(Image: AAP/James Ross)

Damn shame they don't play movies like The Great Race and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines on TV any more.

Those comic tales of moustache-twirling villains and hapless well-meaning innocents would serve us well in recognising a schemer from afar.

For example, what can you say about Richard Branson? Here's this leonine, dazzling-eyed bloke with his striking goatee who arrives somewhere in a balloon -- an actual goddamn balloon -- asks for a pile of your money, throws it into the basket and takes off again. In his balloon. Over and over and over. How does this keep happening? Does no one hear, as Branson drifts into view, the sinister laugh of Muttley behind him?