The Brownlegg Files: November 2002 

1 November 2002

Please note: the following farrago is satire. Common abuse is not libel. And Captain Brownlegg RN (Rtd) and his friends and cohorts are fictional. Now, disclaimers over with, lets get on with the thinly disguised gossip and slander you’re all here for.

The Brownlegg Files

Meet the cast:

  • Captain T N Brownlegg RN (Rtd) – Head of the Brownlegg Media Group (unrelated to Carlton or Granada), the BBC (unrelated to the BBC) and entirely fictional. Obviously.
  • Augustus ‘Gus’ Brownlegg-Fearn – From the bottom of the gene pool, we introduce the new head of ITV1 (not the one you’re thinking of. This is a different one, and we’ll come up with a fake set of words to fit the initials at a later date).
  • Ms Gloria Gaumont – Controller of BBC-1 (see above) who is about to give birth. And not in a good way.
  • John Spencer-Wells – Former manager of the Brownlegg Media Group now reduced to watching ‘That Gay Show’ on BBC Choice.
  • Jean Morton – A demon at Scrabble(TM) recently freed from having her hand up a koala.
  • Leslie Harblo – Walthamstow mystic, gourmet and voyeur. As you know.
  • Lord Murail Young – Also recently freed from hand-up-animal duties, Murail is now director of programmes at Sly Television and dabbles in broadcasting in her own time.
  • Lorraine Haggerty – Are you bored with the continuing mentions of this sub-person? Tough.

In Gloria’s office, her newly appointed secretary eagerly licked the last stamp and stuck it firmly down on the envelope, and said brightly, “There, all done! Nearly time to go home!”

Gloria Gaumont, chartreuse and Controller of BBC-1 (The Other One, as the slogan has it), cut an imposing figure of a mother-to-be in her floral print smock-cum-butcher’s apron. She looked up from where she’d been uncertainly applying green mascara, stroked her pet panther Tibbles under the chin, stared at her secretary, and roared with disapproval.

Idiot rehabilitated too early

“John Spencer-Wells! You ain’t goin’ any place yet! After you’ve done with postin’ them, mop the kitchen floor, clean out Tibbles’ litter box – you still haven’t eaten the last lot of Fuller’s Earth either – you’ve got to take apart the photocopier…”

“But it’s not broken!” interjected the unfortunate BBC (Brownlegg Bullfighting Channel, obviously) minion.

ABC, your weekend fattening TV

“Two of the accounts clerks are still trapped in it, and there’s two dead wood pigeons in the collating bin – and His Nibs doesn’t like submitting network reports with bird droppings and ‘Help’ written on them! Climb in there, get all of them out, and load it up with foolscap!”

Poor Spencer-Wells. He was definitely not a happy man. Since the attempted coup d’etat on board the Saucy Bumfluff, he had been given the grand order of the sandal by the Captain (the boot was made of Spanish leather, and therefore far too expensive). Already effectively unemployable – although the Grauniad had offered him a fortnightly column in their Meejah Section – he suddenly faced having nothing to do with his time, but now without money.

Something absolutely well-swung

Gloria had spoken up for him, in a husky whisper, saying; “Tommy, darling, you know I’m getting bigger, and I need help around the office. Can John work with me, I have plenty for him to do!”

End of part one


<Insert break bumper that resembles the BBC’s current logo and Channel Five’s previous optical style but, in both cases, looks like it was done for fourpence, here>

Is your career flagging? Do you need to give it a boost? We can help. Just accuse someone unnamed of rape or sleep with a boring former Prime Minister that everyone had forgotten, and you too can be interviewed by Jonathan Ross. Write to ‘The Daily Mail’, Daily Mail House, Daily Mail Way, London.

<Insert boring interstitial here>

Have you had an accident recently? Got drunk and fell over a kerb? Sprained a finger dialling a hardcore sex line? Repeatedly crashed your car into a badly sited 15-foot-tall florescent yellow brick wall surrounded by warning chevrons? Trespassed onto the East Coast Main Line and found yourself unexpectedly run down by an 800-ton train doing up to 125mph during rush hour? Then call us and we’ll file a nuisance lawsuit in the hope that the company or person you’re suing will have insurance! No win, bankruptcy!

<Insert another boring interstitial here>

It’s time to sign up for a personal loan through Brownlegg Direct. Just one call and you can sleep on a pile of money. And our rates are low – less than 35% above the base rate! No CCJs.

<Yet another boring interstitial goes here>

Are you horribly in debt and resorting to paying out-of-work provincial actors to pretend to be you on the phone? Call Brownlegg Direct. Just one call and you can sleep on a pile of money. And our rates are low – less than 35% above the base rate! CCJs welcome.

<Final boring interstitial here>

Paragonia Finance – we promise to break the law, and your legs, if you don’t pay the money you don’t owe us. And our rates are low – less than 5p owed and we promise to harass you everyday. CCJs ignored.


