In a bid to place the BBC’s ailing light entertainment reputation in “safer hands” the corporation has announced that humourless war correspondent Orla Guerin and irritable news anchor Jeremy Paxman will front its new It’s a Knockout programme.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to give light entertainers more credibility with the general public, Paul and Barry Chuckle will present the To Me, To You, Today programme each morning on Radio 4.
‘It’s time we took the problem child of light entertainment and introduced it to its more responsible older sibling of news and current affairs,’ said the BBC’s new director general, Tony Hall. ‘In return, our heavyweight presenters will be used to bolster the reputation of comedy and kids’ programmes.
Fuckallvision, a new knockabout comedy for under 5s will feature James Naughtie, John Humphrys and Evan Davis as three penniless clowns who live in a pink Bongo and get into all sorts of scrapes as they seek employment during a recession. The programme will include an extended interview with an exasperated employer covered in paint at ten past eight.
In clips leaked to the press, the first episode of the new It’s a Knockout has Guerin reporting solemnly on the demise of a Dutch competitor trying to walk up a water slide dressed as a fifteen-foot sponge giant. Paxman is shown repeatedly asking an evasive German captain “Are you going to play your joker? It’s a simple question. Yes or No?” while being sprayed with foam.
‘Our problem has been that the programmes with the largest audience figures have been consistently fronted by sexual deviants, racists and arrested-development fantasists,’ continued Hall, ‘while the presenters who truly represent our impressive lineage of journalistic integrity and professionalism have been languishing in places like Islamabad.
‘We plan to integrate the two so that light entertainment will be given a much-needed leg up into respectability while Top Gear presenters are shipped permanently to far off places like Mars in the hope that they’ll be slowly and inexorably forgotten about — starting with a race across the red planet on a Sinclair C5, an Austin Allegro, and a Raleigh Chopper, without any oxygen.’
In place of Top Gear, a new prime time programme about personal mobility - Warning, Disabled Physicist Reversing - will be hosted by Stephen Hawking, including a regular slot where Professor Hawking will attempt to explain the daily phenomenon of gridlock on the Hanger Lane gyratory system: The Tragic Roundabout.
Food and Drink also returns, hosted by Dr Christian Jessen and broadcast live from an abattoir in Romania.