Every young person in Britain is to be issued with an audio book version of The Riot Act of 1715 read by the actor and writer Stephen Fry.
The reading, described as ‘an act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the rioters’ will be played to all young people, every evening before bedtime, so as to instil in them a sense of decorum, good behaviour and moral rectitude.
'I am honoured and delighted to be reading The Riot Act to the youth of Britain,’ said Mr Fry. ‘I only hope that these young rapscallions heed its warning and curtail their more exuberant behaviours.’
To bring it in line with modern street parlance the 18th century proclamation has been recently updated and now reads: ‘Our Sovereign Lord chargeth and commandeth all persons being assembled to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or like whatever, cuz this is all about respect right, so sort it, you know what I am saying, innit.’
Riot Police are already handing out the audio books to prospective troublemakers in the hope that the dulcet tones of Mr Fry will quell their more riotous urges and inculcate a sense of politeness, courtesy and good manners. In the meantime shopping centres are already piping the voice of Fry through their public address systems to distract would-be looters with the exciting adventures of Harry Potter.
‘We are delighted to be working with Stephen on this project,’ said Home Secretary Theresa May, ‘and I am pleased to announce that in the event of further riots Stephen will be coming to the front-line to read The Riot Act in person, using only a loud hailer and waving his hankie.’
Meanwhile each police force in Britain has been issued with a bright red FryPhone so that in the event of a crisis they can contact the wit and raconteur for an emergency anecdote. In extremis Scotland Yard may also beam the Fry Signal into the night sky, at which point Stephen will perambulate to any incident at a speedy yet measured pace.
Lesser riots and minor tumults will see The Riot Act read by Community Support Narrators Simon Callow and Martin Jarvis.
‘If young people fail to heed the warnings of Mr Fry then they will face the full force of the law,’ said David Cameron, ‘and a very big shouting-at by Brian Blessed.’