by Robert Williams
"This is going to be fantastic! The future has arrived!!" exclaimed Des.
"For you that must mean the late 1970s," said Mick, observing Des who in 1999 still dressed in flares and tank top.
"No, no, just look at this wonderful piece of kit!" said Des. "My new digital television set-top box (which I've actually had to put underneath the television as I've got my signed photograph of Tom O'Connor on my television)!"
"Show off," said Mick. "(That you've got digital telly, not that you've got a Tom O'Connor photograph)."
"Hundreds of exciting new television channels at my fingertips!" exclaimed Des.
"Like BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4," said Mick, flicking through the channels.
"And stacks of great new shows!" said Des.
"For example 'Songs of Praise' and 'Coronation Street'," said Mick.
"I was going to buy a widescreen set, but the idea of Vanessa Feltz in widescreen was too scary," said Des. He sat down on his settee and surfed through the channels.
"Well I think I'd better leave you to it," said Mick. "I'll see you later in the cafe."
"No way," said Des. "There's so many channels, I'd be bound to miss something!"
"Suit yourself," said Mick. He left Des's house and went along to the cafe for the morning meeting. It wasn't long before when Des walked in.
"What are you doing here?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "I thought you'd resigned from the committee!"
"What's happened to your digital television?" said Mick. "Just now you couldn't be torn away from it!"
"Nothing on," said Des.
"Tch," said Clive. "You were so bored that you decided to come along here?!"
"No, I've had an idea," said Des.
"Oh gosh, is that the time?" said Mick. "I must be off!"
"Yes, I've got to go and make sure the grass is still growing in my garden!" said Clive.
"You are going nowhere! Now listen!" snapped Des.
"Ooooh! Touchy!" said Clive.
"I have decided we are going to set up our own television station," said Des.
Silence all round.
"Well hasn't anyone got anything to say?!" said Des.
"Yeah!" exclaimed Wayne. "Can I 'ave another plate of mushy chips please, Mrs G?"
"My chips are not mushy!" said Mrs Greasy. "Just a little...soft..."
"Look, what does everything think of my idea?" exclaimed Des.
"Did anyone see the match last night?" said Clive.
"Yeah!" exclaimed Wayne. "Well...no actually, I don't need matches, I'm all electric!"
"Well it doesn't matter," said Des, "because, whether you like it or not, DMTV launches next week! Now has anyone got any programme ideas?"
They all looked at each other.
"No," said Mick.
"That doesn't matter, because I've already constructed a programme schedule, and everyone's got their own shows!" said Des.
There were groans all round as Des handed out copies of his schedule.
"First things first," said Des. "We must create a station identity. I need you all round my house this afternoon."
The gang reluctantly turned up at Des's house that afternoon.
"I've got this great, highly original idea for our station logo!" said Des. They followed him upstairs and into his junk-filled spare room. He opened a cupboard and pulled out a box of balloons left over from his eleventh birthday party.
"Uh-oh," said Mick. "I think I can see where this is going."
Des took a red balloon out, and went blue in the face blowing it up. When he had finally done it, he tied the end up and drew a smily face on it.
"Now can anyone play the piano round here?" said Des.
Clive immediately stuck his hand into the air. No one else did. Immediately Clive realised his error.
"I'm just too honest for my own good," he sighed.
"You? Honest? I know where you get your BMW from..."
"Shhhhh!!" exclaimed Clive. "Anyway...I'm really not very good at it..."
"No matter," said Des. "You can make up any tune you like."
Des reached into a cupboard and thrust a cheap electronic keyboard into Clive's hand.
"Right, I'll fetch my video camera," said Des. "And then we go out into the garden."
"I knew it," said Mick. The group of them followed Des into the garden.
"This is all very simple," said Des. "Mick, you throw the balloon into the air, which I'll film. Clive, you need to play a plinkety plonkety tune to go with it."
"This is all very similar to another television channel," said Mick.
The filming of the logo, featuring Des's balloon flying high above his garden with a plinkety plonkety backing music, went well, and before long DMTV, with its highly original and innovative programming went on air. As the station slogan stated: 'DMTV - Pushing Back the Boundaries of British Television'.
