Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: the world’s worst sitcom

Spectator competition winners: the world’s worst sitcom
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The latest call was for stonkingly bad ideas for children’s books, an Olympic sport, a television sitcom or a reality TV series.

Reading your entries brought back fond if painful memories of Alan Partridge’s Inner-City Sumo — ‘We take fat people from inner cities, put them in big nappies...’ — and monkey tennis. V. Ernest Cox’s proposed children’s book, A Pop-Up Book of Sexting, vied with John Samson’s Dignitas showjumping (don’t ask) for the bad-taste award, while Douglas G. Brown’s Poop Scoopin’ Fetishists scooped the gong for grossness.

Top marks to Tracy Davidson’s pitch for the one-size-fits-all reality TV show The Only Way Is Strictly Come Dine With Me In The Jungle: ‘If you’ve dreamed of watching people dance the paso doble above pits of venomous snakes, or cook kangaroo-bollock curries for Mary Berry, this show is for you.’ And dishonourable mentions to C.J. Gleed, Michael Jones and Ken Stevens. The winners take £25 each. Bill Greenwell trousers £30.

Bill Greenwell

Set in a refugee camp in Kent, the wacky sitcom ‘Repel All Borders’ will be the first time on TV that economic and other migrants have been seen as they really are — a good-natured bunch of wannabes, with just the occasional rotten kumquat. Ari V’Derci and his missus Amira have come over as Syrian stowaways with her Slovakian mother Valéria, as well as their children, Latifah and Hanifah. Every week they face a new challenge as they attempt to integrate themselves into the local community, and try to pass the citizenship test. Up against them is ‘Chalky’ White and his immigration team, with their catchphrase ‘How do you cook a Christmas pudding?’ In the first episode, Ari gets a clandestine job as a hop-picker, and Amira tries out a burkini at Whitstable beach. But that’s before the Brit Nats come to call! Guest: Ken Branagh as the free-sheet journo.

D.A. Prince

‘Cliché Reality’ will explore the real meanings of clichés in real time with real people acting out each familiar phrase to wring every last drop of value out of the tried and trusted, looking for ways to re-energise the tired and rusty and give them a fresh sparkle. A team of vets will examine the range of conditions that could make a parrot sick while considering how these might be replicated in human situations. A posse of PE teachers will attempt to locate a playing field on a slope, using imaginative ways to establish whether each is level and discussing the outcome of any variations in even-ness. The promised highlight is the challenge of watching paint dry — without losing concentration — and giving this standard measure of boredom its long-overdue prime-time exposure. A second series is, as they will no doubt say, in the pipeline.

Adrian Fry

Becky Adlestrop, Team GBs hottest tip for Tokyo 2020, is certain that I-Spy will prove an inspiring addition to the Games. ‘It’s a serious sport. Few have the visual acuity and supple neck to fully comprehensively survey the playing area, fewer still can maintain the placidity of face required not to subconsciously signal what they’ve spied to their opponent. And reciting the rhyme — ‘I spy with my little eye, etc.’ — marries the terpsichorean origins of the Games with the Cultural Olympiads of today.’ The sport is not without controversy: the International Olympic Committee is to rule on whether the ‘spying’ of moving objects — autumn leaves, pigeons, even drones — will be permissible, while Russian athletes stand accused of spying things that simply aren’t there. Becky, meanwhile, busies herself in her Kettering back bedroom, revising everything she might conceivably ‘spy’ in Tokyo. ‘It’s tough’, she grimaces, determinedly revising sushi, ‘but I spy gold.’

Brian Murdoch

‘Nursery Rhyme Challenge’ faces celebrities with tasks like the retrieval of a flock of 200 blackfaced sheep from Dartmoor, stealing food and sleeping in the bear-enclosure, and building a straw house in the wolf section at Whipsnade, or essaying daredevil leaps from a high wall, wearing only a shellsuit and in front of a whole regiment of Household Cavalry.

Chris O’Carroll

Contestants on ‘Next in Line’ are pretenders (‘claimants’ in all promotional materials) to various European crowns. They compete against one another in jousts and other combats staged at historically significant castles and battlefields. Although the show is unable to reward winners with actual coronation, each contestant will have the opportunity to court viewers’ support in a ‘staking my claim’ segment.

G.M. Davis

‘I’ll Get My Coat’ is the first sitcom to adopt the dynamics of Brexit as its theme. Comedy springs from unforeseen consequences as the personal complications of the political/diplomatic bargaining over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU cause havoc in the lives of EU residents.

The format is that of neighbours with differing lifestyles and attitudes. Stanislas, a Polish drain-cleaner, and his sadistic German wife Ulrika have used a massive lottery win to desert Merseyside for Cheshire They live between a gay Guardianista-Remainer couple and a Russian gangster with a houseful of heavily armed eastern European ‘servants’. The local PCSO, Adolph O’Hara, is a Ukip stalwart vainly in love with Spanish lesbian nail-bar worker Ramona.

This richly humorous cocktail is enhanced by a growing general zaniness as the scriptwriters strain to keep pace with the bureaucratic lunacy of the Brexit process.

Ian Fleming wrote an article for The Spectator in 1959 under the headline ‘If I Were Prime Minister’. Your next challenge is to submit the same article (of up to 150 words) as it might have been written by the author of your choice. Please email entries to by midday on 21 September.