on strike at the BBC. Well, not quite...
because Lionel and Frank from Music are still
there, also Tony, one of the managers.
strike, says Lionel the producer, from over
his glasses, which hes pushed down his nose
in order to read The Gramophone.
have to send us home, adds Frank, the
gaffer, seeing as were the only ones
MUST carry on, retorts Tony.
right. Frank rolls his eyes.
playing Italy tonight at Wembley, Tony
continues. Lionel, youll have to
cover MOTD. 10 o'clock."
Verdi... Puccini... Rossini... Then
Lionel rams his glasses up his nose. MOTD.
Match of the Day. I can't do that.
Lionel. Youre a professional. Gary
Linekers coming in, so therell be an
anchor man. Youll just have to improvise
for a commentary.
cries Lionel to his bosss retreating back. This...
is... outrageous. I'm taking this to the
it. Tony swings round.
Theyre all marching around outside
with banners, protesting about redundancies.
strike, Lionel repeats.
redundancies? says Frank. Yes...
um... yes. We can do MOTD. Can't we,
Tony lays his
hand on the gaffers shoulder. I
knew I could rely on you.
ahead for several moments after Tony has left. He
hopes his expression appears suitably glazed. Frank,
how could you?
Frank holds up
his palms. I'm as much as musician as you,
mate, but... well...
Lionel. Redundancies. Frank leans
over his armchair. Look, Garyll be in
the studio and outside broadcastsre working,
so theyll get it in the can. We just put it
together. Ooh... and find a commentator.
backs away from him, jutting his chin into his
neck. Well, don't look at me.
do it. Youll have to make a few phone
attempts this, but, amongst football commentators,
the strikes one hundred per cent solid. When
the operator is, unaccountably, unable to find
Kenneth Wolstenholmes number, the two men
go to the canteen for lunch. This is
something they have done before.
ridiculous, says Lionel, as if he were
saying it for the first time. (He isn't.) I'm
going to Tony.
think of something. Have I ever let you down?
As Lionel sits
down to his rubber sausages, he has to admit,
Katherine Jenkins accidentally pulled out Camera
Ones lead with her heel during Rule
Spotlight Three was on Pavarottis crotch
when his flies were undone?
a long time ago.
got to understand, Frank, that this time last
week we were at the Albert Hall. Bach Choir. St
Matthew Passion. And you were fixing the English
subtitles for the German libretto.
At ten o'clock
that evening, Lionel sits in the control room
surrounded by monitors. Several Gary
Linekers bear down upon him grinning but, when
play starts in silence, Lionels stomach
plummets down his legs and into his shoes. Until
he sees on the screen the words Allegretto
ma non troppo. This, he understands.