Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's Got Cows, Rocs, and Trods, Stop Complaining

The BBC is now approaching its darkest hour, and - faced with what it believes to be stiff commercial competition - would like to prove itself with television programmes that are inventive, dynamic, and of-the-moment. NO, NOT LIKE THAT! INVENTIVE, DYNAMIC, OF-THE-MOMENT, AND LIKE ALL THEIR OTHER ONES! IDIOT! So they've taken a DNA swab from the corpse of the Davies era, and realised that the best way to mass-produce new product is by using an anagram of Doctor Who, just like Torchwood did. Ergo, here are the fifteen (yes, fifteen!) scrambled versions of those nine letters which might just make saleable telly...

1. Th' Cow Door
SF anthology series, produced in conjunction with America's YUKYUKYUKTV, known for supplying entertainment to those who live in the farmbelt and (according to the station's website) don't have any "haah-brow" ideas about TV drama. The press release from BBC Worldwide explains: "Why should science fiction, in this modern and democractic age, simply be for people who know what 'science' or 'fiction' mean? Or who can read? After all, Doctor Who itself is controlled by a man who considers sci-fi to be for complete saddoes, and who hasn't read an original SF novel written in the last thirty years because he thinks it might make him look bad in front of girls. Why not give yokels the same treatment as the British public?" In this series, the titular Cow Door is a gigantic udder-portal which allows the rural American audience to glimpse any number of terrifying nighmare-worlds, including a world where a black man is president and a world where things somehow changed after 1945.

2.Hot Crow Do
Another co-production, this time with Channel 5: a documentary series that takes a morbidly intimate look at "swinging" within the UK's voodoo community. Seemingly respectable middle-class couples gather for Activia cocktails and talk about the schools in their area, before one of their number rips the head off a carrion-bird with his teeth. The ensuing spatter of blood and polite self-hatred forms the "wallpaper" of the orgy, though the programme is most memorable for its catchphrase, "LET THE VOICE OF BARON SAMEDI BE HEARD but on leaving, please remember that this is a residential area".

3. How Cod Rot
Also a documentary series, this one starring Jeremy Clarkson, who goes on a license-fee-funded holiday to point at decaying fish in Europe's ports and pretend it's all the fault of Brussels. Given the tenuous Doctor Who link, he argues that it's demonstrably okay to hate everything that's not exactly like you, because anyone who tries to make friends with you is bound to be a stinking piece of extra-terrestrial garlic-munching Dago-shagging filth disguised as a human being. Mark Gatiss and the entire writing team of The Sarah-Jane Adventures applaud wildly as he crushes an Uzbekistani shepherd-boy's head beneath the wheels of his SUV. Because it's a pre-emptive strike. Somehow.

4. Howdo t'Orc
Remake of The Lord of the Rings set entirely in the North of England. "Eee, in't Golden Age of dwarves, we worked eighteen hours down't Mines of Moria and were glad to thank Balrog of't privelege."

5. Ood C. Worth
Older viewers of British television can't fail to remember Harry Worth, the '60s comedian best known for gitting around with his mirror-image in a shop window. The BBC now takes the opportunity to combine the nostalgia factor of the original Worth with the merchandising appeal of the Ood, by digging up his corpse, forcing an octopus onto his face, and dangling him in front of a reflective surface as part of a sit-com described by critics as "marginally less offensive than My Family". It may seem cruel, but it's no worse than what Brian Cox had to do.

6. Coo! RTD Who?
A poignant reminder of Doctor Who past, this docu-drama follows the hulking, tramp-like figure of Russell T. Davies as he mindlessly shambles from production company to production company. He flashes a childlike smile at passers-by on the way, and they instinctively smile back, before realising that they can't remember who he is or what he did that was any good. Ultimately, this worn-out sop of a man has to face the fact that however much he may have cared in his early years, he allowed his one true love to become a version of Merlin that's too scared to go up against X Factor. The consequences are tragic. Especially for the viewers, who are still living through them.

