Brownlegg at Large: Christmas 2001 

14 December 2001

Hello boys and girls in Broadcasting Land! It’s Uncle Tom here again, with lots of super whizzes, wheezes, japes, jests, and lots of other stuff pinched from Christmas crackers!

Talking of crackers, you may have read Gloria’s column, wonderful as it is, that I am presently unwell. I’m not, I’m just hung over, but I needed an excuse to bunk off work because I have to meet that awful Low Gradient and Sid Burnsting and they want to schedule all their shows on Christmas night.


Well, I’ve got news for them – my personal soldier of fortune and cookie-cutter Spencer Wells has pinched the keys to the Winter Hill and Lichfield transmitting stations. So, the first puzzle is… Where are they?

  1. in a septic tank
  2. in the River Thames or
  3. In my desk awaiting a ransom sum?

No clues, I’m afraid, but if AssTeleVis or Grandad are reading this – I hope you can swim.

Santa Brownlegg says:



And now, a story of Yuletide, told at a fireside by a kindly old man to a thrusting young ITV executive, Derek Lilliput:-

A Seasonal Note of Caution

‘Twas the night before Christmas at Adastral House

Not one creature stirred – not even a mouse

With Brownlegg in charge nobody there dares

And even John Spencer-Wells is saying his prayers

For Christmas brings joy, laughter and pain

The Beeb and A-R are at loggerheads again

Between The Queen, all the films and

“Christmas Night with the Stars”

The programme controllers will be bearing the scars

For Brownlegg knows “rating” has two definite meanings

(After all, he’s a boss who has nautical leanings)

Ratings, where ITV and BBC are neck-and-neck

and the other, whose punishment is swabbing the deck

So woe betide the producer who should falter and fail

Forget about Brownlegg, they’d rather be in jail

If they succeed with the audiences, they’ll be coming back

If not, just like Santa, they’ll be getting the sack

And so mote it be, in the world of television

For despite the ideals, there is only one mission

“To get the audience”, says one plucky fellow

So why is ITV doing a police “Othello”?


So, now that I’ve got you sitting comfortably – nailed to the chair – why don’t we play a little game? It’s called “Creature Features”, and it consists of putting together programme titles with animals names or characteristics. Examples include:

  • “Ready Steady Goat” (featuring the Animals)
  • “This Beak”
  • “Orlando” (the marmalade cat)
  • “Five o’clock Cub”
  • “Double Your Monkey”
  • “Take Your Peck”
  • “Hippodromepotamus”
  • “Stars and Ganders”
  • “No- That’s Me Other Deer”

The prize? Well, there isn’t one, but you might help A-R by coming up with a programme format that uses animals, and saves on the cost of human presenters.

By the way, “Do Not Adjust Your Vet” or “Cool For Cats” don’t count.

A crossword grid


1 – greatest TV company ever

5 – and the person who runs it

6 – Spencer-Wells (abusive)

8 – Appointment with….


2 – Miss Gaumont’s skirt?

3 – How to get a pay rise

4 – Delectable companion

6 – The Captain’s mounting anger?

7 – common people watch it (slang)


Now for a little jimminy riddle:

  • My first is in gutache and also in good
  • My second’s in love, I know that I should
  • My third is in olive, and also in oil
  • My fourth is in roll, but never in foil
  • My fifth is in ink, never in paper
  • My sixth’s in abundance, enough of this caper
  • My name is revealed now, you should have stopped guessing
  • My whole is desired, let’s have no more messing!!
  • WHO AM I?

Save Carlton Appeal

As you may be aware, Carlton Communications plc is suffering due to the current advertising recession and losses from ITV Digital. In the spirit of Christmas compassion, I have launched a “Save Carlton Appeal”, aiming to raise the £250 million they need to continue to operate.

Please donate to this appeal by clicking here to ensure you continue to get your favourite programmes like [note to self: still seeking a programme to go here]

Here is the latest total:

The Save Carlton Appeal - hand over your cash or television will get better

Total money raised so far…

4 shillings and 3d!

towards our goal of £250million

Donations to date:

Captain Tom Brownlegg
£0 4s 3d
Gloria Gaumont
Negligee (not accepted)
John Spencer-Wells
My milk bottle top collection
Russ J Graham
Shoelaces (worn)
Kif Bowden-Smith
Unwanted carpet
Dafydd Hancock
A bucket (missing handle and bottom)
Andrew Bowden
One plastic toy sheep
Phil Paterson
A discount voucher (expired)
Andrew Hesford-Booth
A piece of wet string to act as an aerial (as they are losing ITV Digital)
Kirk Northrop
Unwanted ITV Digital digibox
Ian Beaumont
3 dead batteries
Jon Bufton
ITV Telethon ‘90 badge (pin missing)

Show your compassion at Christmas by donating to this worthwhile fund and appear on this page!

And that is it from Santa Brownlegg. Remember to love your parents very much – even though you got rotten presents. On second thoughts, don’t accept them. Ask for a receipt and exchange them.

And you can’t use Old Spice anyway because it strips enamel off the bath. Do what I do on Christmas Day. Get up early, fire somebody (or at somebody), go back to bed at the crack of dawn (or Gloria if she’s resting between acting jobs), and send Spencer-Wells out for a bracing 30-mile run, pursued by the Heave To wolf pack. I always feel better for that, but that’s the advantage of having an assistant to do things for you.

Happy Christmas one and all. Ding bloody dong.

Uncle Tommy Brownlegg

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Liverpool, Saturday 22 June 2024