted about a story, Mark Bishop of Cornhill said he had a dental appointment that afternoon, but could still be reached at the surgery if need be.

This might have proved an irresistible temptation to some hacks. We had a mischievous vision of the said press officer having to reach for his ringing mobile phone while reclined on the dentist's chair, his mouth being probed by dental implements.

Needless to say, we resisted making any call – just as we resisted the temptation to reproduce the press officer's phone number here – but were amazed at his sense of duty.

Could this be a passing phase, we wonder, or the influence of the insurer's German parent?