Des's House Party
The flagship entertainment show of DMTV was set to air on Saturday night, live from Des's living room. The signature tune played, and there was tremendous applause (which was actually on tape). Des leapt down the stairs and into the living room.
"Hello! Good evening!!" exclaimed Des to the audience, which consisted of Mick, Clive, Mrs Greasy, Mike and Dickie. "Welcome to 'Des's House Party'!! My name's Des Wednesday, and here's my friend, Mr Blubby!!"
Wayne, dressed in a big yellow suit with pink spots, squeezed through the door.
"Blubby, blubby, blubby!!" exclaimed Wayne, before falling onto the floor.
"Together, me and Mr Blubby are going to be compering tonight's show!!"
"Comparing it to what?" said Wayne.
Mick switched on the tape recorder for a burst of canned laughter.
"Now first, here are some items from today's 'Wrinkly Town Observer'. Clive Kippers has lost some hair gel in Wrinkly Town. Police are combing the area!!"
Des read out some more dodgy jokes, with bursts of canned laughter between them.
"Now coming later on 'Des's House Party', we'll see Clive Kippers get totally stitched up in a hilarious 'Getcha', in which we wind him up by hiding all the packets of his favourite smoky bacon crisps at the local supermarket, while in DTV, you, yes you, could be the star of the show and get sent off to Farmer Files's farm, where you'll be helping him muck out his porkers for a week!"
"Good evening," said Mick, reading the news from his kitchen table, with Des, Clive and Wayne sitting in the background pretending to tap away at typewriters. "Here is the DMTV News. There was confusion in the local supermarket today as Clive Kippers couldn't find the flavour of crisps he usually buys. Kippers, 45 and from Tolworth, searched the supermarket high and low for a packet of smoky bacon crisps. The manager told him they had just run out of smoky bacon, and there would be new stock in that afternoon. Kippers, though, has taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights. (They wrote back saying their had plenty of cases of their own, and they didn't want any more)."
"What a load of rubbish," said Clive. "I don't even like smoky bacon!"
"Meanwhile," read Mick, "fears that it would rain this afternoon were confirmed when Des Wednesday from Tolworth observed three drops of rain falling on his shed at just before two o'clock. Wednesday, 49, had this to say."
They went over to a filmed report of Des in his garden.
"Michael Fish said it would be dry this afternoon, but by lunchtime it had clouded over quite considerably, and some of the clouds were very dark grey, and I was sure it would rain. I was particularly concerned, as I had intended going shopping, and I didn't want to get wet. This weather forecaster has seriously misled viewers in this matter, and I intend suing him to the sum of £12.47."
Mike the Manic Mechanic donned a curly wig to present DMTV's motoring show.
"Hi there!" said Mike, from the driving seat of one of his cars. "This week on 'First Gear', I'm going to be test driving this brand new, well newish, 1984 Ford Capri 2.8 Injection Special!"
He drove off, burning as much rubber as possible, while Des drove off after him in the camera car (his Fiat 126), and did his best to keep up with Mike.
"This car," said Mike as he drove along, "reminds me of a song by 10cc - 'Rubber Bullets'. Firstly, because bullets travel very quickly, just like this car - basically, it's FAST! And secondly, because it has rubber mats."
"Slow down Mike!" exclaimed Des, as he watched him drive quickly into the distance.
"This car does not hang around for anything," said Mike. "This is a wolf, quite literally, in wolf's clothing. It is, without any doubt, FAST! Now just look at this plush interior. Look at what you get for the money! A rev counter, radio with both medium and long waves, vinyl seat covers, opening windows and an engine. But none of this really matters, because the only thing I'm interested in, is that this car is FAST! And cheap too - at a certain south London independent car trader, you could pick up a motor like this for no more than £1500, no questions asked! Now if you fancy this dream machine, pop down now to Mike's Manic Motors for a test drive! But be prepared, because this car is FAST! Coming up later, what to look for when buying more quality used car bargains from Mike's Manic Motors..."
Can't Cook, But Still Cooks
"Hello everyone, how are you today," said Mrs Greasy flatly reading the autocue. This hilarious cookery game show was broadcast from Mrs G's cafe.
