The Brownlegg Files: August 2002 

1 August 2002

As the sunlight cast its shadows on the paneled walls of his office, Captain T Brownlegg RN (Retd) sat back in his wicker chair, luxuriating not only in the company of his attractive companions, Ms Gloria Gaumont, but enjoying the soft breeze floating across the room from the palm-leaf air conditioning operated by his second-in-command, John Spencer-Wells.

The Brownlegg Files

The cast:

  • Captain Thomas Brownlegg, owner-manager of Brownlegg Media Group and its subsidiaries, the Brownlegg Bullfighting Channels (BBC) and A-R Digital.
  • Gloria Gaumont, former actress and professional companion, now Controller of BBC-1 and presenter on digital channel CBoobies.
  • John Spencer-Wells, lick-spittle and Brownlegg’s brown nose in chief.
  • Augustus “Gus” Brownlegg, nephew of the elder Brownlegg and reformed gangster, according to his homemade tattoos.
  • Greg Dyke, not actually in this (in person) but worth a name check for the search engines.

“Gloria”, Brownlegg said to his aide-de-camp and controller of BBC-1, the Brownlegg Bullfighting Channel, that is, and not the other one, obviously.

How money is made.

“Now that Brownlegg Media Group has been floated on the East Neasden stock exchange and will be worth a few bob soon, do you fancy a celebration lunch?” After applying equal pressure to her cuticles, she replied, coolly, “Well, Tommy, I have business to attend to at the Carlton Maternity Hospital, and Mr Whippetout doesn’t like to be kept waiting”.

Summary of the adjudication of some guys who are important but not important enough to do any real work.

The Captain stood up, reddening in many places and brimming over with instant rage. “Really! A woman in your condition! With that gynaecological charlatan! I say…” but he never had the time to finish. Ms Gaumont had taken her bag, her coat, her specimen and herself into a waiting company limo to her appointment with her consultant. She said of Percival (for that was his name) that she admired his professionalism, his charm, and his hands.

How lunch is made.

Meanwhile, His nibs was getting a little mardy in the office. “Spencer-Wells! Stop that infernal pulling and get over here this minute! We have a business lunch to arrange, and I’ll bring the business if you buy the lunch”.

Unfortunately, Spencer-Wells had neglected to tell his boss that the company credit card had been lost (probably down the couch, but which one he couldn’t remember. There had been so many of late, but at least the pay was above minimum wage, if looked at hourly) and that the expense account was in a muddle since the Captain had stopped all claims except his own. Brownlegg had thought that the new deal for the digital terrestrial frequencies would make him a fortune. The giggling behind hands at the ITC, not to mention the guffawing when he closed the door, hadn’t really registered with him.

Ofgums - The new communications watchdog

A-R Digital now owed some establishments large wodges of cash, several dish washings, and Spencer-Wells had not yet re-attended the Savaloy Cheese Bar where the owner expected him to return to be hung in a meat safe. He disappeared into the nearest newsagent, on a mysterious mission.

How friendships are made.

Returning quickly and wiping his mouth, he handed Brownlegg a canned drink and a plastic pot, which rattled. “What is this, John? I thought we were due for a good lunch”.

“We are, Sir, but as we have to be back to clock on – your rule, Sir, as you will recall – I’ve selected something which will really excite you. These are trendy, with-it foods that everyone likes, whether you are on the move or in the office. Jamie Ollover swears by them”. (What John remembered is that Jamie had said, “What is this crap?” but didn’t dare tell his boss that detail).

The Captain raised an eyebrow, and smiled. “Well done, John, you have your finger on the pulse as usual. Now remove it. But does one use silver service, or chopsticks?” S-W thought on, and said patiently, “no sir, we take them back with us, and eat them in the convenient surroundings of the office”.

Accepted just about everywhere.

Another mild crisis had passed, and Spencer-Wells went to put the gin on to boil to rehydrate the snack. At this point, you may wish to do the same, or to simply think about products that you might like to purchase.

End Of Part One


Are you skinny? Do you get sand kicked in your face? No? Well, that’s all right by us then. Sorry to have disturbed you.

Part Two

The Captain sighed at Spencer-Wells’s attempts at providing a business lunch. At least, he thought on (always looking on the bright side, as television executives are wont to do), no washing up for me today at the Blue Rondo A La Turk Kebab House. It was probably better that he did not know that John would be returning to the local Supercigs after work to rub down the paintwork, a favour owed for the two pot snacks. I’m not going into what he had to do for the two cans of pop – suffice to say, some readers will be retching, others won’t.

How programmes are made.

On their arrival at the BMG HQ, they found Augustus in the boardroom loading the cutlery into a sack, his tattoos bulging. “Wotcha, Uncle!” he said jauntily, as the last of the EPNS disappeared at Mach 2 into the bag, “just borrowin’ the silver for Muriel´s new home-makeover show on BBC-7, ‘We Can’t Live Here'”.

With pot snack in hand, Brownlegg senior’s reply was, “as my niece Jade in Bermondsey says, what’s the deal, Gus?” (He was getting rather good at meeja-speak, but still didn’t understand more than half of it).

