Some time ago, I had an idea for a TV programme. I wrote about it here, but no-one really took any notice. Commissioning editors didn’t beat a frantic path to my door, not even those from Granada Men & Motors and Living TV. So today, I changed tack. If they’re not coming to me, then I’ll take it to them. Channel 5, home of quality scheduling, seemed a good place to start. I wrote to Ben Frow, the Controller of Features and Entertainment, partly because he seemed an appropriate contact, but mainly because he looks like a rather distinguished character actor begrudgingly forced into playing embarrassing yet lucrative roles on Star Trek.
I have an idea for a TV programme. It’ll make you millions.
It’s called Celebrity Sperm Bank.
What happens is this: you get ten celebrity males – I’m thinking Keith Chegwin, John Leslie, John Fashanu, Richard Bacon, that kind of thing. The men compete in a series of contents, both athletic and academic, to decide who is the most suitable father. Meanwhile, ten women from various British council estates take part in a parallel contest to decide who would make the best recipient of said celebrity sperm, wherever it may come from. At no stage are any of the participants aware of how the other contest is proceeding. At the end of the selection process, the winning woman is inseminated, and cameras closely document her pregnancy over the following nine months. Upon giving birth, the new mother is given five minutes to decide which of the celebrities is the father, based purely on the look of the newborn child. Guess correctly, and the father is forced to pay a handsome amount of child support until the boy or girl reaches the age of eighteen. Choose incorrectly, and the child is taken away from the mother and placed into the permanent care of Social Services. These final, dramatic scenes are played out live, prime-time, Saturday night – Davina McCall cries, and some guy from Big Brother performs his new single, a UK Garage version ‘This Corrosion’ by The Sisters Of Mercy. Programme ends.
Please let me know what you think – I’m looking forward to your response.
Much to my surprise, he responded almost immediately.
Thanks for this but I’m afraid I’m fully commissioned at the moment and am not looking for anything new right now. I also am not interested in celebrity based shows. Sorry to be blunt, but I don’t want to waste your time.
What a nice man! He apologised for not wanting to waste my time, even though I had quite obviously just wasted his by submitting my frankly ludicrous pitch. And hooray for Channel 5. I wish them every success, and hope that the current series of ‘World’s Wildest Police Videos’ not only sees the channel triumph in the ratings war, but prompts all manner of journalistic accolades.