"Today we have two contestants who are going to attempt to make some raspberry ripple, and mess it up as much as they can. With me instructing them, how could they possibly not mess it up...oi, who wrote this?!"
The fun-packed makeover show, presented by Des Smiley.
"Hello," said Des, smiling. "On this week's 'Changing Houses', neighbours Wayne Coach and Clive Kippers will be redecorating each other's entire houses!"
"What?!" said Clive. "You never said that! Have him redecorate my house! You must be joking!"
"Don't worry," said Des. "He'll be helped by our two resident experts!"
"Hi, man!" said Dave, who came on wearing a long haired wig. "I'm interior designer, Dave Llewelyn-Presley, man."
"And I'm Mick the Brick, the building expert," said Mick, who had no building experience whatsoever.
"Stand by for half an hour of hilarity," said Des, "especially when Clive sees what Wayne's done to his house!"
Heaven Help Us
The Sunday religious slot, presented by Dickie the Vicar.
"Greetings parish pickers," said Dickie. "This show is for all people, whether you come to my fab Sunday services or not. And if not, WHY NOT?! Sorry. On today's edition of 'Heaven Help Us', we'll be discussing the role of religion in today's society. And we've got live music from Status Quo!!"
Flop of the Pops
This music show, hosted by Dave Presley, featured Des and the others miming to Des's crackly old records.
"Greetings flop drippers," said Dave. "And welcome to this week's top sounds in 'Flop of the Pops', man! This week for you, we have the new singles from Abba, Elvis Presley and Boney M, and a brand new number one from Matt Monro!"
"Hello, and welcome to the show, presented from my own garden," said Mick. "On today's show I'll be showing you how to grow your very own petunias, and how to cut the grass. That'll be really interesting."
It was an ordinary day in Bore-a-nation Street, the setting for DMTV's daily soap opera. The focal point was Mrs Greedy's cafe, where Rick was having his lunch.
"Mrs Greedy, your cookery is revolting!" said Rick (played by Mick). "I haven't eaten a decent meal in here in my life!"
"How dare you!" exclaimed Mrs Greedy (played by Mrs Greasy). "I've had an awful morning! My husband's left me, my dog's died, my son's had a car crash, I discovered my nephew's brother-in-law's sister's uncle's cousin is actually my cousin's aunt's daughter's brother's niece's sister-in-law's mother's daughter, and now you come and insult me like that! Get out of my cafe now! Out!! Out!!"
"This probably isn't a very good time," said Rick, "but (oh do I really have to say this...) will you marry me?"
"Hi there kids!" exclaimed Wayne, sitting at his kitchen table. "Welcome to Children's DMTV with me, Wayne, and me comedy mate, Simon the Spoon!"
Simon the Spoon, a wooden spoon with a face drawn on it popped up from under the table.
"Hi Simon, how are ya!" said Wayne.
"Very well thank you," said Des, who was holding the end of the spoon, out of sight under the table.
"Ha, ha, Simon, you're so funny, for a spoon!" said Wayne. "Now I've got some of yer pictures you've sent in! Here's one of me! And 'ere's one of Simon! Look at that, Simon! Oh sorry, that's supposed of be of me as well! And 'ere's a super pic of a boat sailing on the water!"
"Upside down!" whispered Des.
"What's that, Simon? I'm the right way up," said Wayne. "Oh, I see what yer mean!" He turned the picture round. "It's a, er, um..."
"A house!" whispered Des. "With a blue sky above it!"
"It's a horse!" said Wayne. "Givin' a huge sigh! Now, it time for yer birthday cards! 'Ere's a card for Clive, who's 45. And 'ere's one for Mick, who's gonna be 49. And Des, who's 50 soon! Gosh, that's old!"
"Don't mention that!" whispered Des.
"Good evening, and welcome to 'Crimewatch Tolworth'," said Des, presented live from the local police station. "Tonight, myself along with PC Plod are going to presenting reconstructions of some heinous crimes in the hope that you'll be able to assist the police with their enquiries."
"Tonight," said PC Plod, "we present the serious case of a man from Tolworth who had his Porsche 911 stolen from his front driveway."
