We report today – exclusively – on a Sky television show, yet to be screened, admittedly, but highly promising in its audacity: Dogs Might Fly. Apparently the programme aims to prove that the memory and reasoning abilities of a rescue dog could be directed towards mastering the controls of a light aircraft. Who said public service broadcasting was dead?
Pause for laughter – and an even longer pause between The Day Today’s spoof sketch from some two decades ago involving a collie taking the controls of a helicopter, and the reality of a Sky television pilot dog.
This is, of course, hardly the first time life has imitated comedy. At least one of the apparently absurd programme ideas pitched in desperation by Alan Partridge to the controller of BBC Television, in fact, made it to air.
One included a version of “Cooking in Prison”, made televisual flesh in Channel 4’s Gordon Behind Bars three years ago, in which the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay taught prisoners in Brixton basic cooking. We’re still waiting for “Inner-city Sumo”. (“Very cheap to make. Do it in a pub car park.”) But, bizarrely, we did have Flockstars on ITV this past summer, which Alan Partridge surely would have pitched as “Celebrity Sheep Herding”.
We have also become inured to over-the-top bang-bang-bang super-graphics on the 24-hour news shows, also presaged by The Day Today.
All of these satires, of course, emerged from the brilliant mind of Armando Iannucci, also responsible for the surreal headlines The Day Today offered us in its satirical Paxman-style “round-up of the papers”. Still, we have yet to encounter any real-life story that could possibly run under the following headlines (more’s the pity): “Exploded cardinal preaches sermon from fish tank”; “Branson’s clockwork dog crosses Atlantic floor”; “Teenage boy roasts himself in sacrifice to Chris Kelly”; “Nato annulled after delegate swallows treaty”; and “Headmaster suspended for using big-faced child as satellite dish”. Goodnight.
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