Scriptwriter’s Guide to the UK General Election

Hi Tim, you’d better come in. Look, we need to talk about this bloody Westminster drama. Again. What the bloody hell have you been doing? It’s nearly the end of the season, numbers should be growing but the ratings are more alarming than my blood pressure. Look at this review in the Sunday Times: one-dimensional characters, unbelievable plots.

Look, I get that you did what you could with David – we saw the caring, touchy feely bollocks wasn’t working so you changed tack. The thing is, though, all you did was bump up the backstory. Yes, he went to Eton, I get it. So what? And what’s the story arc with Osborne? You’ve had 5 years and all you’ve done is have him change his haircut and lose some weight. Who is he? What does he feel?  What does he care about? I’ve been watching him for years and I don’t have the faintest clue. And those are the Tories you’ve bothered to develop. IDS: is he…what? Comic relief? Antagonist? Voice of reason trapped in the wilderness of public opinion? At least Chris Grayling has the decency to have malevolent eyes.

Point being, these guys can’t hold a candle to Michael Gove – you really dropped him from the regular cast far too soon. I said that at the time, didn’t I, Tim? What’s that, I can’t hear you? Yes I did, that’s right, Tim. You need a villain you can really get into; didn’t you ever see Michael Howard chewing the scenery? He was fabulous.

Look, I know you’re the creative one, and I’m just some suit, but I do own a TV, Tim, and I’ve been in this industry for decades. You should take my advice occasionally.

Talking of, what about these Lib Dems, Tim? Whatshisface with the sad eyes, I thought he had real potential – optimistic young naïf, idealist thrust into government, basically kneecapped by power. He could have been a way in for the audience.  We should have a sense of tragedy, y’know, some really gripping drama. You’ve really dropped the ball on that one. And which bell-end in wardrobe thought that yellow was a good idea? Or was that in the script? Was that you, Tim? I get it, yellow = cowardly; is that really the level we’re working at? Even Avatar was more sophisticated than that. I’ll give you Vince Cable: he’s pretty fun.

And can we please give over on fucking Trident, already. I didn’t give you a platform just so you could air your views on nuclear weapons ad infin-fucking-itum.

Sorry, I’m getting angry. Look Tim, I know you’re doing your best under difficult circumstances, but we couldn’t continue to support the writing room; we needed the warm bodies for Sherlock. Yeah, Cumberbatch said he’s up for it as long as Freeman drops all that diva shit. I was pleased too.

Anyway, we’re getting sidetracked. Labour isn’t working – that line was a doozy.. Christ I miss the old days… First up: Ed. I told you, didn’t I, work him in gently. But no, you just had to bump him straight up to the regular cast, like: here’s another Baratheon brother wants the iron throne. Tell me you’ve seen Game of Thrones. You haven’t? Jesus wept… Anyway, that whole fratricidal maniac plot was solid. Tim, I thought you really had something there even if you obviously ripped it off from GOT. But what have you done with him since? 2 kitchens, can’t eat bacon, where’s the growth? Where’s the heart?

Just a void, an adenoidal void.

Ed Balls. That was just cheap, Tim – Balls-up, Balls in your face, it’s a cock and Ed Balls story. You’re better than that, Tim.  Which reminds me: Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP. You did the same thing, didn’t you? Nicola’s here to shake up the plaice, Nicola: what are you carping on about? Don’t be so koi, Nicola – Nicola, do you need some time to mullet over?  Frankly Tim, I’m amazed you thought puns was the way to right the ship.  She’s not even running for Westminster – Alex Salmond is – so why are you giving her so much camera time?

What do we have left? Oh yes, the new blood. UKIP, the Greens.  We agreed last time that things were getting stale so we needed to inject a bit of oomph. But no – just more underdeveloped, half-baked characters. Maybe in Farage’s case that should be ‘half-cut’.  I tell you what, he’s very watchable, the casting director saved your bacon on that one, because the lines you’ve given him… beggars belief.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… This is surprisingly difficult.

I’m sorry, there’s nothing for it. The decision’s been made – we’re cancelling. To be honest, I’m not sure the network’s even willing to broadcast the end of the season. We can fill the slot with Great British Bake-off re-runs until we can come up with something, maybe with Jeremy Clarkson. Although God only knows how much he’s gonna’ cost.

Look Tim, we’ve had a good run, but you really jumped the shark with that whole Coalition plot. Frankly I’m surprised we lasted this long when the writing on the wall was that clear. Anyway, I thought you should know – the director’s aware and he and a couple of the producers are ringing around the cast. It’s a damn shame; I really thought we could have created some solid entertainment.

Oh, and Tim? You’re fired.

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