Brownlegg at Large: April 2001 

1 April 2001

Is ITV doomed? Will anyone save it? I’m willing to give it a shot, having spent most of the last couple of decades spinning in my grave (clockwise). A good deal of military discipline would set Channel 9 to rights. Failing that, I can do it from the comfort of my coffin-cum-easychair, located in the London Eye.

I may only have recently risen from the grave, but don’t think that I haven’t seen what’s happened. All this nonsense about “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” – wasn’t £64,000 good enough? Hughie Green didn’t need to be on every night with “Double Your Money”, but giving even the smallest gift of £3 brightened up viewers’ drab little lives!

Television House

Has anyone seen this building? Last sighted in Holborn area. First things first. Ignoring the stench of decay – I used to work in television so I’m rather prepared for it – off I went to London, looking for Associated Rentokil’s HQ, but I appear to have mislaid the building. However, all is not lost, as this seems just the right attitude for getting back into modern television. Carton appears to have mislaid their region, adding Birmingham and Plymouth to it. These places appear not to be on the Tube map, but that’s socialism for you.

I have tried to find another ITV company to watch but had no luck until I reached Cardiff – and now Curlton has taken over Horlicks. It is interesting that the Welsh Assembly is concerned about retaining Horlick’s name. I might just form an Assembly for Middle England to get Central and Westcountry back. Or a private army for the area – a navy being somewhat inconvenient in the Midlands. Mind you, judging by Carltown’s abilities to conquer TV companies, Attila The Hun Television seems a more appropriate name – and that’s not even covering the raping and pillaging, which seems to be the basis of one of Clarton’s flagship programmes, “Crossroads”.

Good Old Articulated-Rediffusion: content with Monday to Friday we were, and never envious of other franchisees (well, except for Southern, but they had a boat). My replacement in London has made another two unsuccessful bids, one of which was for RTE, but the Irish Parliament refused as they wanted to rename the country “Republic Of Carltonia”. Something to do with “effective branding” which is probably less painful than it sounds.

Anyway, their HQ couldn’t find Dublin in the London A-Z so the bid was doomed to failure. And, you know, I always said I was never baffled, but when Cratlon tried to merge with another major broadcaster, they were very angry indeed. Mind you, the BBC are doing nicely without them, and Clonrat don’t need the licence fee to keep them in the style to which we have become accustomed. I have heard rumblings from the Radio Doctor – I put it down to the bran, but he disagrees – that the BBC’s regions may be next for a sweeping invasion. I hope the BBC keep their balloons to drop bags of flour and rotten eggs on the masked marauders… do you hear that Lorraine?

Now as regards the BB Bloody C, what in the world has happened to the world? That sentence made sense unless you think about it, so keep moving. It used to look a bit more solid, then it went clear, and finally it was filled with hot air, and now they want to get rid of it. They’ll probably stop calling themselves the British Broadcasting Corporation next, and then we’ll finally find out that they really were a gang of lefty Trotskyists, like I kept trying to tell the letters page of the Times.

In the good old days, “Cigar” Lew, “From t’North” Sid, “Alphabetic” Howard and I were pioneers. Half a day and two bottles of Dimple Haig later, we would have the ITV schedule cast in gold for a month. By tipping ten bob to the dustmen, I managed to obtain the most up to date schedule from the Network Centre. Note to self: find out what that is and what they do there as it’s not very clear.

9.25 am: “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” – A chance to see all 150 episodes back-to-back

7.00 pm: “Coronation Street” Special – A live four-hour episode in which the cast read the telephone directory in comical northern accents, and draw up a petition against a planned street visit by Prince Charles.

11.00pm: ITV Whitescreen – PowerPoint at its best.

I can’t see any documentaries in there, but perhaps I’m not trying hard enough.

My friends the dustmen, who took some convincing on the old “living dead eating brains” front, I can tell you, also procured me a press release from the bins at a location I promised to keep under my hat. It’s probably too large to fit under my hat, but I can give it a try. Where was I?


“Unlike previous years, Christmas Day programming will no longer be limited to the 25th of December. We feel that in the interests of the free market, and even greater de-regulation, programming companies should be free to place the festival at the most appropriate point in their schedules. We think that this will lead to greater freedom of celebration in this new era of multi-channel choice. A Government White Wrapping Paper will be issued shortly”.

You see now? Thirty years away, and while I turn my back, the lunatics have taken over the asylum of broadcasting. The world will be a better place when sane, terminally-challenged people such as myself are in control.

I have a plan.

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