Twenty Twelve, where TV scripts spookily come true

Week after week, the BBC Olympics comedy, which returns on Friday, came up with plots ahead of real life

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The Independent Online

Stranger than fiction: the 2012 coincidences

Countdown clock chaos:

Twenty Twelve

14 March 2011: The series' opening episode features problems with the 1,000-day countdown clock. Time seems to be running the wrong way, leaving red-faced public relations people to try to explain the concept.

Real-life incident

15 March 2011: The morning after Twenty Twelve is aired, the real-life clock in Trafalgar Square breaks. Red-faced PRs try to explain the problem.

Archaeology gets in the way:

Twenty Twelve

Roman remains are found under the diving pool and a new design has to be scrambled. The episode was written before writer John Morton was aware of archaeological problems with the real stadium.

Real-life incident

Remains of an Iron Age settlement were found in the aquatic centre site in 2007.

Design flaws for athletes:

Twenty Twelve

Organisers realise that swimmers would have to tramp through the café in their Speedos to get back to the changing rooms.

Real-life incident

February 2012: it emerges the layout of the Velodrome means athletes have to walk miles to find a toilet, with only one official ladies' loo for competitors.

Protesters get cranky about horses in Greenwich Park:

Twenty Twelve

A Greenwich anti-equestrian campaigner dumps a pile of horse manure outside the 2012 offices in protest at the equestrian events being held at the "unsuitable" location.

Real-life incident

A campaign against equestrian events being held at Greenwich Park has been raging for some time.

Terrible retro logo:

Twenty Twelve

A daylgo zig zag that would have looked out of date in the Eighties.

Real-life incident

A dayglo zig zag spelling "2012" and looking remarkably like a swastika was unveiled in 2007.

Traffic panics:

Twenty Twelve

The nerdy head of infrastructure Graham Hitchins (played by Karl Theobald) tests a new traffic light phasing system causing a city-wide jam.

Real-life incident

August 2011: the hysteria following predictions of traffic chaos means organisers consider traffic light phasing.

Boring Olympic ambassadors:

Twenty Twelve

Former athlete Dave Wellbeck (played by Darren Boyd) is unveiled as an ambassador to promote the Olympics. There's just one problem: he's the most boring human being alive.

Real-life incident

Games promoters such as Chris Hoy are admirable but they could make a cauliflower look charismatic.

PR gobbledegook:

Twenty Twelve

Head of Brand Siobhan Sharpe (played by Jessica Hynes) spouts a torrent of PR speak: "Here's where we ramp up the public interest and take it to the next level ... go viral and launch 2012 2.0."

Real-life incident

An army of PRs has issued a stream of superlative-ridden press releases, the latest of which described the new GB kit as "inspirational".

A sustainable legacy or a legacy of sustainability?

Twenty Twelve

Nobody knows the difference between "sustainability" and "legacy", infuriating the over-sensitive head of sustainability Kay Hope, played by Amelia Bullmore.

Real-life incident

Does anyone really know the difference?

The search for a culturally diverse Olympiad:

Twenty Twelve

The team fires a woman and then an ethnic minority candidate in an attempt to choose the most politically correct representative for the cultural Olympiad.

Real-life incident

Danny Boyle, Damon Albarn and Elbow are the main attractions – so far, so white and male.

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