Brownlegg at Large: February 2002 

1 February 2002

Welcome one and all to the temporary headquarters of the Assembly for Middle England, here at the Astoria Bingo Hall. The house manager advises me that there are two main rules for our use of the hall: firstly, we must all play a minimum of two games of bingo, and secondly, keep your voices down. I’m so glad that my Chief Whip Spencer-Wells has managed to get so many of you to come, especially as I have set the death penalty for non-attendance, and for those reluctant attendees who Spencer-Wells caught running away, with the whip, please be reassured – your wounds will heal.

As usual, I’ve been casting an eye around to see what’s been happening in the fast-moving, white-hot world of broadcasting, and Associated-Radiation Digital, now that we have 14 subscribers has a duty to provide a news service. This will be called Brownlegg International News (BIN), and we will be sending news crews to all points of the compass to cover the major stories, or failing that, to Neasden. BIN will show no bias in its news stories, but I warned our News Editor that anything I find unacceptable will be censored. Gloria Gaumont, as Newscaster, will provide points of interest – well, two in particular – and on slow news days, our camera crews are incited to strike. (What they don’t know is that they won’t get paid, and we can cover the strike as our top story in the emergency bulletins, thus saving money, you see).

After I attempted to purchase ITV Digital with the contents of my cashbox, the Monopolies and Mergers commission got in touch, and said to me during a very irate phone call – I didn’t have enough sixpences, and kept on pressing button B instead of button A – that I should respect the “Free Market” and allow Robert Muckduck, Morris Stevenson of Granddad or Martin Turquoise of Crapton to have a shot at buying it outright. I’m still waiting for the return of my £72 life savings, and if the postal order doesn’t arrive soon Spencer-Wells won’t be able to go to the off-licence for my medicines. Anyway, with the expansion of Associated-Radiation Digital, I’ve got my hands full, and if it wasn’t for Gloria’s suntan lotion, there would be nothing to drink in the house.

Serials, or soap operas, seem to have multiplied in number over the last ten years, and I’m baffled by all of them, ever since I found that Albert Tatlock wasn’t in “Peyton Place”, he was in “Weavers Green”. I mean, it’s all sex, sex, sex and sex, isn’t it? As I said to Gloria in bed the other night, this is very unhealthy, and also not true to life. So it is that Associated-Radiation, with the help of Carbolico – “the soap that makes you ming” – presents its first soap, “The Incompetents”, about a group of 40 people who aren’t good at anything at all except sex. But they are good at taking baths and showers, and it is a true soap in every sense of the word, with suds, lather and lye: I’m trying to get a towel company interested now. There’ll be a spin off sitcom too – “Hoi! Where’s My Flannel?”

Rediffusion World. International Copyright Augustus Brownlegg, Pentonville nick

Another contribution from my nephew Augustus – the main ident for a channel I plan to launch. Not just a digital channel – also a flag for World Domination, time permitting.

That Iain Dunkin-Donuts is a good chap, don’t you think? Sorry to bring politics into this, but I must say that I agree with everything he says and feel he’s the first person to speak to me in a language I understand. It’s almost as if every word he says is copied from this very column.

ITV1, or whatever it’s called these days, seems to be having an identity crisis. This never used to happen – I mean, you knew Associated-Radiation served London, Granddad served the North and Associated TunnelVision served the Midlands Monday-Friday (although I don’t remember much going on at the weekends…) I think the rot started when Chief Adrian Creepy-Crawley named his station London Weakened: like a good Red Indian, name the company after the first thing you see. Themes after the river, Grumpier after the mountains, and Boredom after what you feel after you watch their programmes. After the next franchise round, you can be sure that this serendipitous approach will be applied – expect to hear of 15 new stations like “Lamppost”, “Pavement”, “Pelican Crossing”, “Dog Mess” and “Oh No It’s On My Shoes”.

Well, so the BBC is trouncing ITV1 or Crapton-Granddad in the ratings. Well, on maintenance, it’s losing by one country mile. But, gentlemen, here’s a riddle for you – how many BBC men does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer – none, they get an outside firm in instead! Is this a product of Birtism, or Right Said Fredism?

