Why Don't You?. *
INT. BBC CENTRE.
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "We've got this great idea, actually, for... what are they called? Children. Because the license fee says we have to put programmes on for them as well, or something, actually. Which is ridiculous because some of them can't even talk."
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "Hit me!" ***
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "What it is, essentially, is a group of these "children", together, in, um, let's say an abandoned abatoir. And what they do, and this is the clever bit, is they make or do things that viewers have sent in as suggestions. Isn't that just chronically clever!? Jane thinks it's marvellous."
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "Big Brother with kidz. Viewers controlling their every action. I like it! It's got meaning. The location may need work. What's it called?"
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: " 'Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?' "
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "Come again?"
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "Janecameupwiththetitle."
COMMISSIONING PERSON: " ' Why Don't You...?' "
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: " '...Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?'"
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "Right."
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "Yes"
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "It's the bit about telling our younger consumer units to 'switch off' and participate in something 'less boring' that I'm sensing internal negative feedback from."
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "Right. Yes. I see how that might not sit well with, um, our wider strategy. Sort of thing."
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "How about 'Stay In And Do Stuff We Tell You To?' "
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: " '...When This Programme Has Finished' perhaps? Or even 'When Your Parents Switch Off?' "
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "We'll abbreviate to "Stay In And Do". Love it. Here's £500,000. I want a pilot on my desk on Monday."
BRIGHT YOUNG THING" "Oh graaaaaaayt."
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "And no mistakes like last time. We had to promise British Airways a plug in The Apprentice to make them not go to the papers. Now where is my coffee and bagel??"
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "Super. Yup. I'll call Jane now."
COMMISSIONING PERSON: "Also kids are expensive. Can we use dwarves?"
BRIGHT YOUNG TELLY THING: "I'll ask Jane.."
JANE standing in a disused coal mine having kids throw things at her. She is crying.
Incidentally, if anyone has read The Writer's Tale, it some interesting stuff on how Russell T. Davies slowly took over Why Don't You and subverted it into a ongoing drama. It sounded like a lot of fun.
I think this is part of my campaign to return an element of shoddiness to children's programming. It's all too Neat and Zappy and Polished these days. Bring back video clips going wrong on Number 73 and people harassing Five Star on Going Live. Right - can anyone find that clip of Yvette Fielding buggering up her pancake on Blue Peter?? BRING BACK GLITTER GLUE TO CBBC.
UPDATE: I'm beinginning to feel deja vu about this. Have I blogged about this before? Has someone else?? Have I fooled myself into thinking I came up with this idea when in fact it's the basis of a long-running show on BBC3?? PARANOIA.
* Also ooo look at that. TV Cream has gone to Beta. I turn my back for six months and eveything changes.**
** "And you gotta be ready".
*** I may have senior telly people confused with newspaper editors from the 1940s. The world of telly is not a world I move in, pass through or otherwise throw disco shapes in.