Friday, November 22, 2019
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David Keighley: A star line-up for the new BBC theme park. Russell Brand despatches figures of hate

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Roll up, roll up…the BBC’s commercial arm Worldwide has signed a deal that could mean BBC programmes becoming part of an entertainment park being built in Ebbsfleet and due to open in 2020.

This has triggered inevitable speculation about which programmes would achieve star-billing – Doctor Who is top of the list. Another hot tip is an Eastenders theme ride where everyone shouts at each other.

In fact, BBC ideology is now so well-defined that it won’t take much adaptation to get the crowds flocking to the park. The blueprints are already on the management board’s desks with former Labour minister James Purnell, the BBC’s head of strategy, in charge of making sure everything fits with Corporation rules about partiality and diversity.

The plans have been leaked exclusively to TCW. Here’s the list:

CHOP-CHOP: Following the rip-roaring success of choosing Hilary Mantel’s fantasy about murdering Margaret Thatcher as the latest Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, Ms Mantel has devised a theme park special game, inspired by her Thatcher fantasies and also based on the BBC 2014 adaptation of her Thomas Cromwell novel Wolf Hall. Each afternoon, in the Thatcher memorial arena – with the centre area lovingly recreating Tower Green – a BBC figure of hate will be publicly ‘decapitated’ by Corporation hero Russell Brand  using the latest BBC £100m special effects techniques to make each despatching look as realistic as possible.  Already on the list are, of course, Nigel Farage, Mark Reckless,  Theresa May, Lord Lawson of Blaby (for being both a Thatcher chancellor AND daring to challenge the BBC orthodoxy of climate change), and – the most popular – a legion of nasty City bankers.

NOT SO FROZEN PLANET: Here, the BBC – inspired by David Attenborough’s nature programmes – invites its public to experience what it knows for certain (because Ed Miliband, Christopher Huhne, scientists and computer models  say so) how the world will be in 2100.  Modelled partly on the geodesic structures in the Eden project, this exciting Epcot-style attraction will feature melting ice, endless storms, flooding and searing temperatures – all of which, it will be explained, were once foolishly called weather but are now known by Corporation correspondents and presenters to be certain evidence of impending disaster. The most exciting feature is at the end – the BBC vision of what must be done to save mankind: the destruction of capitalism and industry, and a reversion to the Stone Age.

QUESTION TIME: In line with focus-group findings that the public now find political debate too boring and must be spiced up, this attraction is set in a re-creation of the Coliseum in Rome. Rival gangs of politicians, aided and abetted – and sometimes led – by their celebrity backers, are invited each afternoon to devise ever-more-gruesome methods of combating each other. Consultants for ensuring maximum visual impact and unpleasantness are Jeremy Clarkson and the team from Top Gear. At the end, the crowd (hand-picked, of course, by the BBC from among Labour supporters) will be invited to decide who among the survivors should be spared.

NO MINISTER: supported by the EU’s diversity and public information fund, this attraction holds nothing back in showing how wonderful the EU is. With lots of polyglot singing. aerial gymnastics and illusionism, there are  a series of tableaux demonstrating how uncontrolled movement of people and endless new regulation benefit everyone. A special feature, drawing on the ever popular Yes Minister programmes (but without the humour, of course), illustrates how the EU is run without any democratic input at all, but is nevertheless entirely democratic. The second phase of this feature – intended when it is built to be star of the park – will allow the public to participate in a whole series of cross-European experiences showing how nationalism must wither and be replaced by a borderless Socialist Utopia.

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David Keighleyhttp://news-watch.co.uk
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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