Tuesday, 3 January 2017

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius.”

The real Sherlock Holmes

Another lost Sherlock Holmes story has been re-discovered (by a certain Nick Cohen) and published in The Spectator

The tale is entitled Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Murdered Script, and in just a few brilliant pages it tells the story of a troubled BBC Director General who pays a desperate visit to Baker Street and leaves the great sleuth appalled and the good Dr Watson in an understandable rage. 

The mystery at first seems to be one of the toughest that Holmes has ever faced and concerns The Six Thatchers, broadcast on BBC One on New Year's Day. 

The mystery, simply put, is this: What was it that the BBC broadcast and why did they broadcast it? 

Holmes's brilliant mind, however, cleaves through the fog and finds the truth with ease - a truth that I, your humble servant, will not spoil by copying and pasting it onto this blog. (It sends the BBC's DG away with a haunted face - as well it might).

Instead I shall merely whet your appetite for mystery by copying and pasting the following extract, as Tony Hall begins his horrifying tale of what befell BBC One viewers on New Year's Day:
‘It begins with Professor Moriarty taking over every computer and TV screen.’
‘Why would he do that?’
‘No one knows’
‘Will it be explained later?’
‘No one knows. Anyway, a boy burns to death in a car.’
‘Is this child’s unfortunate demise at the heart of your case?’
‘Not really. It’s covered in 90 seconds.’
‘As I understand it, Mr Hall, you assigned 90 minutes to your entertainment. How did your scriptwriters fill the remaining 88 minutes and 30 seconds?’
Our visitor turned pale. He clearly did not wish to speak, but with the effort of a condemned man climbing the steps he stammered, ‘By making you lovable.’
‘Yes to show you are game for a laff.’
‘And how do these repellent qualities manifest themselves?’
‘You lunge for a plate of biscuits and shout, “Are those ginger nuts? I love ginger nuts”.’
‘Surely this must make me seem remarkably stupid?’
‘Everyone must in BBC drama today. Easily bored 13-year olds are our target audience.  Even after the watershed. Especially after the watershed.’
Can you solve the Mystery of the Murdered Script before clicking on the link to the Spectator and reading on? What evil purpose compelled the BBC to commit such a deed of infamy against the great sleuth, his faithful companion, his wife, their creator, and the viewing Great British public?


  1. It was bad...but not as God-awfully bad from top to toe as was Silent Witness which appeared to be operating in a parallel universe where all people claiming to be refugees from Syria are refugees and where the ethical kernel of the plot appeared to be "As a UK citizen should never, ever query or criticise any illegal action carried out by someone claiming to be a refugee as they will have good reasons for so acting and you will endanger their lives if you do."

    Great TV!

  2. Nick Cohen is an hysterical, congenital idiot.

    Off topic: Have you seen this?


    I wonder if the BBC didn't commission this specifically so they could have a triumph of Complaints From Both Sides.