Part Two

The Captain had asked her to give him one reason why Spencer-Wells shouldn’t hang from the flagpole over The Aldwych. Ms Gaumont, of course, fluttered her eyelashes and fluffed her cleavages and replied, “You think that he’ll get punished by being keel-hauled. After I’m through with him, he’ll prefer your usual punishments, believe me.”

An announcement is being fluffed in sound

Captain Brownlegg R.N. (Retd) turned his leather chair around to face the glass-and-pasteboard window, deep in contemplation. Probably.

An autobiography of Will Self is just too depressing to think about

Who runs this organisation, he asked himself. Me or the staff within it? Only the other day Muriel had renamed all of the Brownlegg Bullfighting Channels to “BBC-1”. But why, he wondered. Ten channels on ten transvestites – I mean transponders – no, I was probably right the first time – all called BBC-1, so the public won’t get confused that they’re watching the wrong channel.

And then London Weakneed Television turn up with a couple of tea chests and a frame tent, asking us for a penny for a cup of tea until times get better and would we buy their South Banknote Show catalogue so they can buy a portion of savoury cake and chips to eat as they huddle for warmth around their paraffin heater.

Assuming of course that you had a gramophone

And as if that wasn’t enough, Eric Mousey allows us to present a prestigious beauty contest, on board the Saucy Bumfluff, and A-R Digital have first dibs because ITV are busy buying each other out. Then two of my most trusted officers stage a takeover attempt, and we all end up in the briny after the Russians attempt a second October revolution.

(At this point, you now have roughly the entire story so far, and a clue as to why you’ve never managed to finish reading an entire edition yet).

After this period of contemplation, with a strained look on his face, he swung the chair back and faced the blonde bombsite. He croaked “You, Gloria, the star in my sky, the jewel in my sextant and the balance mechanism in my mattress, want to overrule me. Is that right?”

There’s always heaps to do in the jungle

Gloria’s reply was short and sweet. “Yeah, luv, what yer gonna do about it? Eh?”

“Oh, do what you want with him,” said Brownlegg, beaten, “I’ve got a new right-hand man anyway, and Spencer-Wells was too inclined to hide in the cupboard when the ITA came for tea.

The British Open MPEG Artefacts Championships - Thursday 11:30am

“He thought the School Board had found out he’d played truant. Mind you, Sir Fraser Roberts did look the part in a cap and gown – and I found the cane a most interesting addition to the ensemble. Lord Dull of Ditchwater always looked rather mournful, but then again, what do you expect of a man who eats stale bread and walks for ten miles with no shoes on? Anyway, get Spencer-Wells into your office now, keep him out of my sight and make him work until he’s really sorry”

This liniment is for external use only

So, that’s just what Gloria did. John Spencer-Wells was literally living in the office, his meals taken in the filing cabinet, his washing drying on the angle poise lamp. He was once more loyal, in fear of being unemployed, or, worse still, ending up in the real BBC. And every hour of every day was spent trying to please.

Jean came in with a large dictionary. “Do you know what this is, John? It’s the source for my love of words – especially scary words, challenging words. And do you know what you have to do?

“Look in this book for scary and terrible words. And when you’ve done that, you can muck out the horses and polish all the Adastrals in the building, including the gold hubcap ones on the Captain’s bullnose Morris. There’s plenty of Duraglit for that. And if you’re done by 8 o’clock tonight, you can go home”.

Spencer-Wells didn’t hear the last bit. He was pleased about the Duraglit, as he was already thirsty. He hurried off to perform his many tasks, and to eat his cornflakes out of an envelope.

Vera of the Myceni

Just then, the Captain popped his head through a convenient opening. “I would like you all to meet our new Managing Director…” and the shaven-headed, besuited Augustus “Gus” Brownlegg-Fearn walked in, smiling broadly, a briefcase in one hand and a knuckleduster in the other, his scars newly stitched.

A shrill chorus was heard, until Jean shoed it away with a broom. “Hold on!” Gloria intoned, “He was the one behind the revolution on board the Saucy Bumfluff! You’ve had John punished and demoted, and he gets promoted for being a traitor. Come on! That’s not fair at all!”

Gus glared, then, a wry smile playing around his lips and down into his chest hair, spoke. “Well, you butch of wet Nellies, I’ve been promoted, not because I was the best, but ’cause the ITC are bleedin’ scared of me. When they wouldn’t pass Muriel’s instructional films on sex and cake making for the Watching All Nude Kinfolk Media Ensemble channel, called “Bake, Shake and Make” I threatened them all with battery acid. I challenged them to a razor match and a game of Split The Kipper an’ all. And they’ve only offered me a “small consolation” because they’re a bit hard up”.

Jean Morton's Word of the Month - Burglary

Gus continued, beaming with pride and prejudice, starring Dame Judi Stench and a several assorted McGanns. “Well, we’ve gotta sell H2SO4, ’cause our Mobile phones haven’t got whap or whatever, and the aerials aren’t compact enough. I told that Mr. Yagi that we don’t need a 7-director array for a ‘phone, but he wouldn’t ‘ave it. But the ITC ‘ave asked if we want ITV1 for nothin’ and I said yeah”.

