The Gangster And The Pervert Peer (C4, 9pm); Come Dine With Me (C4, 5.30pm, until Friday).

THE Profumo scandal was the story that made the headlines in the Sixties, but The Gangster And The Pervert Peer, the latest film in the Toffs and Crims season, reveals an equally lurid and sensational story.

It has everything you could possibly want to get you licking your lips in anticipation of a trip into the sordid side of life.

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There are kinky MPs – one Tory and one Labour to ensure a balance – involved with rent boys, sex parties and the Krays, who ran the East End of London.

These exploits were kept out of the papers through political corruption and a press afraid to print the truth.

Political celebrity Lord Boothby lived a double life. This included an affair with Dorothy, Harold Macmillan’s wife.

She was his “beard” – the cover for the fact that he was homosexual. Rather unkindly, it is suggested that he took up with Dorothy because her looks reminded him of a caddy he’d once had on the golf course in St Andrews.

One of Boothby’s young male acquaintances was Leslie Holt, a burglar. It is claimed that his lordship gave him the names and addresses of people he didn’t like, so Holt could burgle them while they were on holiday.

He was also chums with East End gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, who ran a profitable protection racket.

Enter Labour MP Tom Driberg, who was turned on by dangerous sex in lavatories and lifts, and a criminal type, Mad Teddy Smith. He could speak several languages although someone notes that “I don’t think he told the truth in any of them”.

They all came together for saucy parties involving rent boys and sex shows.

We hear of a certain sexual practice that Boothby enjoyed. I won’t relate the details on the grounds of taste. Suffice to say, it involved a lord, a glass table and a natural function. “I would have thought it would put you off your cornflakes forever,”

suggests one interviewee.

You really couldn’t make this up if you tried. The characters also included the marvellously-titled Lord Effingham and journalist Michael Thornton, who found himself in the company of the Krays and their political friends.

He had a great front page story, but no one would print it. “I came close to being murdered, to being homosexually raped and all for no story,” he says.

Much of this was common knowledge, but newspapers didn’t dare print any of it. One published a story under the headline Peer and a gangster: Yard probe, but didn’t name names or print an incriminating picture deemed too sensitive for publication.

Amazingly, Boothby demanded and got an apology, along with a massive £40,000 in damages, for a story which was actually true. He even got up in the House of Lords and tabled a question that the Krays should be released on bail after their arrest.

Even today, people are being protected.

Writer John Pearson views police files on the Krays that were not previously accessible to the public. The names of some of the Krays’ supporters have been blacked out because, according to the Attorney General’s office, they are still alive.

C4 were unable to provide a preview DVD of Come Dine With Me, which is a pity because this week’s dinner parties are in Newcastle, as five strangers host feasts for each other.

Regular viewers of this addictive series know that the food comes second to the bitching and arguing, while Dave Lamb’s commentary takes the mickey out of the cooks’ idiosyncracies.

The interest for many of us will be focused on Tuesday when someone I know – indeed many media people in the North- East know – PR executive Bernice Saltzer, who runs Sorted PR, is the chef.

I hope she doesn’t have to go into hiding after five days exposure on the box.

It’s not the food that counts, but what role the programme-makers decide to cast her in.

The Radio Times listing states that “she hopes a two-dessert meal will impress her fellow diners”. Maybe, but she has Ashley’s stilton-encrusted fillet steak and Roy’s unseasonable Christmas dinner to contend with.

I do hope no glass tables are involved as memories of Lord Boothby’s party trick would put anyone off their food.