Brownlegg at Large: May 2002 

1 May 2002

Welcome, all of you, to this month’s extraordinary general meeting of the Assembly for Middle England (registered in the Cayman Islands, but not a word to the taxman). After last month’s meeting at Mother Botulism’s Bar & Grill, which resulted in a record number of casualty attendances for non-payment of the bill, finding a new meeting place was a priority of the highest order.

We now have a new Headquarters, for as long as we want it, thanks to Gloria’s Aunt Beatrice: we have unlimited use of this fine static caravan at the Sunny Climes Holiday Park, situated just outside Hayward’s Heath. It was hoped that we may be able to hold a meeting in the open air, but there are two rather pressing problems: the weather has let us down again, with a cold front over the south and south-east of the country according to Laurie Wintergreen, and the warm front usually displayed by Gloria will not be displayed today, for reasons that I will explain later.

Also, there’s a few nosy parkers in the opposite van, with a lot of coming and going, and they’ve been not only been threatened with eviction, but had a few things thrown at their door by passing footballers. A rum lot indeed, I find.

To business, gentlemen. I note that ITV Digital has found life rather hard and are presently looking for a buyer. Well, no-one can say that I’ve never tried to offer a helping hand in any way, and there was a rejection of my previous attempt to buy the company as a going concern – they didn’t have change of a tenner – so I decided to take a leaf out of Rupert Muckduck’s book and bide my time. I don’t know where they all are but you can bet that I will be ready to buy everything (the company, staff, equipment, dental records etc.) at a knockdown price.

ARD-ON Digital

In readiness for what has become an inevitable move for all of us at A-R Digital, my nephew Augustus Brownlegg-Fearn has designed a new logo and slogan that will celebrate our newly formed multi-national Brownlegg Media. When he gets out of, er, when he comes back from his walking tour of Europe, I will make him Managing Director as a thank-you, and whatever you say, there’s no nepotism here. Everyone has to prove him or herself. As a relative. I mean, as a hard-working employee. That’s how television works. Although mine has valves.

Oh, the humanism!

Grandad Television, Media and Bottleworks are trying to change their logo at the moment, and I don’t know whether or not it’s due to Cadberry’s Chocolate sponsoring “Consternation Street”, or to problems with ITV Digital, but all of their end captions are purple, just like chocolate wrappers. Sidney Burnsting’s involvement with this once-great company is all but forgotten, so I asked Augustus if he would design a new logo featuring the best of Grandad through the ages using Mr. Burnsting’s picture. He would be so proud.

I also note that broadcasting has once again produced a first – Craptown Television, in being involved with ITV Digital, have now been put in a position where they are due to be taken over themselves.

Does this mean that the company could now be called something else? As Loyd Grossperson would say, “Michael – it’s over to you”. Note to self – re-read this to see if it makes any sense at all before publication.

Welcome to the new BBC One

This was an oddly popular picture last month, so we have no hesitation in giving it an encore presentation.

As you are all aware, this picture is of Gloria hard at work as controller of BBC-1, bringing the intellectual rigour to the post you would expect of her. To answer ‘GD’ of White City’s question, no, there are no vacancies for rubbing factor 24 into her nipples. And, despite what you may say, they are real, I can vouch for it. But Gucci shoes aren’t that difficult to spot, really.

Spencer-Wells, in between pursuing his outdoor pursuits like gardening at night and taking photographs of his favourite manhole covers, has recorded the new introductory sequences used on the “other” BBC 1. Frankly, I’m disappointed. They axe “Come Dancing” because Angela Ripoff decided to keep her dress on, but there’s now nowhere for dancers to go; so they put all of Northern Counties team in-between the programmes without as much as a by-your-leave. This needs to be addressed!

The continuity announcer should say: “Hello and welcome to BBC 1. In a moment, the Six o’clock News, but first, the result of the Latin Freestyle dance-off from the Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey, and your host is Peter West”. Dancing could be used to introduce programming and weave the evening together – the policeman’s ball for “Crimewatch”, the Paso Doble for “Parkinson” and the swinging apple for “Songs Of Praise”

And like the football results, Michael Birkenhead could give you the results of the vote for the best dancers at the end of the bulletin, with commentary from Peggy Spendthrift. Mind you, all that dance practice and you don’t even get your 15 minutes of fame, as Andy Warhorse used to say when he was screen printing pictures of ladies’ bosoms. Note to self – enroll at local Art College as soon as meeting is over.

