Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Kate Silverton Project

My love affair with BBC News 24 continues like some misjudged passion between star-crossed siblings. What began with my stumbling across 'Click Online' has now developed into a full scale admiration for the whole news operation. Can a man find any greater happiness than when he's hearing bad news from an attractive face? I know that I bless the day when I first set eyes on Kate Silverton. Her eyes alone are worth an ice cap or two.

Last night, Judy and I decided to enjoy the fare at a little restaurant not far from our home while we discussed future projects. Through the starter, Judy outlined her plans for my solo career. She intends to go off and become the new Dick Francis, only she’ll be writing novels set around the world of miniature show ponies. I held my peace, knowing that writing isn’t as easy as she makes it sound. I also had more important things to discuss.

Just as the main course was arriving at the table, the subject turned to Kate Silverton’s appearance on 'Top Gear' and that’s when I made my suggestion.

‘Do you suppose Kate might be interested in my gnome project?’ I asked.

Judy looked at me. Her chewing slowed before she reached for a glass of water and took a larger than normal sip. Then she dabbed her mouth with her napkin.

‘Richard,’ she began, her voice so low it was beneath the table. ‘How many times must I say it? Nobody is interested in your gnome project.’

‘But lots of people own garden gnomes,’ I protested. ‘If even one out of every ten gnome owner watched the show, our ratings would be through the roof.’

Now Judy sipped her wine. I could tell that she was disappointed. Lack of vision, you see. She’s always had it or failed to have it, if you get my meaning. Put her in a familiar surroundings and there’s nobody better at asking difficult questions of amiable guests. But in the modern world where we media types have to act quickly, often fighting with guerrilla tactics to take our audience by surprise, she’s about as much use as the Pipes of the Blackwatch. The opposition hear her bagpipes coming a mile away.

‘I don’t see why anybody would want to watch you on a show about gnomes.’

‘But there’s so much more to it than gnomes,’ I said. ‘Kate would understand.’

‘Okay,’ said Judy, taking out her mobile. ‘Let’s ring her and find out.’

Now there are very few things I don’t know but that Judy is friends with Kate is one of them. Another is that Kate is friends with Judy.

‘Hello Kate. Judy here,’ said Judy. ‘Richard wants to have a word with you.’
And just like that, right over her lamb casserole, Judy handed me the phone.

‘Hi Kate,’ I said. ‘Richard here. Left side of the ampersand?’

‘Hello Richard,’ said Kate. ‘Judy’s always talking about you. So nice to speak with you at least.’

‘I’m sure it is,’ I said. ‘But let’s cut the small talk. I’m here with Judy talking about an exciting new solo project and I would like you to come onboard.’

‘Really? And what is it? Current affairs?’

‘Not quite,’ I replied. ‘It’s gnomes.’


‘Garden gnomes. Imagine life size models of Bill Oddie posed with fishing rods or little red wheelbarrows. People often put them around ponds to frighten away ducks.’

‘Yes, I know what a gnome is, Richard. I have three myself. I’m just wondering how this is an exciting new solo project.’

‘Because it’s never been done before, Kate. Which is partly why it’s so exciting. What I have in mind is a game show where each week we kidnap a gnome from somebody’s garden. We spare no expense. Guys in black balaclavas drive up to somebody’s house, trample their garden and drag the gnome into a black van that speeds off. The gnome’s owner then has to follow a series of fiendish clues to locate the gnome which I’ll have hidden somewhere within the UK. They have 24 hours to find the gnome with your help. If they win, Bill Oddie agrees to stand in their garden for a week. If they fail, we destroy the gnome in some imaginative but highly amusing way.’

‘And what’s the name of this show?’

‘At the moment it’s my Untitled Gnome Project, which I think happens to be a good title but I’m open to suggestions. I had thought about The Great Gnome Kidnap With Richard Madeley. I’d be the guy in the balaclava, in case you were wondering.’

‘I’ll have a talk to my agent,’ said Kate.

‘Well, don’t talk too long,’ I said and gave Judy a wink. ‘Half of the BBC wants to be involved. I was talking with Kate Russell yesterday and I think she’d be almost as perfect as you, Kate.’

‘My agent,’ said Kate again. ‘Now, could you hand me back to Judy. I’d just like to chat with her for a second.’

‘Sure thing, Kate,’ I said. ‘Hope to speak with you soon about gnomes.’
I handed the phone to Judy.

‘Hi Kate... Yes, I know. Hmmmm. No, no. Quite serious... I had thought about that but it’s getting him to agree to see one. No, Kate, I know... I thought some sort of medication. Just to take the edge off. Well, to be honest, I don’t know. I think it’s getting worse. I’m afraid to leave him alone in the house. Well, if you send me the address. If he managed to calm Daniel Corbett down I’m sure he’d be able to do something. Okay. Well speak soon. No, no. Don’t worry. Dead in the water. Bye.’

‘What was that about?’ I asked as Judy slipped her phone in her handbag.

‘Oh, she wanted to know if we could mind her cat for her when she goes away on holiday.’

‘A cat?’ I winced. ‘I don’t want a cat in the house.’

‘But you’re happy to have a beaver in the garden.’

I shrugged. There are places for beavers and places for cats. And somewhere in between there are places for gnomes. It's something that Judy just fails to understand.


katyboo1 said...

How about Roamin' Gnomes?

Dick Madeley said...

In all fairness, Katyboo1, they are hardly 'roamin'. I see them blindfolded and handcuffed to a radiator in some dingy flat in Newcastle. said...

As much as I admire the lovely Ms Silverton I fear you may have missed out on an opportunity. For said opportunity one must cast their eyes slightly to the right of the Top Gear sofa and look no further than the equally, if not slightly more lovely Fiona Bruce (I find her more appealing than Kate, I must admit).

Who could be better to help you present this show than someone who has experience of presenting this sort of thing...Crimewatch.

On that note, how about GNOMEWATCH with Richard Madeley - in a big and suspenseful font?

Dick Madeley said...

You've been reading my mind. I agree totally but I didn't want to always go on about Fiona. I have to vary the people I invite onto my projects. Fiona is nearly up there with Katie Dernham, who is the finest newsreader around.

I'm going for a walk now to cool down. I have a show to do...

Anonymous said...

That is a really good idea for a tv show, though i fear it may be a bit too savage and SAS style for the likes of some poncy London producer.

Beag Óg Bramblefoot said...

I find the whole thing disturbing ...

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