The departing NHS England chief executive Sir David Nicholson has been accused of many, many things, but naivety has not been among them as far as End Game can recall.

But perhaps he’s a more innocent soul than we thought.

We learn that Sir David recently gave a speech to an audience of eminent folk from government and industry, in which he repeatedly made reference to the precise amount of time he had left in post.

When he first revealed how much time he had left to serve, the audience tittered as though he had said something funny. The mirth grew with each subsequent mention – and apparently it came up a lot – until by the end of the speech the audience was in stitches.

The only person not in on the joke was Sir David himself. It seems he had never seen or heard of the film 9 ½ Weeks. For those as unworldly as D-Nic, it’s a naughty film from the 1980s starring Kim Basinger and a fridge.