Arnell’s 2023 TV predictions: a new job for Dacre and Noddy comes to Amazon
By way of an attempt at gentle ribbing, Stephen Arnell gives his industry predictions for the ‘telly’ world over the coming year.
The surprise success of Noele Gordon biopic Nolly creates an overwhelming demand for a 2nd Crossroads revival – this time a prequel. Now back in the UK, James Corden stars as hapless handyman Benny. Sheridan Smith is ‘Miss Diane’, whilst Olive Coleman takes over from Helena Bonham-Carter as Meg Mortimer.
Also, a disgraced David Walliams is out as the title character in their controversial Rolf Harris biopic. In a left-field move, Jack Whitehall is cast.
BBC News recruits Paul Dacre to run the division, resulting in a mass exodus of journalistic talent, including, Ros Atkins, who leaves the Corporation after chair Richard Sharp asks him to change his ‘negative attitude’ to Brexit and always wear a Union Jack Tim Brook-Taylor style waistcoat on air.
Ex-GB News gobshite Darren Grimes joins as senior political correspondent, with former colleague Neil ‘The Coast Guy’ Oliver becoming head of editorial policy. In a related story, BBC director-general Tim Davie is appointed to the Sunak/Braverman Cabinet as Minister for Truth & Impartiality, whilst retaining his BBC role.
Soon to be free of the burden of being an MP, the former Health Secretary is asked to host both The One Show for BBC One and Naked Attraction on Channel 4. But he’s just getting started…
The broadcaster is saved from privatisation, but chief content officer Ian Katz resigns after the public outcry following his commissioning no less than four new shows in the My Massive Cock franchise — Balls, Knockers, Arsehole and Cootch.
A sting in the tail for senior London-based executives, as the C4 HQ is moved from Pimlico to the South Humberside port of Goole.
The network commissions a follow-up to This England covering the first 14 days of Liz Truss’s premiership, thereby missing her dramatic ousting. Sheridan Smith plays Truss, with Josh Brolin as Keir Starmer. James Corden cameos as sacked minister Conor Burns.
Network Jefe Ben Frow resurrects Out of Town, with Blur bassist/cheese freak Alex James replacing the late Jack Hargreaves. The show makes the headlines after an ill-advised guest appearance by Liam Gallagher. James is released from his local cottage hospital after a garden gnome is successfully removed from his rectum. Gallagher claims it was a “prank that maybe went too far” and blames James, who he claims, “led me on”.
After the success of All Creatures, more ‘comfort TV’ from C5 in the shape of a To The Manor Born revival. Sheridan Smith is Audrey fforbes-Hamilton and, in his first acting (non-politics) role, Hancock stars as suave Super Marché chain owner Richard DeVere. James Corden plays hapless handyman Old Ned, depping for the disgraced David ‘3Cs’ Walliams, still in the TV doghouse after his Britain’s Got Talent exit.
After Robbie Williams, Netflix UK commissions a new documentary series on The New Seekers and Peters & Lee.
Amazon Prime Video
Post-Rings of Power and seeing what Disney+ did with Willow, Jeff Bezos goes all-in for the live action re-imagined Noddy series. Sheridan Smith plays Noddy, with James Corden as Big Ears.
Walliams seeks a comeback as the villainous Gobbo, but loses out to David Tennant. Or Stephen Graham. Or Daniel Mays. Whatever.
Boris Johnson hosts a Saturday Night Variety Show, with Jacob Rees-Mogg performing feats of strength on his unicycle and Nadine Dorries doing a Bob Fosse-style ‘Frug’ before a baying audience of intoxicated gammons. John Redwood hypnotises himself. Anne Widdecombe essays the sand dance with Quentin Letts and Andrew Pierce.
Nick Clegg joins as head of ethics, narrowly beating former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher to the gig.
in a bizarre experiment gone wrong, Mark Zuckerberg has his consciousness transferred forever into a Metaverse Dung Beetle.
On-air duo of Mike Graham and Kevin O’Sullivan run away to join a circus. Shovelling elephant shit, so little change there then.
More Matt Hancock news
BBC One attempts to sign Matt Hancock to a ‘Golden Handcuffs’ deal. Kevin Lygo sweeps in and secures the former health minister as ITV’s ‘new Barrymore’.
And finally… as the year draws to a close…
In an entirely predictable move, David Walliams signs up for I’m A Celeb… and releases new kids book Potty Mouth & His Adventures in Soho.
Sadly, for Walliams, he’s the first to be ejected from the jungle and his book is swiftly remaindered after a subversive subeditor peppered the slim volume with obscenities.
The Daily Mail cites the following sentence as particularly offensive: “Potty met his naughty pal Simon in the sweetie shop, but Mr Boggins the owner slung them out and called them a ‘couple of cheeky c*nts’ after they sassily each asked for a ‘finger of fudge’.”
Stephen Arnell began his career at the BBC, moving to ITV where he launched and managed digital channels. He continues to consult for streamers and broadcasters on editorial strategy. He currently writes for The Spectator, The Independent, and The Guardian on film, TV and cultural issues. He is also a writer/producer (including Bob Fosse: It’s Showtime for Sky Arts) and novelist.