Prima donnas have a tendency to arrive fashionably late. But occasionally the ploy can misfire and spoil the entrance altogether.
Take Oxford's eagerly awaited commission of inquiry, preparing to deliver the results of two-and-a-half years of ponderings on the future of the university's organisation, months later than expected.
But its big sister, the Dearing committee of inquiry, which has managed to tackle the whole of higher education in half the time, now threatens to upstage it. Worried dons have had to add yet another item to their brain-taxing agenda. Should they risk appearing out of date by publishing before Sir Ron or see their report submerged by hoi poloi by bringing it out on the same day?