A team of crack writers (or possibly writers on crack) gather around a table in the offices of ITV’s new ‘edgy, spiky’ satirical show Newzoids. The Head Writer calls the meeting to order.
HW: Right, we’re here to plan out episode one of what I’m sure will become the new face of British satire. So, team, where shall we start? What ground-breaking global issues can we look at in a way that has never been seen before? What new, original spin can we put on the news?
Silence. A tumbleweed rolls past. The Head Writer sighs.
HW: Okay, let’s think about this. What’s big at the moment? What’s got people talking?
HW: Brilliant! Okay, hit me with a way to do Broadchurch that’ll turn the drama industry on its head!
HW: Alright, never mind. Let’s go round the table, one by one, and everyone give me their one most rib-achingly hilarious Broadchurch gag to go in the sketch! Jim, you start.
Jim: Okay… well… David Tennant’s in Broadchurch, right?
Everyone nods eagerly, anxious to know down what flights of mirth this trail will lead.
Jim: And David Tennant was also in Doctor Who!
HW: Well, about six years ago, yeah…
Jim: Yeah, but it’s not as if he’s done anything between Who and Broadchurch, is it? He’s famously one of the most frequently out-of-work actors in the country. Hardly ever on telly.
HW: You’re right! Why, I can barely remember what he looks like. So, what’s the joke?
Jim: Picture this: we think we’re about to see David Tennant as Inspector Whatsisface- but then it turns out he’s been replaced by Peter Capaldi!
HW: Oh, okay! Is Tennant leaving, then? That’s clever.
Jim: No! He’s already said he’ll be in series three! That’s why nobody will be expecting it! That’s what makes us edgy!
HW: I love it! Barry, what’s your Broadchurch joke?
Barry: Right, you know Olivia Coleman? Successful and award-winning actress with a varied and critically acclaimed career, despite not being young or conventionally attractive?
HW: Yeah, what’s up with that?
Everyone falls about laughing at how clearly ridiculous and ripe for mockery this is.
Barry: So what I’m thinking is, a joke about how she never stops crying! We could even imply that’s the only reason she gets hired!
HW: Is that a thing? Is she famed for always bursting into tears in everything she’s in?
Barry: How should I know? What, you think I’ve actually watched anything she’s in? Please. It’s not as if she gets parts with her acting, is it? She’s too old!
The other writers nod at Barry’s clear wisdom, so the Head Writer relents.
HW: Okay, Linda, what have you got?
Linda: It’s not fair, sir! Barry stole my joke!
HW: Well, we’ll let you have another shot at it, seeing as this was all your idea.
Linda: Okay, right, here goes: series two got a couple of bad reviews, didn’t it?
HW: I seem to remember they were more indifferent than bad, but go ahead.
Linda: So why don’t we have Olivia Coleman crying about that? She could start talking about series two, and then water could start shooting out of her irises!
HW: Not her tear ducts?
Linda: Oh, sure, if you think our animators are competent enough to know where the tear ducts are.
HW: Irises it is. We’ve only just managed to stop them eating their crayons. But we still need one more joke, one final touch that’s going to tell the audience just how witty and clever our comedy is. Tarquin?
Tarquin: Hold on to your hats, genius coming through. You know how the murder victims in both series were children, right?
Tarquin: Well- you are so not ready for this- how about we have the characters just use the word “paedo” over and over again?
Everyone starts to giggle because Tarquin said a naughty word.
HW: That would- pfft- that would be amazing!
Tarquin: I- teehee- I know, right?
HW: And we don’t do anything else with it?
Tarquin: Haha- no, it’s just the word “paedo”! That’s the joke! That’s how everyone will know just how edgy we are!
The team collapse into helpless laughter at the thought of how daring and cutting edge their comedy is. Jim laughs so hard a little bit of wee comes out, and everyone points and howls with mirth. The Spitting Image puppets turn in their graves. After a full hour of laughter, the Head Writer calls the meeting back to order.
HW: Right, focus, team. For some reason the producers have asked us to get a couple of skits in the episode about politicians. So, I thought we could start with David Cameron, and- heehee- how posh he is! Wouldn’t that be great? Just loads of jokes about him being rich and posh!
The other writers start scribbling frantically.
HW: After all, the idea that after five years in power, the most offensive and objectionable thing about having a Conservative government is that two or three of them have a bit of an accent, is an idea I feel very strongly our satire show should be promoting. Ah, we’ll change the world in no time…