THERE’S always been something a bit naff about the glossy Gillette adverts, but the message was clear. Use these shaving products and you too can be a strapping hunk in the boardroom and on the sports pitch. You can be athletic, smart, brave and sensitive. You can be one of the locker room banter guys, you can teach your boy to shave, and you’ll have great skin, which your girlfriend will love. Your life can be the best a man can get.

Now it seems men have to be a whole lot more than all that. They must address the sexist, patronising and violent behaviour of men over the years, hold themselves accountable for toxic masculinity, and set a better example for the boys of today - the men of tomorrow.

At least that’s what I think the new Gillette commercial is saying. The ad shows men behaving badly - the only woman in a boardroom meeting is dismissed by her Alpha male boss; a lairy middle-aged actor lunges at a female co-star, while an all-male studio audience roars with laughter; there are sexist pop videos, film clips, a wolf-whistling cartoon.

And it shows men being good - a boy looks on in awe as his dad tackles a gang of bullies; a guy steps in, saying “Not cool” as his pal is about to call out to a passing woman; a young father encourages his little girl to tell herself: “I am strong”. Another dad breaks up two little boys fighting. It seems kids aren’t even allowed to scrap anymore.

Among the macho images, the #MeToo movement is referenced. “Men need to hold other men accountable,” says a male voice. It’s a deliberately provocative advert that, inevitably, has sparked much debate this week. It has been described on social media as both “an assault to masculinity” and “pro-humanity”.

The message behind the ad appears to be that men need to look long and hard in the mirror - indeed, that’s exactly what some men are doing as the advert begins - and make changes.

I think we all need to make changes, regardless of gender. Women too need to look to the behaviour of the past, take responsibility and be good role models for the women of tomorrow. I don’t think women who make a living stripping or glamour modelling are great role models for girls, yet we’re not expected to hold them accountable for anything.

The Gillette advert addresses bullying - the cyber and physical kind. Some of the nastiest bullies I’ve come across, in the playground and the workplace, have been female.

But if an advert like this was made about women, there’d be an outcry. Why should women have to apologise for their gender? Well, why should men?

While we’re urged to celebrate womanhood, men “need to hold other men accountable”. Yet masculinity doesn’t always equal bad behaviour. Yes, we should be raising boys who are responsible and respectful, but what a minefield they face. As my teenage nephews embark on a new stage of their lives, with girlfriends and parties, I wonder what the rules are, in these #MeToo times. Are they allowed to tell a girl she looks nice? Tentatively put their arm around her in the cinema? Hold the door open for her, pull her seat out, offer to pay on the first date? These are things they have brought up to do, because they are essentially good manners.

Who looks out for the men, and the boys? According to the Samaritans, men remain three times as likely to take their own lives than women, and the highest suicide rate in the UK is among men aged 45-49.

This unsettling issue needs to be addressed, because it clearly isn’t the best a man can get.

*HOW lovely that the Bahamas 45596 locomotive is back on the main line, after 25 years.

A regular on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in the early 90s, it has undergone extensive renovation and next month will pull a train on the Settle and Carlisle line.

There is something about a steam train that stirs the soul. Whenever I've travelled on one it's been greeted by jolly enthusiasts clutching cameras on station platforms or standing alone in fields, waiting patiently for their beloved steam divas. Long may that passion continue.

* RUSSELL Howard reckons his new TV show, larking around in Asia with his mum, is just what we viewers need in these full-on Brexit times. "It's pure escapism to watch two people in the sun," says the comic.

Er, no it isn't. What is it with this TV trend of pairing up celebrities with their parents, or offspring, on all-expenses paid trips? In Asian Provocateur and Breaking Dad - two shows where I'm pretty sure the titles came first - Romesh Ranganathan and his mum tour America, and Bradley Walsh joins his son on, you guessed it, a road trip of the US.

And in a new series of Russell Howard & Mum: Globetrotters, the duo travel to Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Mumbai. It's a great freebie for them, but a TV turn-off for this viewer.