Of all the Queen's offspring, we had high hopes for you, Your Edwardness. Cleverer than Andrew, prettier than Anne and not sharing the same taste in women as Charles, the country expected great things. And then what do we read? You are setting up as an independent television producer, joining the massed ranks of men and wo-men with Something In Development at Channel 4.
I hear that you have already put a substantial sum into your new com-pany, to cover the overheads and set-up costs: a couple of thousand square feet of office space in Soho near the Groucho - oh, and a watercooler.
It's at this stage that most indepen- dent companies fold. It's important to have a vague idea of the sort of programmes you want to produce. Let's start with the upside. Be honest, you're not short of contacts, are you?
How about this? Just off the top of my head. How about a keep-fit pro- gramme which combines glamour, royalty and a touch of the Jeremy Beadles? Like it so far? What happens is you ring up your sister-in-law and ask her to come along to a gym for a work-out. Great idea, isn't it? Well worth giving Marcus Plantin a bell at the ITV Network Centre. He's a good bloke, has a real feel for popular television and wants a knighthood.
So that's your first commission. Now you've got to start expanding. A gardening show hosted by Charles in which each week His Royal Highness chats to some of his favourite shrubs. A winner. I'd pitch this to Michael Jackson at BBC2. He's new, ambitious and wants a knighthood.
BBC1 is an essential outlet for the independent producer with an eye to the future. Alan Yentob is the new broom there. He has a dilemma in as much as he is in charge of the popular BBC channel, but prefers Rimbaud to Rambo, and in future he wants only good programmes on BBC1. The man is quite obviously a revolutionary.
So may I suggest you serve as your main course to BBC1 a Christmas special: The Queen's Speech as an independent production (and here's the bait) presented not by your Mother - let's face it, she's gone the same way as Brucie, she needs a new format - but by Angus Deayton. Yentob won't keep you hanging around for a decision, and he wants a knighthood.
Then you must break into Channel 4. It needs juicy audiences. How about an improvisational late-night show in which members of the Royal Family and the Cabinet argue about whether the Queen should abdicate, or Charles become king in the light of his marital problems? And we'll call it Whose Throne Is It Anyway? If I were you, I'd pitch this to Michael Grade personally. He understands good entertainment better than anybody, and he wants to be king.
If all else fails, why not try comedy? I have an idea that might be of interest. It's a sitcom set in the royal kennels. The working title is Drop the Dead Corgi. I'll leave that with you, Eddie. Kick it around.
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