His wife suffers from blowback

Brownlegg was furious at this – Gus hadn’t been exactly straight with him. “Wait a minute! Are you saying that you want to take A-R Digital downmarket?”, as if this were possible. Mind you, anything is possible when you think of the current state of ITV.

“No”, said Gus, “We’re taking them up market! I got a copy of their licence contract, just need to take a copy for the file…”

He walked over to the photocopier, put the paper face down, and pressed the big green button. Copies came out, but he became aware of a knocking and muffled screams. The paper had “Get me out” and “Bloody hell it’s dark” written on it.

Gus said, “Must be a paper jam” and opened the door to find Spencer-Wells covered in toner, and wielding a screwdriver. “Well, well, well, it’s me old china Johnny. How’s life in exile, pal?”

100% of the 1 vote we received was in favour, by the way.

“Cack, no thanks to you, mush,” said John, still resenting getting the entire blame for the beauty contest fiasco.

“Matey”, Gus said in a friendly but threatening voice, “I owe you one, don’t I?

How would you like me to take you away from all this? How would you like a nice easy life? Hey?”

“Of course”, said Spencer-Wells, deciding that he would be buggered if he worked for a Brownlegg again.

Glorified vision mixer disappears up own bum. Again.

“How would you like to run Crapton Television?” threatened Gus.

Spencer-Wells thought for a moment, frowned and closed the door. Gus said, “What’s up, John?”

“Nothing. Just keep photocopying.”

Gloria reacted to the shock by clutching her stomach and breathing heavily. “God, no! Get the towels, Tommy! Get me midwife! Boil a kettle! Get some drugs! No, Gus, hospital-type drugs! Where’s me birth music tape of sinking battleships? Oh, no…”

Bye bye Gerry, we’ll miss you. Whoever you were.

Brownlegg rolled his sleeves up, nodded to Jean, and said, “Do we have any gloves? This needs to be handled carefully”.

Jean searched frantically and handed a small furry glove to the Captain. “It’ll be a bit gentler. And Gloria did like a warm hand upon her entrance at all times!”

Brownlegg nodded, and as Gloria kept puffing and blowing, pulled on the glove puppet of Pussy Cat Willum. This had proved to be a difficult day for everyone. The only question was, would it get better?

Brownlegg Media Group (incorporating Richard Addinsell) press release:

Programme highlights from the Brownlegg Broadcasting Corporation coming up in the next month include:

Flame Academy: The original 15 contestants are now down to just 5, with ‘Scotty’ predicted to be the next to leave. This important and popular series will be moved to an important new timeslot (3am) with a repeat on BBC What? at a time you could find out if you could find listings for the channel in the Radiation Times without a magnifying glass.

Carnation Street: our popular, long-running drama about northern stereotypes living in a surreally all-white world except for that woman who was in dinnerladies with Victoria Wood reaches new depths this week, as a character you had forgotten is almost killed for some reason and her mother starts eating flies off of the Vapona with her tongue. Or something. Like anyone cares any more.

Power situation in this area is critical. Look out - your set's going to explode! Get out of the room, quick!

ScragEnders: the flagship slop opera about violent and depressive Londoners, featuring that silly Tory cow who was almost funny in that 70s sitcom with that camp guy and Molly Sugden from Emmerdale Farm and is now surgically attached to a soup-stained cardigan, has some big event involving suicidal teenagers and a fire at the Queen Vic. Or a suicidal Queen Vic and a fire up a teenager. Something that’ll draw viewers, anyway.

Surprise Disaster: We have filmed an expensive new series – our publicists are already calling it “the next Titanic” – where a group of women who really want to be famous and can smell money at 1000 yards claim to have been groped by the presenter. This non-disastrous-in-any-way series forms the centre point of our winter schedules and features former Blue Peter presenter Shep as the host most likely grab your leg and start rubbing.

Bottom Feeders: This series, following a bunch of slags and pissed-up dimwitted boys around Ibiza or somewhere similarly depressing, will be watched by literally dozens of sad men with their flies open in the hope of seeing some pudenda. It will follow our famous primetime programme “Dial A Saddo” whose viewer is described as “delighted” with the latest series, as is his wife and sister.

BBC Breakfast: Our flagship morning news programme has recently been voted “no longer the worst flagship morning news programme” thanks to the combined efforts of GMTV and Channel Four’s FA:LL. Runner up was Sly News Sunrise, who won the prestigious “worst sound effect added to an aston on a channel watched by less than or equal to 3 people” award. As we covert that award, and our neighbour’s oxen, we intend to debase the reputation for quality news we never had by adding a similar stupid sound effect sometime over the next fortnight.

100 Great Britons: presented, without an evident sense of irony, by Anne Robinson.

Corrections and Clarifications: the hysterical Grauniad column is brought to television by presenter Clive Anderson’s suit. Each episode takes an edition of the Grauniad and picks it to pieces for the amusement of moronic viewers, under the banner of “public service”. This week, how the newspaper managed to misspell the word “and” on four occasions, adn the hilarious “plagiarising a website to produce obituaries that are almost, but not quite, entirely factually wrong”.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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