From Gloria's large and bottomless drawers.

Gloria possessions revealed this rather charming badge that indicates she is managing to get in at half price to the cinema. Strange, as she’s a big girl. She occasionally goes to the matinee with Mr Thomas, who should know better, I find.

Talking of “isms”, I’ve decided to run a evangelical channel, to show our commitment to the spiritual needs of our audience, and to first-run religious events, but it won’t be free-to-air, I’m afraid, so it’s called Piety-Pay TV. In the planning stages, I found my divine inspiration in the kitchen, where a vision came to me (it must have been the Stardrops fumes from the mop bucket) which told me to collect money from people I hadn’t met before, preach good works, and to save 23 crisp packets. This apparition came to me in a moment of great clarity and grace, and when it had faded and I lifted myself off of the ground, I felt I should preach that the good word.

Now, before any of you complain that I’m playing God, well, I’m not – in my vision, I was God, with Gloria Gaumont as Mary Magdalene anointing me (no change there, then), and Spencer-Wells as Judas Iscariot – talk about typecasting. I dreamed that I created an ITV company in 6 days, and, verily, on the 7th day I sat down to watch, and Michael Green, er, Low Gradient’s Associated TunnelVision was showing “Sunday Night At The Lewisham Pavilion” – I was down to earth again with a bump, truly in purgatory. Oh yes, I was telling you about Piety-Pay TV: we are negotiating exclusive rights to cathedral services, but the Second Coming has been snapped up by Richard Muckduck, to show on his religious channel “Sky High Box Office”. (It’s as part of a double-bill with Steps Farewell Concert.) I intend to save some souls, by recruiting converts for use as extras among the studio audience for “Take Your Pick”: however, there may be some problems with funerals if they shout “Open The Box”.

I have become interested in religion partly because I need to get Spencer-Wells a useful role in life or his mother will marry a car [a Morris Oxford Series VI (CNA 394 C) to be precise], and also to keep him in his place. After his experiences with the police, I feel he is making “Heave To”, the ancestral seat of the Brownleggs into a den of iniquity, and I can’t have that as they’ll close my lap dancing club down. I’m a little concerned for the moral fibre of the youth of this country today, but with good reason. I watched “Hollyhocks” the other night, with Gloria rubbing my shoulders and Spencer-Wells kissing my feet and watched schoolchildren talk of sex, drugs, rock and roll and mobile phones! Disgusting! Mobile phones shouldn’t be shown to anyone in public! In my day, at boarding school, we passed the time by kick-boxing with Matron, wallpapering the refectory and worshipping onions, and evenings were spent with the other boys in Big Hall, enjoying a sumptuous meal of finest pupil. You see, scholarship boys were the staple diet of many a prefect, and I often enjoyed a lightly toasted one for breakfast. Eventually, the school closed – I was the only pupil left.

To this end, I intend to make a follow-up to A-R’s famous documentary “Living For A Kicking”, to be called “Opening The Vein”, in which interviews with the young will reveal what little whippersnappers they really are. Gloria’s nephew Arnold is taking part, and he is being detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for setting fire to park benches. (Note to self: what pleasure does anyone get from detaining Arthur, let alone the Queen? I’d better think on, in case I lose the chance of a knighthood). Gloria will be doing the pieces to camera, and Spencer-Wells, when he’s not fishing in a septic tank, will be catching the youngsters in a huge net. It promises to be hard-hitting, uncompromising, no holds barred television, and it will be shown at 11.30 pm next Tuesday night. But don’t tell the ITA. And, more importantly, don’t tell Margaret.

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)
Jim Johnson
A BSB Squarial (previously used as a coaster)
Click here to Save Carlton - your awful television service needs you!

Once again, thank you for supporting the Save Carlton Appeal. We have had a lot of offers, but I don’t know what we would do with some of them. I mean, do we really need Augustus Brownlegg’s collection of firewood?

But keep sending them in, and remember – money is definitely appreciated.

Before I close this meeting, just a final word – HOUSE!

Well, I’ve won a big prize, they tell me – let’s rip open the envelope… It’s a postal order, for the full amount of my life savings – and it’s in EURO!

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