Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Thinking of You

February is upon us, like a puppy fished from a frostbound pond, so it is time for me to mark the traditional Welsh New Year.
The world of broadcasting pants with gratitude, much like that aforementioned puppy, at the news that Terry Hall is taking over as director-general of the BBC on 2 April. So that's one PR humiliation missed with barely 24 hours to spare.

As always, I have some programme suggestions for him to kick off his tenure with rather more aplomb than was managed by his flourfaced predecessor.

The BBC constantly scans modern Britain in all its racial, social, regional and agely diversity for people who think exactly alike, then lets them loose on Question Time to peddle their grievances to three interchangeable politicians and a "comic".

But our national broadcaster is neglecting an important roost of the insulted and injured - the passive-aggressive community. It is the Corporation's duty to prise these pallid pedants out of the Sunday newspaper letters columns and into the spluttering fluorescence of fame.

I propose the following nests for their twitching resentments:

1. "Losers' Dinners". (The title is an homage to the late Michael Winner's ill-mannered sampling of a thousand sous-chefs' seed.) Normal people sit down to a country supper, only to find themselves assailed by the mosquito whine of self-obsession.

In tonight's episode: Battle of Britain ace Ernest "Belcher" Hogg takes his wife of 60 years out for a feast of pork shoulder, washed down with Alsatian hock.

The surrounding tables are occupied by wan Muslim converts, who tut with every forbidden mouthful at why Squadron Leader Hogg had "picked on the Germans instead of doing something about Palestine".

2. "No No No!" This is a very British take on America's marvellous "Mystery Science Theater 3000", a programme in which robots from the future jeer at low-grade Sci-Fi films - which means all Sci-Fi film.

In my version, eau-de-chat letter-writers with signed photographs of locomotives on their parlour walls sit through BBC period dramas, separated from the television by a Bovril-retardant screen, and squeal the programme name into the dog-whistle register every time someone on "The Hour" refers to the Sunday Telegraph ("No No No! It wasn't launched until 1961!!!!")

The season finale will have cardiganned army dreamers bolted into dentists' chairs as they project their dentures at a specially-commissioned Fox documentary - "Barnes Wallis: An American Hero".

3. "RSI: Miami". South Florida cops and forensics bods struggle to solve crimes using state-of-the-art technology, good-old-fashioned policing and an array of keyboards, wrist-wraps, lumbar-hugging chairs and height-adjustable desks that appear to have been designed by and for HP Lovecraft's inter-dimensional bestiary.

Episode One: There's a crazed killer on the loose, but Lt Caine can't lift his arms above his head - even thought Detective Duquesne needs help with adjusting her support corsetry.

4. "...Before the Americans Ruin It".  Now it's true the BBC already packs pairs of faux-teen haircuts off to Cuba and other telegenic tyrannies to prove, through the medium of wobbly cameras, that shiny clothes and infectious music outweigh anything Amnesty International might have to say.

But my orthopaedic reboot replaces vloggers in crop-tops with a phalanx of flavour-fleeing suburban vegans, and drops funky Vietnam for North Korea and worse.

Tonight, members of Camden Gluten-Intolerance Support are beaten up by café staff within minutes of arrival at Asmara International Airport, Eritrea, and again at the Hotel Roma, the central market, and later at a meeting with the Eritrean Catering Union (great opportunities for a CCTV/smartphone footage mash-up).

And then, in a rousing finale, they are given a good hoofing by their hosts at the Eritrean Vegetarian Society, before being escorted to the vibrant, colourful frontline with Ethiopia.

Press the red button on your TV control now to alert the border guards.