[Note: this post originally published on another blog we used to do. We don’t think we crossposted it to here at the time. What with AV sadly getting a kicking in the polls today, this is a nice enough time to shove out a repeat, as it were.
BrokenTV: Now the UKGold at 2am on a weeknight of blogs.]
Each General Election night, terrestrial viewers are treated to the sight of two brothers, raging a seemingly eternal battle across the waters of political discourse like a besuited Fionn mac Cumhail and Benandonner. Each time the voting stations close, families all over Britain sit around their television sets in eager anticipation as to which brother will win this Election’s results show ratings skirmish. Will it finally be Jonathan’s year? Will his helming of ITN’s “looking over the shoulder of the people counting votes to bring you the results first”-led coverage bring in a decent slice of the viewing figure pie this time? Or will big brother David shove him out of the way in order to scoff up all the BARB-compiled goodies himself, as per usual?
It’s a tale as old as the ages, or more accurately, 1997. However, one thing you might not know about Richard and Jonathan is that they are but two of ten siblings to spring from the loins of the late Richard Dimbleby, and that each pairing also work in similar fields.
Alton and Shelton Dimbleby are both bakers. Alton runs the most successful bakery in all of Ludlow. Shelton is forever trying to lure customers away from Alton, by way of a heavily-postered marketing idea of “making loaves of bread more quickly than anyone else in Ludlow”. This involves having his luckless assistant Horace actually knead the dough whilst actually inside a huge oven, whilst wearing an asbestos bakers uniform. It has yet to catch on in a big way, sadly. The bread being delivered while still smoking hot, whilst having a crust flecked with bits of asbestos and burnt skin is considered something of a downside to the whole end product for the customers.
Clancy and Bruno Dimbleby are lifeguards at Clacton-on-Sea beach. Clancy is one of the most celebrated lifeguards in all of Essex, having an uncanny ability to spot someone in trouble from hundreds of yards away. It is this, coupled with his astonishing ability to swim quickly in even the choppiest of waters that led to him being named Clacton-on-Sea Lifeguard Of The Year on three non-consecutive occasions. Ever keen to compete, Bruno is not put out by this. Since 2007, he has pledged an oath to rescue people at an earlier stage of drowning than anyone else. Unfortunately, this has yet to prove much of a success, with the younger of the two aquatic Dlimblebi (that’s the plural, look it up) routinely pouncing on unsuspecting bathers and dragging them back to shore should they so much as cough politely whilst up to their ankles in the foam.
Gladys and Ethel Dimbleby are emergency telephone number operators. Gladys is a much celebrated employee at the 999 call centre, thanks to her uncanny ability to understand the most garbled of surnames and addresses from panicked callers. Sadly, Ethel is currently on her second written warning from HR, due to her idea of simply phoning people up at home to check if their house is on fire or not. She remains adamant that this approach is sure to pay dividends eventually.
Lastly, we come to Generals “Spanky” Spiffington and “Dimples” Dewhurst Dimbleby. As their full titles would suggest, this last pairing each occupy important positions in the MoD. Throughout the British Armed Services, “Spanky” is renowned for his cool head under difficult circumstances, having once managing to coax the entire Argentine Navy into postponing a fresh invasion of the Falkland Islands indefinitely over tea and scones. Conversely, “Dimples” prefers a more pro-active approach, loudly proclaiming quite loudly after one too many sherries at the Reform Club how he’ll happily wade into conflict with any nation speaking with an accent he doesn’t like.
Sadly, it was not “Spanky”, but rather “Dimples” that then Prime Minister Tony Blair contacted in late 2002, with a view to gathering evidence on (“Right, that’s it sonny. Get in the van, you’re coming with us” – The Outdated Satire Police.)