Just another night in the Question Time rehearsal studio…

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A special edition of Question Time is being constructed for transmission soon. The intrepid Citizen Cuddis secured a transcript, written up by teams of chimps supervised by an out-sourced sub-editor based in the wilds of Borneo and speaking English as her fifth language.

Dimplebonce straightens his Charterhouse tie. Unlike the BBC Trust, it has no actual need of correction—it is as immaculate as the smug BBC smile that seems permanently plastered to his finely-chiselled chin.

The BBC's oldest employee undergoes his annual fitness test to establish he's not female and therefore should have been pensioned off at 55.
The BBC’s oldest employee undergoes his annual fitness test to establish he’s not female as therefore s/he should have been pensioned off at 55.

Under the newly laundered Edward Check Classic Fit Button Cuff Shirt from Pink of Jermyn Street he secretly wears a Poundland T-shirt complete with ‘Stuff the Jocks’ emblem. He is as equipped to host a balanced reporting, pooling and sharing-style political game show as the next man; provided the next man went to Oxford.

The cameras are not yet rolling but there’s some housekeeping to be done. Dimplebonce speaks forth: “If there are any working-class people in the audience, or those of a separatist bent, could you please raise your hands? That’ll make it easier for the security people to identify who to march through the exit doors before we start.”

A few people raise their hands. “If you’re both working class and a separatist, please raise both hands and we’ll get you first”. There’s a brief commotion while security guards shuffle along the rows toward the unwelcome.

Dimplebonce continues: “Those of you currently being ‘helped back into work’ by Iain Duncan Smith should lie on their backs in the aisle with your arms and legs in the air like a punk doing the dead fly. This will make it easier for guards in pairs to lift you off the ground and use your head to batter the fire exits open. We’ll then escort you to the nearest Job Centre Plus in an open-backed Transit van—you’ll not find a job sitting in here.

CHEQUES IN POST

“If you’re a plant, just sit tight and wait for me to give you the BBC nod before spinning your yarn. Your cheques are in the post.

“One final piece of housekeeping before we start the show: Under new rules, the readiness of all citizens to kiss the Queen’s ring in the form of singing the National Anthem must be tested at least once during each BBC programme. So when you hear this (klaxon sounds), you must get to your feet and set your tonsils dirling like the clapper on a school bell or risk being locked up in the Tower.”

The audience vetted, the theme music kicks in. When it ends, Dimplebonce speaks forth again. “Our show tonight comes from the village of Sedgewhiffle-on-the-Marsh — or is it Sedgemarch-on-the-Whiffle? I don’t much care either way — we’re in the sticks anyway”

“Whatever it’s called, the village has been working class-free since the crusades. Isn’t that just ginger-peachy?” The now equally working-class-free audience claps its approval.

“On our panel tonight, Willie Rennie. If he was a colour he’d be light beige.

“From the Daily Madman, writer, blogger, unionist and all round good egg, H.B Scribbler. H.B is hear to repeat in verbal form, the mindless right wing guff his paper puts out on newsprint.

“We also have David ‘Fluffy’ Mundell, a man whose thinking is fluffier than a duckling after a wash and blow dry.

“From the business community we have Natasha Kidderminster-Penge, founder of online lingerie sensation GoGoGussett Dot Com. You doubtless know the company’s byline: ‘We know pants’.

Ah will, ye know! Or ma name's no' Stella McCreasey! Aw, wait a reckon minute, youse have done it again huvnt ye?
Ah will, ye know! Or ma name’s no’ Stella McCreasey! Aw, wait a feckin minute, youse have done it again huvnt ye?

“We have Kezia Dugdale with us too tonight. Since Kezia cannot say anything that hasn’t been approved by her head office, she is wearing the official Labour Party headgear issued to their brethren in the north.”

The camera cuts to Kezia who wears the false chin and lower jaw used by ventriloquists to turn selected audience members into living dummies so they can put words into their mouths. The mouthpiece clacks into life. “A gottle of gear,” Kezia appears to say in a high pitched John McTernan accent.

“Her answers will come via this apparatus which is operated by bluetooth from the wings,” Dimplebonce explains. “Any attempts to express an opinion of her own will be stifled by electric shocks.”

“And so to our first question. This comes from Tarquin Collop, a grade one plant from the BBC list. Tarquin?”

“Thanks David. Today is the first anniversary of the referendum on Scottish Independence. Isn’t it about high time that the Jocks stopped whining about constitutional change and got on with sorting out their massive problems in education, the police and the health service?”

MORE POWERS THAN X-MEN

Dimbletosh: “Fluffy?”

“Absolutely, Tarquin,” Fluffy says. “They already have more powers than The X-Men but refuse to use them. Not a single road sign changed. Why? Because they spend all their time chasing a second referendum. And that’s after Scotland voted so decisively to stay in our glorious union.” Fluffy stands to attention and begins to sing. “God save our gracious queen—“. Dimplebonce cuts him short.

“Wait for the klaxon, Fluffy,” he says. Fluffy sits down again, looking crestfallen.

A man in the audience raises his hand. He sports the sort of hairdo once favoured by Tory grandees—bouffanted to buggery and quiffier than Swiss Tony. Yet he wears coveralls. An imposter for sure. A working man posing as someone who matters. The hairdo has duped the security staff, allowing this man — probably called Eric or Davie no doubt, to evade the pre-show purge.

But the mic’s there and Eric or Davie speaks: “How come it’s possible for MPs to hold down three or four jobs and still serve their constituents, but 56 SNP politicians can’t simultaneously chase constitutional reform and run Scotland? And while we’re at it, wasn’t the reason we voted ‘No’ in large part due to the Better Together mob scaremongering pensioners?”

Natasha being taken seriously as a businesswoman
Natasha being taken seriously as a businesswoman

Dimplebonce’s feathers have been ruffled. Security guards shuffle their way toward the speaker.

“Natasha?” Dimplebonce tries to move things on. They’ll slice that segment out, with a bit of fancy editing . Stay calm and carry on.

Natasha is on the show because she has a lots of other people’s money. In the establishment’s book no more proof is needed that any opinion she may utter will be so laden with wisdom it should be taken on a par with the analects of Confucius. (very impressive use of English, Cudd, you auld show-off. Ed)

“I remember when gogogusset.com passed the one million unit sales milestone for our split crotch panties…“ Natasha recalls.

“Yes, but can I draw you back to what the questioner actually asked which was, ‘SNP Bad, true or false?’ The actual question will have been scrubbed from the live recording and this section inserted. Job done, Dimplebonce thinks.

“True. But I want to take this opportunity to say that I didn’t need food banks. And I had nothing but the family fortune to fall back on.”

‘Well that’s all we’ve got time for,” Dimplebonce says. “Our thanks to the panel. We’re not sure whether Willie Rennie actually spoke. Perhaps he did but nobody can remember what he said. Those of you with a Sky+ box can always rewind it to see.”

A klaxon sounds. Audience and panel leap to their feet and start singing the National Anthem, with the same gusto that congregations on Songs of Praise muster when they know the cameras are rolling.

The end titles roll…