7. Rood Wotch
When an attempt was made to resurrect Doomwatch in 1999, it failed horribly, despite its best efforts to lever cyberpunk aesthetics and a fucking great black hole into the format. Why the problem? Head of BBC3 Marcus Shobgite explains: "It didn't speak to the now, the moment, the modern generation. With our new remake, we'll be talking about things that really affect the youth of 2010. Especially if they're a bit dirty, you know? Hence the title. The first episode's about breast implants, and raises the question... are these things justifiable, simply because they make women much more attractive? Or do they expand monstrously, turning girls into incredibly sexy she-demons with 56HH chests that suck the life - note, that's "life", clever metaphor there - out of the lead male characters? Plus, everyone carries mobile 'phones in this version." When asked about the eccentric spelling of the title, Marcus replies: "It's deliberate. It says everything about the gap between the so-called establishment and today's urban, hypertext-age kids. Besides, this show's mainly aimed at Chav-scum. And you know what they're like with spelling."

8. "Och!" to Word
A one-off Christmas ghost story in which a dour Scotsman refuses to use any software provided by Microsoft, on the grounds that "when I were a bairn, we used the Apple Mac of the Clan MacApple". In the haunting conclusion, Word comes to eat out his heart, as it does to us all. David Tennant provides a near-perfect rendition of the young John Laurie, whose life inevitably ends in an old empty barn. 2-1 says it'll have at least one member of The League of Gentlemen in it, and that it'll be followed on BBC4 by a documentary in which Kim Newman gets the author's history completely wrong.

9. Two-Ho Cord
The American production company refuses to reveal what this project will entail, although it's known to be a game show, and insiders believe it involves a pair of prostitutes and a piece of string.

10. Wot Roc? Oh!
Following the Chibnall-awful remake of Clash of the Titans, the embarrassing skeleton-fight in the aforementioned Merlin, and every half-arsed CGI Doctor Who monster of recent years, the modern world decides to piss on Ray Harryhausen's face one last time by remaking Seventh Voyage of Sinbad in the style of Hole in the Wall and/or that thing with Richard Hammond nobody watches. Contestants make their way across a landscape of hilarious obstacles, while avoiding the ever-present threats of falling in some water or being ripped to mince by a giant two-headed bird. The celebrity version might actually be entertaining.

11. O, Trod Chow
When dealing with any Doctor Who spin-off, the BBC's biggest problem is that it doesn't own the Daleks. The solution? Bring back the Trods, those suspiciously Dalek-like machine-creatures that turned up in the late-'60s TV Comic Doctor Who strip when they couldn't afford the Daleks. And what better way to introduce them to the twenty-first century than their own cookery show? Script ediotr Gareth Roberts tells the press: "I've been 'ironically' ripping off ideas from TV Comic for years, as a way of juxtaposing the optimistic future of the 1960s with a modern age in which people will swallow any old shit if it's got a CGI wasp in it. So as you can imagine, I find this weirdly hilarious!" For his brave stand in pretending that recycled comic-book arse is in some way creative, Roberts is later hailed as "the new Lichtenstein".

12. "Woot" Chord
Oh, you know. The one that kicks in two-thirds of the way through the full version of the original Doctor Who theme. What, you think the "woot" chord doesn't at least deserve a BBC4 documentary of its own? Then the ghost of Delia Derbyshire spits on you. (No, all right, it doesn't. Her ghost is nice. But my ghost won't be, I'm telling you that right now.)

13. Whor'd Coot
"Hey. You wanna sleep with my sister? Yeah, she's a Jacondan bird-person, like in 'Twin Dilemma'. Yeah, she's of the genus Fulica. What, you wanna get technical now? Huh? Huh?"

14. Hoot Crowd
Like an audience of African football fans with vuvuzelas, but more Silurian-y. Yeah, you're right, this whole concept is clearly winding down.

15. Octo Dr. Who
The BBC brings together all eight surviving Doctor Who actors, in a desperate effort to prove that Matt Smith isn't the worst one ever. This backfires when it turns out that even Colin Baker has some kind of soul.