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Nick Booth: United Airlines blaze a trail for enforcers everywhere


A hit new cop show set in the world of airport enforcers has taken America by storm. Now the format for United Airlines PD Blue is set to be copied all over Europe. The BBC is especially keen to adapt the story of brutal enforcement of corporate power, taking money off people and giving nothing back.

The show title refers to the elite troops of a top American air force, United Airlines. The story concentrates on two maverick cops whose unconventional techniques often rub people up the wrong way. However, ‘the boys in the boardroom”, secretly back them to the hilt because they get results.

Regular blue chip Americans love the show because it eschews the suffocating constricts of so-called ‘correctical politeness’ in favour of good old fashioned corporate brutality. As the show’s star, Red Meat, laments in one epic speech, “I’m tired of oversubscribed punks getting bounced back on the tarmac with a compensatory payment by some bleeding heart small c conservative in customer services.”

Now the BBC is planning its own version, set in the world of TV licence enforcement.

A pilot show, in which a single mother from a council estate is successfully prosecuted and her children put into care, wowed audiences at a private screening for BBC governors. The BBC show will concentrate on the delicate relationship between the Corporation’s elite governors – known as the Round Robins, a reference to their habit of incessant humble-bragging – and the enforcers on the ground who tax the poor to feed the rich.

The episode shows the BBC Licence Squadron teaming up with other correction departments from the police and the local council. The troops are rallied by an inspirational speech from Suburbiton Council’s chief Dave Braveheart. “We can take away their money, We can take away their children. We can take away their freedom! But… we will never… EVER… take away their bin bags!!”

In what seems like a simple open and shut case, the BBC News helicopter has been commissioned and everyone knows the drill for the humiliation of an innocent member of the public. But things don’t always go to plan.

A screening of Round Robins in the Hood will be available at the Edinburgh Festival, to a select audience.

(Image: West Midlands Police)

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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