They could even get BBC Sport involved – if there’s a fight in the dance hall between the Dockyard Slashers and the Turnpike Terrors involving knives, lengths of chain, and things to hand, it could be televised live from the broken glass covered car park around the back, using the CCTV camera and the infra-red detector. They could even sponsor the coffins and body bags, so that if you see someone being carted away, you could read an advert for Ex-Lax on the side, just like on racing cars.

Thinking of ladies’ bosoms, Miss Gloria Gaumont is absent from this meeting due to a mysterious illness that occurred when she was on the set of Anglo-Oleaginous Corporation’s B-movie blockbuster

“Voodoo Vixens from Venus” shot entirely on location in Belle Vue, Manchester. Gloria had got up, been sick, went to make-up, felt sick, went to the hair stylist, felt sick, and turned up on set, said her lines, felt sick, and was sick. (They are going to cut and print that take, as they thought she was method acting). She told me (in confidence, you understand) that the lines had turned purple – I think this is probably food poisoning. I sent her to Dr. Charles Dull, who recommended that she underwent a number of examinations in the nude and suggested a change of franchise might do some good. She still isn’t back, but after a few swigs of Neutradonna solution she should be fine. I think I’ll also get her an herbal laxative, as she seems to have rather a swollen stomach.

I’ve always thought we should have a breakfast programme on one of our BBC channels, but everyone puts those types of programme on early in the morning, never thinking that some get up late, some work nights, and some never work at all. So we are devoting an entire channel to a breakfast programme, to be called “BBC Tea and Toast”, presented 24 hours a day every day. There’ll be hints on how to get off work on a sickie, where to find the shirt you ironed today, and Lorraine Smelly will be bludgeoning people who come on TV expecting to impress their friends. For those individuals for are disenfranchised, shiftwork-lagged, or just bone idle, BBC Tea and Toast will be a godsend, and the advertisers will love the amount of impulse spending that this group makes. Also, they would never know if it was day or night (they never open the curtains), so if they should switch over, there’s always “Heartbeat”, “Neighbours” and “Blake’s 7” on at any time of day. We could call it “Time-Shift TV”.

Note to self: I’m getting really used to these “buzz-words”, but need to buy new dictionary.

When Gloria (controller of BBC1 – our BBC1, not the less famous ‘national’ one) was speaking to me, she was briefing me on the type of modern media language used nowadays, and would debrief me afterwards. Very useful. But we lack, as she says, the ability to be “in your face”, which I was frankly shocked by, for she’s always been very on your face.

But she means that A-R Digital should be direct, say who we are and make our mark. That means that we will have to bring back the opening sequence, and pronto! I’ll get good old Redvers to do the Independent Television Apology announcements, and try to see if we can get a march written. I don’t have Eric Coathook’s number anymore (mind you, he is dead, but that’s no barrier to good television, I find), I haven’t got the money and I can’t find the sheets for the Associated Radiation March, so I’m going to ask Will from “Pop Idle” if he’ll do a theme. We’ll show the other channels who’s in their faces!

Finally, Spencer-Wells, fresh from a six-mile crawl over a farmer’s field, has told me that he’s finally located ITV Digital’s staff and assets, in the caravan opposite! As soon as those yobbos leave, we’re taking over! World domination is ours for certain! Yes! I am Brownlegg, Emperor of Television!

You hear me?

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Are you people still here? Why? Do you think I’m interested in your sob stories? Ooh, television is so awful. Ooh, I miss Teledu Cymru. Yada yada. I work in television – and I’ll tell you this: we don’t give a stuff about your opinions. We’re only interested in the viewer. And he says modern TV is great. Don’t you Spencer-Wells?

Here’s where this chapter ends. The next chapter can be heard on by turning this website over and pressing play.

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