I’m writing a screenplay. It’s called the Media Mire, a glossy mini-
series, BBC2 territory. It’s going to be a media man’s version of that
80s classic of method acting, Campaign (see Diary, 26 April).
The thing about the old BBC series, currently luxuriating in re-run on
UK Gold, is that media people don’t exist. Too grubby back in the mid-
80s, I suppose. But with media driving the advertising engine now, it’s
high time its figureheads had their own 15 seconds.
Now, the script is pretty straightforward and duly stereotypical. Lots
of sex, preferably adulterous - a great opportunity for all those actors
usually relegated to playing sad, middle-aged men to finally get their
kit off and wiggle about a bit with younger actresses.
Alcohol will feature heavily, as will expensive designer suits wrapped
around paunches. There’ll be plenty of exotic locations: Florida, Rome,
Monte Carlo, to reflect the demanding number of free jollies - cue more
bars, yachts, bedrooms and beaches.
Then there’ll be the high drama of media sales, which will draw on the
actors’ full repertoire of (double) facial expressions and will mean we
can introduce some slapstick too - a few phones thrown at walls, lots of
swearing, then a bevvy of beer-swilling down the pub.
Casting will be great fun. Lionel Blair is favourite to play the
managing director of Carlton UK Sales; Joanna Lumley could do Zenith’s
chief executive; Pierce Brosnan will be the media-literate managing
director of Leo Burnett; Colin (Mr Darcy) Firth would head TMD Carat;
and Corrie’s Percy Sugden would be front-runner for the chief executive
of the Media Centre. I’d need a bit of a know-all as a consultant on the
minutiae of the business, so I’d probably try to rope in John Billett as
The only problem is trying to convince the Beeb that my script is not
pure fantasy. It’s definitely put them off the whole idea of jacking in
the licence fee in favour of advertising. Oh, and I’ve also been advised
that I’m heading for a few libel writs. I tried to protect the innocent
- but I couldn’t find one.