The Brownlegg Files: December 2002 

1 December 2002

The story so far: We left our intrepid anti-hero Captain Brownlegg attending to Ms Gloria Gaumont, who was responding to all of his questions – well, orders – by breathing heavily. Because, if you must know, she was about to give birth actually. Didn’t you read the last instalment? Were you in the pub again? Or in bed. Or down the off-licence. Or the betting shop. Or with your fancy bit? Well, pack your bags. Walk out the door. Don’t turn around now. You’re not welcome any more. I’ve got all my Liquorice Allsorts to give, etc etc.

The Brownlegg Files

Greet the cast:

  • Captain T N Brownlegg RN (Rtd) – The boss, the head honcho, the man of the moment. If the moment in question was 30 years ago.
  • Augustus ‘Gus’ Brownlegg-Fearn – The new head (and other parts of the anatomy) of ITV1, not the one you’re thinking of, oh no, but a subsidiary of the BBC (also not the one you’re thinking of).
  • Ms Gloria Gaumont – Can pant and push on command. Especially when making babies.
  • John Spencer-Wells – Former manager of the Brownlegg Media Group who now has a fortnightly column. In a newspaper.
  • Jean Morton – Koala-based goddess and translator to the stars (of Planet of the Apes).
  • Leslie Harblo – Walthamstow mystic, gourmet and voyeur.
  • General Sir Muriel de Young – Director of Programmes at Sly Television and freelance programme maker.
  • Lorraine Haggerty – You dancin’?

Tension had risen on the mezzanine floor at Brownlegg Media Group HQ. The Captain had been asked to leave the inner chamber by Jean and Muriel, who were attending to Gloria’s birthing goals with some help from the house clairvoyant, Leslie Harblo.

In the outer chamber, the ancillary staff listened to the screams, profanities and requests for wax crayons with not a little anxiety. And sitting, walking and just standing in His Nibs’ office were Gus, Spencer-Wells and the Captain himself. The atmosphere was electric, and, where possible, gas-powered.

“‘Ow long is she gonna take? I’m outta Old Croaker ready rubbed ‘ere! I’m gonna have to smoke Mantunna Tea if she don’t drop that sprog soon”, said Gus, flexing his hands and practising his Alexander technique by exercising on the floor and denting the laminate. Meanwhile, John, inside the photocopier, was putting the finishing touches to a model of a television studio.

Bob Marley was dead

“I’m almost out of Stickle Bricks”, said Spencer-Wells, leaning out to rearrange the sculpture on the glass-topped coffee table, where he and the Captain had, often separately, had such nice times. John had put the coffee and Genoa cake on it, with little doilies. The Captain just remembered lying beneath it, for some odd reason, and the sound of girlish laughter, but he’d somehow blanked out the rest of it. He wondered why.

Jean Morton's Word of the Month - Coxswain

Leslie Harblo emerged, looking like a man repossessed and said, “The time is almost upon us and something amazing will happen soon!” The Captain, Gus and John spoke as one. “What’s happening? Is it going to be a boy or a girl?” Harblo scraped back his mane of hair, stared into space, and a trance-like state came over him – he had evidently been at the Entonox tank in the delivery office. Room. No, right the first time.

His reply was laconic, ironic, bucolic and a load of old cock. “Well, lads, it could go either way.”

He said he’d do it, and he had no reason to lie. Yet Brookside is still on the air.

He then set up the flip chart in the corner of the room, and took a tweed trilby from the hat stand and arranged it jauntily on his head. “Ok, lads, Honest Leslie Harblo ‘ere, have I got one for you! Now, who’s for a bet on the baby’s name, weight and whether it’ll be a boy or a girl? 8-1 for a girl, 5-2 for a boy!”

And all you could hear then was the sounds of an excited crowd ready to lose vast sums of money, acting like a bunch of football clubs with a digital TV operator.



Is Christmas a problem for you? Never have enough of what you want? Kids screaming because they want more and more from you? Get them Packing Pieces! These fantastic items get thrown away every time you open a box or package, yet they’re cheap, there’s loads, and you can put them in a box! Collect the set!

<Insert visual of kids scrapping in the playground, saying “My large corner’s worth more than your edge protector”, “Well, I’ve got bubble wrap, whaddya make of that?” etc. Rest of kids are going OO! OO! OO! OO! As they knock seven bells out of each other>

Yes! Be the first on your block to get Packing Pieces – a quality product of Spenwells Ltd. Only 40/- post free.

<insert optical that evidently cost less than 40/->

Out now, the fabulous Gusco Hampers for 1964! [They’re a bit late, aren’t they? – Ed] Yes! We’ve got the type of hampers unlike any other. You know how they always put in stuff you’ll never use, like applesauce, pizza mix and custard powder? Well, our hampers are unique – only those items are in them! Revel in getting cheap powdered coffee, sweet sherry trifle kits and silver dragees!

Prices start at 19 and 11 – place your order NOW! Gus says “buy one – or else!!”

