INT. A SHINY HOME SHOPPING TV STUDIO. MEDIOCRITY'S PAUL ROSS IS WRAPPING UP AN ITEM WHERE HE SELLS A MYSTERIOUS CHROME SPHERE CONTAINING JUST ONE BUTTON
Paul Ross: ...and so, the same button we used to switch on the device can also be used to switch off the device?
Resident 'Expert': Yes. The Gizmotron 7000 is a vast improvement on the earlier 6800 model, which required the use of separate 'activate' and 'deactivate' buttons.
Paul Ross: Wow, so it's literally a 50% reduction in the number of buttons?
Resident 'Expert': Mmm.
Paul Ross: Remarkable what they can do nowadays. The Gizmotron 7000, there. Now yours for the special one day only TST price of £899.98.
MEDIOCRITY'S PAUL ROSS AND THE RESIDENT 'EXPERT' STROLL OVER TO A DESK, UPON WHICH IS PLACED SEVERAL COPIES OF THE BOOK "OFF THE TELLY: THE BEST BITS OF THE BRITISH TV WEBSITE 1999-2009", EDITED BY GRAHAM KIBBLE-WHITE AND MARK JONES.
Paul Ross: Now, onto our next item, and it's something a little unusual. It's a website... that isn't on the internet? How can this be!
Resident 'Expert': Ha ha! Your eyes don't deceive you Paul, it really is an website, but you don't need a computer, internet connection, or even any electricity to read it!
Paul Ross: Wow. I am literally speechless.
Resident 'Expert': Well, not literally.
Paul Ross: So, how does it work?
Resident 'Expert': Go ahead, try it out!
Paul Ross, flipping through the pages and grinning with phoned-in astonishment: It's so easy to read!
Resident 'Expert': That'll be the special iNstaView Technology used for each page - there's no need to wait for each page to load, it's all pre-loaded onto the pages at the factory beforehand.
Paul Ross: All the pages are numbered, so I know how much of it I've read!
Resident 'Expert': Yes, the innovative page numbering system allows you to measure how far you've read. This book goes up to '678', which means that it contains 678 pages.
Paul Ross: The name of the book is on the cover, so I know what it's called!
Resident 'Expert': Well spotted, Paul. I'm not sure about you, but I'm forever buying books with completely blank covers, so that when I need to find a specific title in my library, I have to read all of them until I happen across the correct one. With "Off The Telly: The Best Bits Of The British TV Website 1999-2009", the name is right there on the cover, so you know exactly what it is!
Paul Ross: That's ingenious! So, what's the book actually about?
Resident 'Expert': Well Paul, between 1999 and 2009, OffTheTelly.co.uk was a place where the enthusiastically well-viewed could go to read, or even contribute to, an ever growing number of intelligently written and painstakingly researched articles, reviews, interviews and features relating to all matters televisual, past and present. From programmes universally regarded as TV classics, to little-known gems unlikely ever to find their way into a Blu-ray boxset, to offerings that even the creators might prefer everyone had long forgotten about, if it had flickered to life in the living rooms of Britain over the last fifty years, it was likely to be examined by OTT’s hardy team of contributors. This book picks dozens of the finest articles to grace the site, bringing them all together in one volume to keep forever.
Paul Ross: You just read most of that from the back cover, didn't you?
Resident 'Expert': I did, yes. But really, it's a brilliant read. Compiled, edited and designed by Graham Kibble-White and some chancer called “Mark Jones”, there are dozens upon dozens are articles contained in the book. Inside, you’ll find articles on the following programmes... Ace of Wands, Around the World in 80 Days, Belle and Sebastian, Castaway 2000, Clarence, Cool It, Curb Your Enthusiasm, DEF II, Election Night 2005, Fairly Secret Army, Girls on Top, Hardwicke House, Have I Got News For You, Hi-De-Hi!, Hippies, I, Claudius, Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, Lee & Herring, Live & Kicking, Look and Read, Nationwide, Never The Twain, Nightingales, Out of the Trees, Play School, Rentaghost, Sapphire and Steel, Scotch & Wry, Seven Up, The Bill, the CBBC Broom Cupboard, The Comic Strip Presents, The Flashing Blade, The Golden Shot, the House of Cards trilogy, The Mad Death, The Show, The Singing Detective, The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, Timeslip, Top of the Pops, Treasure Hunt, Triangle, Wanted, Whose Line is it Anyway? and Zokko!.
Paul Ross: That’s astonishing!
Resident 'Expert': It doesn’t end there, Paul. There are even complete chapters taking in several articles on The Simpsons and Doctor Who, as well as a dedicated section looking at the work of Alan Bleasdale. Throw in even more features taking in entire genres, trends, channels and various TV-related spinoffs, and you have yourself one fearsome telly-related package.
Paul Ross: Is there even an especially written foreword by a special celebrity guest?
Resident 'Expert': Erm, the guy from that BrokenTV blog did that.
Paul Ross: Ah, well. There is a recession on, after all.
Resident 'Expert': But once you’ve skipped past the foreword that’ll probably just bang on about the BBC hyphen or something, it’s quality all the way, with articles written by Ian Jones, Jack Kibble-White, Graham Kibble-White, Chris Diamond, Steve Williams, TJ Worthington, Andrew Collins, Chris Orton, Matthew Rudd and David Sheldrick.
Paul Ross: Spiffo! Now, how much would you expect to pay for a comprehensive, and indeed, innovative product like this? Given the staggering amount of content contained within, why, you must be looking at upwards of a score, yeah?
Resident 'Expert': Well Paul, the physical paperback copy of this book can be yours for just £16.99, from Lulu.com.
Paul Ross: What a bargain! I’d gladly pay double that! Is the book also available in ebook format, for people who prefer books you have to recharge?
Resident 'Expert': Indeed so, Paul. The eBook version of the, er, book is also available in Adobe PDF format, at a bargain price of just £3.99, also from Lulu.com.
Paul Ross: And I suppose all the money goes straight to that BrokenTV guy, who’ll spend it all on gin and Pot Noodles or something?
Resident 'Expert': Surprisingly not, Paul. Instead, any profits generated from sales of the book are to be donated to UK Alzheimer’s charities.
Paul Ross: Superb stuff.
Paul Ross: So, our viewers had better start raiding those piggybanks right away then?
Resident 'Expert': Absolutely, Paul. Though to celebrate the launch of the book, BrokenTV are giving away a FREE COPY OF THE BOOK, which (due to technical issues) contains some content not available in the official version of the book!
Paul Ross: Hell’s bells, can today GET any better? What do they have to do to win a copy of this book, worth £16.99?
Resident 'Expert': Simply answer the following question:
Everyone loves television-related books, but can you match the three book titles below, to the television personalities responsible for them?
1) The Custard Stops at Hatfield
2) Crying With Laughter
3) As It Happens
a) Bob Monkhouse
b) Jimmy Saville
c) Kenny Everett
Simply jot your answers (1b, 2c, 3a or whatever) onto the back of a stamped, addressed email, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 3rd June 2011.
Sorry, UK residents only, as we’re literally not made of stamps. One winner will be chosen at random, and notified as soon as they’re chosen.
If you don’t win, don’t despair, you can still be like all the cool kids in school, and buy your own copy of the book direct from Lulu.com as a PDF ebook (£3.99), or as an excellently huge 6” x 9” paperback with shiny cover (£16.99).
Paul Ross: So, don’t delay, get your copy of Off The Telly, The Best Bits of the British TV Website 1999-2009 today!
Both: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Resident 'Expert': Wait, why are we laughing at that?