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  • Writer's picturePhilip Bryer

"We'll be right back after these messages..."

As the clock strikes 06:30, the SWAT team approaches the secure compound, going through their carefully outlined routines, moving forward with caution, covering each other and employing everything ever learned with Mossad, the SAS, and the Navy Seals. Because they can’t afford to slip up.


Having ticked off the checklist, they enter the inner compound, concentration never flagging. The lead man beckons forward an underling, who pushes a couple of tranquilised rats into no-man’s land. Having bitten their heads off, Kay Burley gargles with a shot of hydrochloric acid, chews on some broken glass, and checks the interview notes which are to form the basis of her cosy chat with whichever junior minister has been chosen by the Cabinet for live human sacrifice on Sky News.


Meanwhile, Susannah Reid, who was mulling over the relative merits or otherwise of Piers Morgan and Richard Madeley, decides it’s mostly otherwise, heads for ITV’s morning breakout zone and fires up a joint.


As the viewer switches to CNN, they’re greeted with these words: “Stay with us, we’ll be right back after these messages.”


Up in Salford, the head of touchy-feely at BBC Breakfast makes sure that everyone’s on-point, up to speed, and on the same hymn sheet about the issues that matter to you and I, indeed, to all of us, in a very real sense. Inclusively. Then the lifestyle coach starts…


Over on CNBC (or it might be Bloomberg — nobody ever stays long enough to find out for sure), a new presenter takes the opportunity of an ad break to turn to the Old Hand next to them and ask:

“All these numbers and symbols and letters that are running on the tickertape loop down there, and up there, and over there, and all around my hat?”

“Yes?” replies the OH.

“When d'you think I might get the hang of them?”

“Never. Just read the bloody stuff out,” advised the OH. “It’s worked for me for long enough.”


CNN is playing an advert for an airline that nobody’s ever heard of. Rule #1 for airlines you’ve no experience of? Keep it that way.


Over on France 24…Well, who knows?


There are clear bloodstains on the floor at Sky. The camera cuts to Kay Burley as she furtively wipes something from her chin, and a janitor can be seen shovelling what’s left of the junior minister into a Sky News tote bag (£24.99 from the online store, according to the onscreen message).


Back to CNN, and there’s an interesting programme about fancy watches. Hang on, though, it’s another ad. They’ll be back soon, no doubt.


As Richard Madeley, in character as Travis Bickle from Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, interviews a vigilante — or it might actually be a taxi driver — Susannah Reid winks at the camera and drops a surreptitious tab of acid. “Are you OK?” she asks, cleverly (or is it Willoughby), “I’m not,” she adds.


Next up on Sky News, there's a sweet old man who’s doing a sponsored walk for charity. Kay Burley vows to get the truth out of him and orders up the thumbscrews.


CNN is running ads for itself on a loop, but I’m sure they’ll be back soon. Live from a prepper’s bunker somewhere in the Midwest.


Susannah Reid’s blinking out SOS like a US Marine in a hostage video. She’s also spiked Madeley’s coffee but nobody's noticed.


The team at the BBC is wondering, “How did that make you feel,” but I don’t think they’d much care for the answer.


Generic presenter: “Let us know what YOU think. Tweet, text, email…”

Average viewer: “FFS, don’t encourage these people.”


We’ll be back after these messages. Don’t go away.


* * * * *


You have been watching — A fictional imagining of morning TV news which in no way suggests that the real-life counterparts of the people mentioned above engage in any such behaviour.

Pictured: CNN's sainted Alisyn Camerota.

(She's exempt from anything in the article and pictured purely for aesthetic reasons because both Mrs B and I have a desperate crush on her.)

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