<insert optical that may have cost 19s and 11d but likely didn’t>

The great new Radiation Times is out now! With previews of all your favourite Christmas shows, and a smashing word puzzle! By the way, we’re still working on it, because we haven’t made all of the programmes yet, so it might be out later than now, but stick around, OK? Only 9d from your newsagent, or borrow someone else’s!



Meanwhile, Muriel was exchanging calm, comforting words with Gloria.

“Will I be all right? Is the baby going to be OK? Tell me, you old cow!” said Gloria in her softest and sweetest voice. Unfortunately.

“Of course, darling. Now bite on this piece of wood and suck on this old dishrag, and get it together. And never call me a cow again, you malodorous voluminous cretinous tart!” cooed Muriel.

An engineering announcement

Jean was meanwhile adding a few words of her own: “Right, do you feel that? Do you know what that means? Push when you feel as if you’re ready…”

As she did so, a wave of sound rent the air. To the tune of “Music Here, There and Over There As Well” composed by Eric Overcoats, the lights went on and Bob Dangerous-Walker started his commentary to the camera at the end of Gloria’s bed.

The ghost of Christmas presents you didn’t want

“Tonight, Ladiesandgennelmen, you are to witness the first ever live birth on television, brought to you by Brownlegg Broadcasting Channel One – well, one of the BBC-1 channels anyway – in association with Gusco Hampers – the choice of every dissenting palette!”

At a signal from the floor manager, the invited audience were led in and sat on podia around the room. The Captain, Spencer-Wells with photocopier, Gus and Jimmy Stewart took their places in the VIP box and nodded and waved to the crowd, noting that the atmosphere was joyful and solemn at the same time. The mark of a great occasion.

I’ll be your long-haired, out of work lover from Barry Island.

Bob Dangerous-Walker cleared his throat, adjusted his tie, and said, “May I introduce our special commentator for this event – Richard Dimblesissons!” The applause was deafening as he put his headphones on, took his lip mike from under the tails of his coat and his cue cards from his pocket and said, “There are many defining moments in man’s history – The Battle of Britain, the retreat from Dunkirk, the Coronation, and the never-ending MFI sale. But to see the birth of Ms Gloria Gaumont’s child on digital dillyvision, well, that will take some beating. Positions please!”

He said he’d do it, and was never heard from again. So sod him.

Dimblesissons took a low crouching position at Gloria’s right thigh, trying not to obscure the sponsorship messages (“Buy More Beer”, “Stay In School” and so on), and the cameramen adjusted their turrets [Andy, please assure me that this line is clean – Ed] and went in closer as the ladies instructed Gloria to go with her breathing and push, push, push…

Suddenly, above the wailing of Gloria came another sound – barracking from outside the front of the building. With a look of distaste, Brownlegg glanced out of the window. That’s all I need, thought Brownlegg. He spat a word into the assembled throng watching Gloria. “Protestors! Gus, you know what to do.”

Augustus immediately reached for a convenient can of boiling Duckhams HyperGrade. “No, not that,” said Brownlegg, “just find out what they want.”

“It’s that mob from, Unc,” announced the younger Brownlegg, “but I can’t hear what they’re shouting abaht – it sounds like a school of dolphins in parkas – really high pitched and whiney”. A voice suddenly floated out of the photocopier. “They’re congenital idiots” it announced authoritatively.

Anoraks at dawn

Gloria took a break from panting (contractions, you filthy pigs) and said “I’m something of an expert in these things, and can assure you that there’s not a single genital between them”. Another contraction pending, she then began snorting more morphine.

“Ignore them, Unc,” said Gus, “they’re not protesting about us, after all – they’re shouting at the ninth floor, Independent Television News and Personal Ads. Something about not getting any, or not knowing what to do with it when they did get it.”

Now who’s laughing?

And thus did the action pass back inside the room and the people around Gloria resumed staring at her aperture.

The audience were spellbound. The viewers left their other tasks, like ironing the cat and skinning the vacuum cleaner. The entire viewing publics were aware of something that would maybe happen again, but never quite the same way. They even forgot to check their lottery numbers over a shot of Gloria’s heaving bosom.

The studio audience were chanting, “Push, push, push…”

Then the orchestra under Jack Pannell started playing “Startime” as the miniature curtains parted and the child emerged, kicking and screaming into its new world.

Who knew the Daily Mail could ever be right?

The audience cried, cheered, applauded, and streamers, bunting and party poppers filled the air. Captain Tom Brownlegg, RN (retired), Mr John Spencer-Wells (from inside the photocopier) and Augustus “Gus” Brownlegg-Fearn were bowing and acknowledging the good wishes of a tearful crowd. Richard Dimblesissions congratulated the mother and, holding a mike to her lips, asked, “What was the most exciting moment for you?”

Programmes for cats

Gloria’s reply was gracious and brief. “The conception, of course, you stupid anchor. Now… give… me… more… PETHODINE!”

The audience at home and at BMG Studios couldn’t have agreed more.

