Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Waterlogged Pitch

So, as is tradition every five years or so, the BBC have announced some new idents for BBC One. As part of the tradition, several message board posters and the Daily Heil are ready to whine loudly about the fact the BBC has spent some money on something that isn't Radio 4, and (if the new idents feature any non-white faces) it's overwhelmingly politically correct, or (if the new idents don't feature any non-white faces) the BBC is inherently racialist. Well, BrokenTV understands the concerns of Middle England all too well (we once lived in a constituency where Boris Johnson was running as an MP, you know), and flush from the success of our little BrokenTV ident in the bottom corner of this very screen, we submitted our own design proposals to the BBC. Now they've gone and picked Red Bee instead of us, we can now make our offerings available to you, the Peoples Of The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland. The following is a transcript of our meeting with the BBC, made just a few weeks ago.


Hello, the BBC. Why did you devote a ninety-minute show to The Goodies and then fail to show any of the classic episodes afterwards, eh? Anyway, we're here to make our proposal for the new idents, which, if you'll excuse the pun, are 'express'ly designed to offset the flak you usually receive from the right-leaning members of Her Majesty's press. Eh? Eh? If you'll just allow us to get our laptop out of our bag, and fire up Powerpoint...

[BrokenTV fumbles around rucksack. After a fashion, a Powerpoint presentation flashes up. The first page is a BBC logo atop a massive flowchart filled with words like 'synergy', 'identity', 'the need to meet needs' and 'the opportunity for opportunity' in a bad choice of font.]

Here we are. Now, this [gestures vaguely at screen] is what you're clearly looking for. This sort of... thing. And we're sure you'll get lots of pitches that only address these needs. But...

[Click. The screen switches to a new slide, with the title 'Criticism'. Click. A selection of Daily Heil and Daily Express headlines fade in. "I'm white, middle-class, straight and I love my wife. Why does the BBC hate me?", "Are the BBC training terrorists how to explode Britain by screening Time Trumpet?", "Were the BBC responsible for Diana's death?", you know the drill, printing questions as headlines so they don't have to tell the truth. It seems BrokenTV have used the 'Wheel Clockwise, 8 spokes' transition for every page, the chumps.]

...what about the selection of drubbings the BBC regularly receives from the seething faces of right-wing columnists and people who post on the internet? What about their needs? It's their BBC too! The Beeb is funded by everyone for everyone, so why shouldn't the majority of it's output cater for the tastes of a few million people in the Home Counties who think What's My Line should be brought back and shown on Saturday nights and they should bring back hanging? We assume your silence means you agree with us, which is why we've come up with the following ideas for BBC One station idents.

Proposal one. Here we address the inevitable complaints that the new brand identity will cost some money.

[Click. New slide, a mocked up headline reading "the BBC spend £1.2million on thing that isn't even a programme - should the board of governors all be shot?"]

In order to offset the inevitable criticism about you spending lots of money THAT COULD BE GIVEN TO NURSES on branding, how about this...?

[Click. A black screen. Slowly, a monochrome lo-res globe and BBC One logo is etched onto the centre of the display.]

We're pretty sure we'd worked out how to stop
the cursor blinking and everything.

That's right; this is a BBC One ident that will comfortably avoid any criticism. And appropriately enough, it's running on an second hand BBC Micro we'd picked up on eBay for just ten Great British Pounds. It takes a while to load, so you might want to start the tape going a few minutes before the end of the previous programme, but it is very cost effective...


You don't seem too impressed. Look, it's in mode 7 and everything!

[More silence.]

Okay, well how about section two.

[Click. A newspaper headline "'Is having lots of foreigners dancing about between programmes the reason I fought in World War II?' says war hero", above a montage containing some sepia soldiers, a BBC logo, a union flag with a cross through it, and a swastika with a question mark next to it.]

A lot of people are concerned that the current brand identity doesn't reflect the identity of Britain. Granted, these are the sort of people who are likely to complain loudly to strangers about how they expect the BBC will soon drop the word 'British' and replace it 'Blair's'. Or, of course, 'Brown's'. As long as the next leader of the Labour Party has a name beginning with 'B', they'll make that point. So, with that in mind, we've prepared some proposals for BBC One idents that reflect the identity of our sainted isle and a bit of another isle.


Here's one you'll love... a Chelsea pensioner doing the Ricky Gervais dance in a fish and chip shop.

We came up with that logo as well. We think Red Bee
have hacked our PC, you know.


A mob of Sun readers burning down the house of a suspected nonce. You can use this one before the news, if you like.


Four teenagers furiously texting in a McDonalds. You can use this before youth programmes, and they'll instantly identify with the BBC brand. Instantly.


A man with a shaved head in a pub saying that 'if they don't like British culture, they should go back where they came from'. Pan out to reveal he is sitting in a British 'fun' pub in the Costa del Sol. One of the racist bits from Little Britain is playing on a TV set in the background, and a bunch of patrons in England football shirts are laughing a little bit too much at it.


A bulldog chewing a wasp.


A woman selling CD-R copies of a David Gray's White Ladder album at a car boot sale. She tells a potential customer that she'll throw in The Best Of Texas as well for three pounds. Truly heart warming, it'll put people in a good mood, and judge programmes like The One Show a bit less harshly.


Another scene showing Britons at their best - a man stopping next to a Pay & Display ticket machine, proclaiming "'Ere, love! There's still an hour on this one if you want it!" to a woman parking her car.


A postman cheerily walking up the path of a lovely thatched cottage. He is delivering a region one boxset of a classic BBC series that isn't actually available over here. It's a bit 'ironic' this one, it'd go down a storm with the ABC1s.


You like? So, when do we get our money? Oh, you'll let us know. Great.

[BrokenTV departs, already mentally spending it's large fee.]

2 .:

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