"That'll teach him to play with his Corgi toys outside," said Des.
Farmers in Practice
The weekly docu-soap, set on Farmer Files's farm, chronicling the thrilling daily life on a pig farm.
"Ooooh arrrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Now it be toime to muck out moi porkers!! And today oi've got Clive, who appeared on 'Des's 'Ouse Party', to 'elp me!!"
Who Wants to Win a Pound?
This was intended as DMTV's biggest ratings grabber. Des hosted the nail-biting quiz, where ordinary members of the public stood the chance of winning up to £1.
"So Wayne," said Des. "It's getting tense now. This is for 24p. The question is - which television programme stars Jim Davidson? Is it: A - The Charlie Drake Show, B - the news, C - Michael Bentine's Potty Time, or D - Jim Davidson's Generation Game? Now Wayne, think about this very carefully."
"Umm..." said Wayne.
"Take your time," said Des. "There is 24p at stake here. Remember, you still have two lifelines left open - phone a friend, and ask the audience."
"I wanna phone a friend," said Wayne. "Me ol' mate, Dwayne!"
"Okay," said Des. He dialled Dwayne's number, and put the phone on loudspeaker.
"Hello?" said Dwayne.
"Dwayne Transit, this is Des Wednesday," said Des. "You're live on DMTV, on 'Who Wants to Win a Pound?'. The next voice you're going to hear is that of your old mate Wayne."
"Hello Dwayne, it's yer ol' mate Wayne 'ere!" said Wayne. "Are yer watchin' telly at the moment?!"
"Yeah, I'm watching 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' on ITV!" said Dwayne.
"Oh right..." said Wayne. "Anyway, could you 'elp us with this question?"
Des repeated the question, and Dwayne gave a huge sigh. There was a long pause.
"I think it's A - 'The Charlie Drake Show'," said Dwayne, finally.
"Ta Dwayne! See ya later down the Dog and Stick Insect!" said Wayne.
"So is that your answer?" asked Des.
"Ummm...I'm not sure...Dwayne ain't that clever...I wanna ask the audience."
So Des put the question to the audience of Mick, Clive, Mrs Greasy, Dickie, Mike and Dave. 100 per cent of them answered D - 'Jim Davidson's Generation Game'.
"So Wayne, what are you going for?" said Des.
"Hmmm..." said Wayne, thoughtfully. "I'm gonna...go for...D..."
"Is that your final answer?" said Des.
"Yes!" said Wayne.
"Are you sure?" said Des. "Remember, 24p is at stake here!"
"Yes!" said Wayne.
"Absolutely positive?" said Des. It was so tense that some members of the audience were beginning to fall asleep.
"Yes!" said Wayne.
"So is it absolutely definitely, without any shadow of a doubt, your final answer?"
"No! I've changed me mind! I'm going for A - 'The Charlie Drake Show'!"
"Okay," said Des. "You're going for A - 'The Charlie Drake Show'. If you'd said B, you'd have been wrong. If you'd said C, you'd have been wrong. But you said A - and I have to say...Wayne Coach...from Tolworth...you're wrong! The answer was D!! But never mind, you got as far as 12p, and that's very well done..."
Wayne was so upset he walked off in a sulk.
"And don't forget, folks," said Des. "He may not be a winner, but there is one person who wins a fortune every week on this show - and that's me!!"
After a week on air, the first set of viewing figures came in.
"Well, I'm impressed," said Des. "Eight million people tuned in during our first week!
"I think you'll find that's actually eight people," said Mick. "It was us lot!"
"Oh," said Des. "Anyway, I've done a cost analysis, and I've worked out we can't afford to stay on air."
"Thank goodness," said Mick, his heart leaping.
"So we could start showing adverts," said Des. Mick's heart sank again. "But then I decided I can't be bothered any more, so I just thought we'd close down."
Des Wednesday's Final Thought
"It's often been said that two birds in the hand can't let the cook out of the broth," said Des on DMTV's final broadcast. "And it's true to say that many relationships end simply due to bad carpets. So that's why DMTV is closing down this evening for the last time. And also because I've been missing 'Teletubbies' all week. Good night!"
Copyright © Robert Williams