Leslie Harblo took the stage, and said, “Right, check your tickets, Ladiesandgennelmen. The child is – a boy!”

The Best of Donkey Osmond – 74 minutes of glorious silence

A short, mumsy woman in the front row stood up and waved her ticket. “It’s me, it’s me, Leslie!” she called, her cleavage making desperate attempts to escape and her skirt tucked into her knickers. Leslie said, “Come on down! You’re our first contestant on The Child Is Right!”

As Muriel was getting Gloria cleaned up, some cardboard flats were hastily put up, and a wheel was mounted on one of them. “Spin that wheel, baby, and name that child!” The wheel was duly spun, and then slowed as the name finally came up…

“It’s Carlton Loomis Gaumont!” shouted Leslie, “Well done, here’s your ticket for a weekend at Asda in Wallasey – have fun!”

Call the Fire Brigade, but have a chequebook and pen ready

The show came to a close with the dancers from the First Generation, gyrating to a version of “When a Child is Born (Soleado)”. The credits then ran and revealed the awful, but inevitable, truth – it was a Val Parnell production for ATV London, in association with Bernard Delfont.

The new Brownlegg finally met his firstborn at an après show party. (His previous plan was to send a telegram asking “what is it, and what is it called?” but his spin-doctor said that he had to be at the moment of birth). Gloria, looking resplendent in her watered-silk maternity dress made cooing noises to Carlton and the Captain looked at Gloria and the new baby with something like admiration and true love in his eyes. Or it may have been cataracts.

“Happy, darling?” asked Gloria.

So sue me.

“More than you will ever know. And, by the way, all of you – Muriel, Jean, John and Gus – are all to get pay bonuses for Christmas, because of your help with the live birth. I knew it would be a success. I hope you spend your postal orders wisely.” He handed them all little slips of green paper worth up to a pound each, which is more than ITV1’s executives are getting this year, I’ll tell you.

Squeeze money out of Gordon Brown. Or just squeeze him. Or give him a good slapping.

He looked at little Carlton. He couldn’t figure one thing out though. Did he look like Gloria, or himself? That shaven head was unusual, and that death’s-head tattoo on his arm didn’t seem to run in his family.

Gus took the baby off him. “Hiya, kid! Have I got plans for you! How do you fancy being the new face of ITV1? Or I’ll teach you to dance so you can be on BBC1 instead? Anything you want, eh?” And Gus took to the little fella straightaway.

John Spencer-Wells climbed out of the photocopier, smiled, put his arms around the ladies, Gus, the Captain, and himself (long arms, apparently) and said: “God help us, every one!”

Brownlegg Media Group (incorporating Television By Numbers Productions) press release:

Christmas programme highlights from the Brownlegg Broadcasting Corporation’s ITV1 channel:

Celebrity Fame Academy: The BBC, not in any way at all cashing in on the perceived popularity of programmes on other channels, brings you a totally non-derivative television first. We’ve taken a group of celebrities, locked them in a big house, and only the ones with any real talent will be allowed out. On this principle, a whole swathe of irritating non-entities have just been removed from Hello! and OK! magazines forever, including Tony Blackburn and Tara Palmer-Tompkinson. Public Service television at its best.

Modern TV looks like this

Celebrity Come Dancing: Angela Rippon hosts the 329th annual series of this ballroom dancing competition, now with the added wrinkle that all the fixed grins belong to celebrities. Look, it’s Tony Blackburn pirouetting round Tara Palmer-Tomkinson! Coo! The series also finally answers the question, what’s white and squirts across the dance floor?

Celebrity Autopsy: A well-known celebrity, voted for by the public at £1.50 per minute, is slayed and eviscerated in front of a paying audience by a mad German in a hat. The edited highlights show, Big Coroner’s Little Chopper, will be presented by Dermot O’Leany, who was plastinated by the madman three years ago along with Tony Blackburn and Tara Palmer-Tompkinson.

Celebrity Supermarket Sweep: A welcome return by Dale Winton, as a troupe of celebrities led by Tony Blackburn and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson get pushed round a supermarket by the Mirror’s 3am Slappers, load the trolleys up with booze and dash for the exit. Special Guest Star: Winona Ryder.

Expand your modern TV!

Celebrity Ten O’Clock News: The BBC’s flagship news programme will be presented by numerous washed-up old trouts this month, the difference being that many of them are famous for no real reason! Viewers get to vote which stories they want to be read, and if the news isn’t to their liking, the celebrities get marooned on an island with Tony Blackburn and Tara Palmer-Tompkinson. Again.

Celebrity Prime Minister’s Question Time: with Anne Robinson, Tony Blackburn and Tara Palmer-Tompkinson live from the House of Common People.

Celebrity Potter’s Wheel: a fill-in programme that will be used when the fact that British television has run out of ideas and is intellectually bankrupt finally sinks in with executives. Celebrity hands on the clay include Tony Blackburn, Tara Palmer-Tompkinson and anyone else who has been on the cover of a magazine since 1932.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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