Robert Chalmers doesn't like... reality television

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The Independent Online

My working title is Speedophile, and the format – not the most tasteful TV proposal I've ever submitted, but unquestionably the most bankable – goes like this. First, we buy a small, heavily forested island. The terrain resembles I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! except that it's way larger, and in a region where attitudes to multiple homicide are a little less rigid than in Australia or the UK. (I'm thinking Papua New Guinea.) Then, rather than purge the woods of deadly snakes and insects, like they do for Ant and Dec, we introduce more. After that, it's back to the British magistrates' courts to start recruiting.

The first team – we'll need 30 people for each show, which won't be a problem because there's an unlimited supply – will be selected from those guys who wait outside the court, screaming and foaming at the mouth, until a sexual abuser is ushered into a police van.

We want the ones who are swiftest to the vehicle, and hammer most vigorously at the windows as constables restrain them with a gentleness rarely extended to people protesting on other issues: the NHS, rapacious bankers, student loans etc. We hire the fastest and angriest ones: £5000 should please anyone for a few days' work, and these lads would do it for nothing.

Recruiting the sex fiends may, I admit, require some finessing of UK law, as they have to be serving very long sentences, but given the prize at stake and their experience in prison: the tedium of decades behind bars, relieved only by hospitalisation after merciless beatings and the occasional suicide attempt, getting a dozen to volunteer for each annual show would be the least of our worries.

We fly the vigilantes and the sex beasts to the island, where we film them cooking a meal in separate self-catering complexes. (If the facilities aren't there we can afford to build them: Speedophile has global appeal. God knows what the viewing figures will be in Texas.)

The following morning we lock the two groups in separate cages at the edge of the forest. The abuser who came last in the cookery contest we filmed the night before is wearing wellingtons and a high visibility jacket. All the others are naked except for a loincloth. Each has a number between one and 12 painted on his back. The vigilantes are similarly dressed, but each has a spear, and running shoes.

The sexual deviants – because we are not animals – are given a 20-minute start. We film them from our helicopters. Imagine our amusement as they scrabble valiantly but in vain, seeking cover, before they are killed – the luckier ones quite quickly – by the reasonably sharp spears despatched with joyful cries by the righteous horde. When the airborne cameras identify the last monster standing, he's winched out and given a new identity, £50,000 and a ticket to Thailand. Everybody wins on this one.

I've had little luck with TV proposals. My other recent idea, an "adult" revival of Ainsley Harriot's Can't Cook, Won't Cook, entitled Can't F***, Won't F*** was rejected with derision. When I pitched Speedophile, one editor said it was "sickening", "degenerate" and "twisted". My argument is that the show neatly amalgamates every element of reality TV: sexual prurience, cooking, joy at the suffering of others – I think the Germans, for some reason, have a word for that – and high-speed pursuit, always more entertaining if it culminates in a fatality.

My problem with reality TV is not that it's shallow, depraved or condescending: I've watched way too much to be stuck in that dreary old mindset. It's more that it's not demeaning and squalid enough. This is the way it goes in my house. After a day spent bitterly complaining about the lack of intelligent programming at the BBC, I sit down and watch five minutes of a documentary on Andrew Motion, the ethics of genetic engineering, or the potential impact of the euro on the agrarian economy of Lithuania, then turn over to Fat Families and crack open a case of Chimay Blue.

Fat Families, Passport Patrol and Come Dine With Me are my favourites, but I enjoy anything involving obese pets, refugees getting humiliated at UK airports, euthanasia, teenagers from Norfolk having unprotected sex in a shared bedroom, deformed people, pest control, drunk drivers and fatal crashes (land, sea or air; I'm not picky.) Even if all I can see on the satellite box listing is: The World's Biggest ... that's enough for me; I'm there.

Unlike the overlords of British TV, I see Speedophile less as a morally repugnant caricature, more as a worldwide smash waiting to happen. You might not approve, but you know that you'd watch it. We can all make money on this one. Who's with me?

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