Sparkling sitcom from Auntie's geriatric bickering

`Wasn't it Yentob who said that Noel Edmonds was the crowning achievement of BBC TV?'

AGE CONCERN said the other day that there are far too few older people to be seen on television. After all, they said, older people form a huge slice of the BBC audience, but all they ever see on telly is people in the 25-40 age bracket, usually behaving badly, or people who haven't even grown up yet, by which they presumably mean Chris Evans. Why can't we see more old people on TV?

Well, cheer up, Age Concern! I am currently writing a rip-roaring new TV comedy series which contains nothing but elderly characters, all of whom squabble and fight all day long. It's called BBC Board of Governors and here is an extract to give you some idea of how Age TV can work at its best...

The scene is a palatial boardroom. The chairman of the BBC Board of Governors is just completing the roll call.

Chairman: Lord Thingy.

Lord Thingy: Here.

Chairman: Token black woman.

Token Black Woman: Here.

Chairman: Government spy.

Spy: Hello, there.

Chairman: And finally, arts person. Arts Person: Hi!

Governor 1: Arts person? I didn't know Melvyn Bragg was a BBC governor!

Chairman: He's not. There are other arts persons beside Melvyn Bragg, you know.

Governor 1: Are there, by Jove? I didn't know that. By the way, did anyone see that documentary the other night on BBC?

Governor 2: What was it about?

Governor 1: Well, I'll tell you what it wasn't about. It wasn't about the Second World War!

Governor 2: Ah! So it must have been about sex.

Governor 1: No, it wasn't! It was about not having sex!

Governor 2: Good Lord. I'd like to have seen that! As I get older I get more interested in not having sex. What was it all about?

Governor 1: It was about this Christian couple who refused to have sex before their marriage.

Governor 2: Damned good idea, too. I had sex before my marriage. Always regretted it.

Governor 1: Why?

Governor 2: Because it made us two hours late for the ceremony!

Chairman: Look, we have a long agenda to get through, so could we move to item No 1, please? This is the loss of Noel Edmonds...

Token Black Woman: Is he dead?

Chairman: No.

Token Black Woman: Shame.

Governor 2: I'll second that. All in favour?

Chorus: Aye!

Governor 2: Then I vote we take out a contract on Noel Edmonds. Where's PD James? She knows how things like this are done. That's why we got her on as a governor...

Governor 3: Yes, but we originally got her on the board to eliminate John Birt. She never managed it. If she can't rub out Birt, what luck will she have with Noel Edmonds?

Chairman: Hold on! We don't need to! That's what I'm trying to say! He's gone! Edmonds has left the BBC!

Governor 1: Has he taken Yentob with him?

Chairman: No, don't think so. Why should he?

Governor 1: Wasn't it Yentob who said that Edmonds was the crowning achievement of BBC TV or something like that?

Chairman: He may have done. It is the job of BBC chiefs to say how much they like their much-hated star performers. Other channels are then tempted to poach them. That's how we get rid of them.

Governor 1: Oh, I see.

Lady Governor: Incidentally, how is that new chap, Greg van Dyke, getting on? I liked the look of him a lot when he came to talk to us. But I thought he was going to come back and tell us how it was all working out...

Chairman: He hasn't started yet. He can't start till Birt goes, and Birt won't go. Nobody knows how to get him out.

Governor 1: Well, why not tell Yentob to tell everyone how great Birt is. If that got rid of Edmonds, it might get rid of Birt.

Very Old Governor: [Waking up.] Just a moment. Who am I? What am I doing here?

Chairman: We are discussing John Birt.

VOG: John Birt? Isn't that the chap we voted in as Director General?

Chairman: Yes.

VOG: And he decided to make savings by locating all the people who were very good at making programmes?

Chairman: Yes.

VOG: And firing them?

Chairman: Something like that.

VOG: What a very unpleasant dream. I hope I wake up soon. [Goes back to sleep.]

More of this some other time, perhaps.

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