The re-painted outside broadcast van-slash-passion wagon

“Well, Unc, Muriel and the team go to an ‘ouse, create a bit of post-modernist tat to make it look like a typical Brit’s ‘ome – ornaments, orange bubble door, nylon curtains, that kinda tosh, even a MOT-failure Ford Cortina outside. It’s gonna be colossal. When all these aspirant middle-class gets to see that we’ve lowered the value of their ‘ouse, I can get me mate who runs the dodgy estate agents and turf accountants to buy it off ’em cheap, and sell ’em a beach ‘ut in Cleethorpes as a des res for sixty grand. Hey, we’ll make mucho mazuma outa it!”

His nibs thought for a minute, and said, “Very good, I’m sure, Gus, but A-R Digital can’t risk any lawsuits or reprisals, at least until I start them. Go with the ball, and remember that if you make any profit, I want my cut!” Gus hadn’t reckoned on this, though; he’d promised Jean Morton, his latest squeeze, that she would have first dibs, but to refuse could be too compromising, endangering and hazardous, as well as being potentially injurious, harmful and pernicious. She’d threatened to tell everyone their secret word if Gus welched on the deal.

Jean Morton's Word of the Month: Absorbant

Over their beef, tomato and something sinister bearing no relation to a carbon-based life-form pot snack, Spencer-Wells read his programme report off of the back of an old envelope that still held an unpaid gas bill.

“Sir, TOPS channel has continued to enjoy a loyal, if comatose, audience: the repeats of “Rocket Robin Hood” and “Motormouse and Autocat” are getting a lot of letters asking us to take them off the air”.

“Any good news?” asked Brownlegg, working the rehydrated snack around his mouth whilst squeezing the little sachet marked “Red Stuff – add to taste”.

Spencer-Wells hurried on. “The beauty channel, CBoobies, presented by Gloria, as you know, is getting more men than women viewers – a sure sign that Glam Rock is on the way back!”

Get a grip of your desires with Aunt Jean's Shopping Channel

Brownlegg gave his assistant a meaningful look he didn’t know the meaning of. “But John, what are we going to do about Gloria’s forthcoming ‘event’? Who will watch a channel presented by an obviously enceinte woman?”

Spencer-Wells looked sad, then became animated and exclaimed, “I know – we’ll broadcast the birth, live on BBC-1! The bullfighting has gone a bit quiet since Tim Henman was knocked out in the first round – we could show the birth of Gloria’s baby with slow-motion replay, highlights and commentary, even make it pay-per-view, and get sponsorship”.

Brownlegg brightened and said, “We could get John McCrackpot to make betting forecasts – weight, sex…”

“…and who is the baby´s dad!” added Spencer-Wells. The Captain snapped back, “Not so fast! We’ve got two options for betting, don’t be greedy!”

How maids are made.

A sudden waft of cheap perfume acted as a deterrent to Spencer-Wells’s further presence. He’d had a mild phobia of cologne ever since Jean Metcalfe had asked him to sniff her Charlie.

Gloria said, “Sorry, Tommy, for missing the business lunch, but I had to attend me Aunty Natal. The scan says it’s a boy. The Doc pointed to it and everything”. (Oh no, thought the Captain, only one betting option left). “What were you discussing as I came in?” asked the controller of BBC-1, fluttering her eyebrows.

How babies are made.

“You wouldn’t want to know, but I think your acting career will be taking a turn for the better soon. Just do one thing for me, please Gloria. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. Men have these needs, so will you do this for me?” asked Brownlegg. “Anything, Tommy, anything” she replied, holding him close. At least I think that’s what she was holding.

“Get “Mothercare” tattooed on your thighs,” he said.

Brownlegg Media Group Press Release:

In an attempt to short cut the usual ratings juggling, A-R Digital has recently secured the further services of Leslie Harblo, the celebrated Walthamstow mystic, gourmet and voyeur – who has lately been setting North London agog with his revelations about the past, and occasionally the future.

An interesting breakdown at the BBC - a TOPS programme shows up on beauty and lingerie channel CBoobies

Captain Brownlegg’s master plan requires the seer to reveal audience ratings of programmes before they are transmitted, or ideally even before they are made. This will enable them to be cancelled in advance of production if the figures are not satisfactory. There are considerable financial advantages to this method of working.

The Captain estimates that there are potential savings of almost 100%, distributed across all programme budgets. This can only be good for shareholders – always today’s priority in a competitive world.


Notes for editors:

Early experiments have shown some difficulties with the space time continuum as regards this method of working. Indeed, Mr.Harblo says that according to his cousin in Pinner, a Mr Asimov, it will not be possible to secure the information required as the pre-cancellation of the programmes will introduce complications – or a “second reality” as Mr Asimov apparently calls it.

“We never had this trouble with reality in the Navy” Captain Brownlegg has observed, “just waited till we would see the whites of their eyes, then pressed the button. Seemed to work”.

The indomitable A-R engineering staff are working on this matter now and hope to have a resolution to the problem before transmission. Or possibly after.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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