Arterial Road v. Cathedral Close : (Big Brother is – like – so over!)

Speaking of immensely popular television programmes which I’ve somehow managed to evade (which I think I was quite recently) I see that Big Brother is coming to an end.  This will, apparently, leave a large space in Channel 4’s schedules and no doubt they will be on the lookout for something to plug the hole (or, I suppose, more accurately, breach the dam) in their revenue stream.  An idea occurs to me.

Someone who made a very early pitch to a TV company for a reality-based format was John Betjeman. 

Mary Adams, a producer at the BBC, had written to JB –

I don’t know whether you have seen the televsion screen, or whether its problems interest you, but I should very much like you to come up to Alexandra Palace and discuss with us the possibilities of the new medium.”  

JB replied (in July 1937) –

I was interested by television.  But I feel, as I expect everyone you see feels and tells you, that these initial stages are a little boring [and not just the initial stages either – ed.].  The value of television seems to me to be its possibility of outside work … when it can actually drive down the Great Worst Road [presumably the Great North Road – ed.] picking up the noises, and then catch the silence of a cathedral close, it will awaken people to the repulsiveness of their surroundings.”

Just running this up the flagpole to see who salutes, but I’m seeing, in each week’s episode, a half hour’s real time footage of an arterial road, followed by a half hour of a cathedral close.  The winner to be decided by a phone-in vote.  The competition will proceed on a knock-out basis, culminating in a Grand Final, between – say – the North Circular and Salisbury Cathedral Close.  Imagine the tabloid hysteria this might generate!

To be branded – “Arterial Road v. Cathedral Close – you decide!”

I have Endemol on speed-dial, even as I type.


3 thoughts on “Arterial Road v. Cathedral Close : (Big Brother is – like – so over!)

  1. I’d watch it.

    I would also like, on a loop, the same format but set at Kirby Hall, Northants. 15 minutes in the gardens with Rockingham Speedway whining like a tortured hare in the background, followed by 15 minutes of how it sounds when there is no racing. Worth the licence fee I think.

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