Random Play by Graham Reid

Alt.Nation: Go ahead, make my charter

Thanks to readers who, in the spirit of engagement with the television-making process, have come up with some ideas for programmes to get us through the months without Orange Roughies.

My one first, then we’ll hear from our panel of experts. This timely one perhaps that I thought up in cocktail hour?

Miss Deeds Goes to Washington: A docu-drama farce in which a vain, grey-haired, self-aggrandising and condescending matron from a seaside suburb in New Zealand -- parallels here with Dame Edna -- goes to Washington in the mistaken belief she has been invited on a diplomatic mission of international importance. In a spin on Peter Sellers’ character in Being There, little is said between Miss Deeds and the American president’s advisor Condo Minium -- and nothing of any consequence is discussed. Miss Deeds returns home under the impression that life has improved for those in her quiet neighbourhood.

Or this from Brian, possibly called Your Number’s Up.
“A game show where contestants are fined huge amounts for every five numbers they are off the correct answer. Contestants drive through various residential and rural scenes. There are signs advising the maximum speed allowable but the number is blacked out -- replicating the situation when a driver momentarily stops concentrating on the signs to look for small children or stock or other hazards -- and misses seeing the number. Contestants have to estimate what the number said. Points are deducted for each number the contestant is out by. An example would be the sign that says 70kph along the front of houses in Chapel Rd, and the one that says 50kph driving past corn fields by Te Teko.”

Brett offers this gem:
“Charlottes Web: a reality-based format whereby the lucky selectees will be allowed to work alongside Charlotte Dawson to create her very own website. This will go live and allow the lucky interactive viewer to share in Charlotte’s holiday junkets around the globe, bathe in the warm glow of her natural celebrity, share recipes, take note of hair grooming tips, and enjoy amusing anecdotes provided by Charlotte herself. The inter-activators can also post questions to Charlotte via her web which she may -- or may not -- respond to the following week.”

Sarah still sees thrilling possibilities in reality television. Let‘s call it Wimps and Winners.
“A new reality show hosted by John Tamihere where contestants are made up of failed Olympians and beneficiaries. The Olympians (who qualify for the show by having come fourth or lower in their field) get to chase the beneficiaries through some native bush, with the title music from Deliverance playing, and catch or maim them. If the Olympian wins they score more funding for their training. If the beneficiary succeeds they get an afternoon shopping spree at the Pak and Save of their choice. If they get caught they also have to sit opposite John Tamihere on his talkback show, or watch him eat a Wendy's meal in West Auckland (pretending to be one of the people).”

And my particular favourite from David, which I think has real possibilities:
“Special Forces Eye for the Soft Guy: A crack team of Special Air Service personnel, who -- having already appeared in every documentary made about what must be the least-secret special forces unit ever -- are now virtually unemployable. So they must take a team of armchair experts and instruct them in the ways of looking like hard men for the camera. Five overweight, loud-mouthed, beer-swilling know-it-alls are plucked from the cosy surroundings of their local pub and taken through a crash-course in what is required to survive on a film set.”

With ideas like these from real-life readers it seems like the summer season of charter-friendly television is going to be chocker. The beaches will be crowded too.