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Friday 29 May 2015

How the fire week came about


Stuart Blackburn, much feared Coronation Street producer, crosses to his water cooler after a long day of script reading.  He turns the tap, but instead of pure clean water, a trickle of blood pours out into his paper cup.  He turns ashen, and calls to his secretary.

SB: Serena!  Bolt the doors!  The executives are coming!

But it's too late.  His office doors swing open and he is confronted by four black-clad representatives of ITV Network Centre: Conquest, War, Death, and Ratings.  Stuart cowers behind his desk.

SB: What... what do you want?

WAR:  Three coffees, thank you.  No sugar.  And just an Evian for Conquest: she's on the paleo.

CONQUEST: I've got a christening in August, and I'm a bit hippy for the pictures.

DEATH: We're here to discuss BGT week.

Stuart slowly rises up and sits in his chair.  

SB: Oh.  That's fine.  We've sorted out a big event for that week.  Steve and Michelle's wedding.

The Executives wince.


SB:  And... Liz will realise that her relationship is a sham.  She'll have a huge breakdown.  It'll be very touching.


SB:  And... people will enjoy it.  It's a much loved character finding happiness after a year of depression.  It's heartwarming.


CONQUEST: Yes, calm yourself Ratings.  Stuart, dear, I don't think you've quite grasped the significance of Britain's Got Talent week.  This is Britain's Got Talent: the United Kingdom's finest hunt for talking dogs and Eastern European gymnast acts.  It's a huge hit for us, and we can't have Coronation Street sandwiched inbetween the main show and the results being "heartwarming" and "life-affirming" and "happy".  No-one wants to see that.

WAR: I mean, what will we put in the trailers?  A kiss?  I know I wouldn't tune in to that.

SB:  Oh.

WAR:  Can't you blow something up?  Blowing something up always looks good in the trailers.  People like explosions.  Look at the Transformers films.

DEATH: I do like those films.


SB: We've already written the scripts, though.

WAR: Scripts can be revised.  Writing is easy.  Death's a writer.  He does Midsomer Murders fan fiction online.

DEATH: Barnaby and Nelson are lovers.

SB: It's all been planned.  And the budgets have been allocated.

CONQUEST: Stop coming up with barriers.  Barriers are just there to be vaulted.  I have that on a poster in my office.  You just need to reallocate the money.  You have the wedding on Monday and Tuesday, then we blow things up Wednesday through Friday.

SB: We've only just opened this set, and you want us to blow it up.

WAR: Sets are made to be destroyed, Stuart.  That's why they're made out of plywood.  Blow up an unimportant corner of it.

DEATH: Those flats.  They've never really fit in.  Blow them up.

Stuart begins scribbling notes through his anguished tears.

SB: I suppose we could burn down Victoria Court.  I'm not sure why.  If Steve and Michelle have their wedding in the pub, we could save on location costs.


CONQUEST: You'll have to cut down on guest stars.  Andy and Ryan can go.

SB: They're close family members to the bride and groom.  They have to be there.

CONQUEST:  Rubbish.  Ryan was hopeless when he was in it, so no-one will miss him.  And Andy hasn't been in it for ages.  No-one will remember him.

SB: He's providing the honeymoon.

DEATH: You can cover it with dialogue.  Remember: "Tell, don't show."

CONQUEST: You're so good at this writing stuff.


WAR: A good explosion.  The roof can collapse.  Fireballs on the trailers.  Bits of wall falling into the street.

CONQUEST:  Are you aroused?

WAR: A little.

CONQUEST:  Me too.  But we need more.  Carla.  Carla is ratings gold.  She's trapped and needs help.

Stuart pulls a pained face.

SB: Does it have to be Carla?  Ali King's unhappy.  She says she's an actress, not a crash test dummy.  She's only just forgiven us for dangling her over the edge of a cliff in a minibus.

DEATH: Pfft.  Actresses.  They're just meat puppets.  What's she going to do?  Leave?

CONQUEST: Put the lesbians in there as well.

SB: Sophie and Maddie?  Why?

CONQUEST:  They're massive on Tumblr.  Teenage girls love them.

SB: I'll need more money for casting.

WAR: Why?

SB: We're blowing up a block of flats.  All those extras.

Death shakes his head.

DEATH: You don't need extras.  Let me tell you something, Stuart: no-one tunes in to watch extras.  Extras do not make valuable trailer moments.  We can't say, "do tune in, we'll have forty people standing around in dressing gowns."


DEATH: No, take the money you would have spent on extras and spend it on explosions.  You could probably get an extra three gas jets for that money.

CONQUEST: In fact, cut out the cast members you need as well.

SB: Nick lives in Victoria Court.  With Bethany and Sarah-Lou.  Obviously they'll have to be there.

CONQUEST: No.  Send him to Birmingham.  And have the girls stay with their nan.  Problem solved.  We should be concentrating on Carla, not getting distracted with side characters.

SB: The Tilsleys have been in the programme for forty years.  They're hardly side characters.

WAR: Forty years?  Really?  Has the programme been going that long?  Blimey.

DEATH: Don't ask me, I used to work at the Post Office.

CONQUEST: I think my nan used to watch it.  I didn't really watch tv growing up.


WAR: So that's settled then?  Get this stupid character filled wedding out the way, blow some stuff up, and put Carla Connor in peril.  Ratings gold.  Absolutely no-one will turn over to Panorama on BBC One while that's happening.

The Executives get up to leave.

DEATH: Oh, and one more thing.  Kill someone.

SB: No problem.  Jimi Mistry's just handed in his notice.


WAR: Him off Strictly.

CONQUEST: Oh, I love Strictly.


Stuart Blackburn sobs.

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Llifon said...

Brilliant! Brightened up my morning!

Emma Hynes said...

Love it!!!

Glenda Young said...

Brilliant stuff, I love it.

Tvor said...

WAR: A good explosion. The roof can collapse. Fireballs on the trailers. Bits of wall falling into the street.

CONQUEST: Are you aroused?

WAR: A little.


jonnygforce said...

This is so good!!

Nikki NZ said...


Anonymous said...

Better writing than the show!

Wim said...

This is - unfortunately - what this week has felt like so far for me as a viewer.

Can you imagine what Jimi Mistry must have thought when he got the script for his final episode and read that he'd basically have to keep standing on a balcony for ages, basically just killing time waiting for it - and him - to explode?

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious!!

Stephen said...

Excellent stuff. I like this sort of thing. Also, it's probably just what happened.

abbyk said...


Anonymous said...

Do the four executives have horses, by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Finally someone who feels Stuart Blackburn's pain! I love Death's aspirations to being a writer - DEATH: "Remember: 'Tell, don't show.'" CONQUEST: "You're so good at this writing stuff." And DEATH's line: "Actresses. They're just meat puppets. What's [Ali King] going to do? Leave?" is instant meta-classic. Thanks Scott!!

Anonymous said...

Stuart Blackburn sobs.


Anonymous said...

Fabulous - you should be writing for the show!

Anonymous said...

So funny!!! More fun than actually watching the show..

Anonymous said...

As per Ratings... MORE !!

So clever :)


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