September 27, 2007

BBC goes OTT

BBC Executives were this week left licking their paws, so to speak, after protests surrounding the Blue Peter ‘Cookiegate’ debacle erupted into full-blown violence.
As tensions subside, sketchy details of the weekend’s events have begun to emerge. These paint an alarming picture of the circumstances which ultimately led to the untimely death, some say execution, of ‘Socks’ the cat.
Protestors were angry that the winning entry of a viewers’ contest to name the cat was changed from ‘Cookie’ to ‘Socks’ as Cookie could be misinterpreted as a slang name for female genitalia. Wry commentators immediately pointed out that socks were often made for cocks but allusions to cookies and fannies were harder to find in mainstream discourse.
Whatever. Initial police reports suggest Sunday’s protest at Television Centre was orchestrated by an extreme fringe group of Daily Mail readers although insiders claim orders ‘came from the top’.
Witness testimonies also suggest that normally liberal-minded Radio 4 Stalwarts Eddie Mair and John Humphries led protestors. Neither police or BBC officials have confirmed this but it is well-known that both journalists were indignant at repeatedly having to ‘plug’ Blue Peter on their respective PM and Today current affairs programmes whilst Blue Peter had offered it’s viewers no such plug for Radio 4.
Sunday morning was quiet as usual at the BBC save for the presence of a small band of semi-retired ‘middle-class types’ who had travelled from Tunbridge Wells to voice their discontent at the obviously Communist conspiracy behind the naming scandal.
It is unclear how this routine Sunday morning descended into an afternoon of mob violence but many present told your correspondent that Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James Mey were spotted with an air rifle laughing and taking pot-shots at the mob from a fifth-floor window around four o’clock. Anger soon spread and events escalated.
One anonymous participant told TheUrbanMonk:
‘It was all very civilised at first – proper spirit-of-the-blitz stuff. My wife had made egg sandwiches and someone else had a radio so we didn’t miss Test Match Special. There had been some raised voices and general discontent at the TV licence throughout the day but nothing else.
‘That all changed though. The second we saw that bastard Clarkson leaning out the canteen window with an air rifle all hell broke loose.
‘Eddie and John led the charge. We bowled right past security and made straight for the Blue Peter garden.
‘All those bloody homosexual presenters were there looking all smug and BBC-like. We were nice at first but then it all boiled over. One of ‘em was trying to hide the cat. He seemed to think he could take us on but he had another thing coming. I mean, after 10 years of Labour government one shirt-lifter and a pussycat’s no match for us is it?’

Exactly what happened next remains unclear but what is known is that ‘Socks’ was found floating, dead, in a tightly tied black bin bag.
Another participant, also anonymous, told TheUrbanMonk: ‘After we’d got rid of the cat it all quietened down a bit. We were just trying to make a point to the liberals, you know?
‘To be honest, I think people knew it had got out of hand and just wanted to get home in time for the Antiques Roadshow.’
Life may have returned to mind-numbing suburban normality for the protestors but, for producers and management at the BBC, tough questions remain unanswered.

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