Executive Producer: So, minions! Christmas is coming. The goose is getting fat. What can the old man, that being the nation, expect from ITV to rival Strictly and Deadenders in his hat?
Producer 1: Erm, well, we weren’t given a budget this year for anything new…
Executive Producer: No, you were not. This is why I have come up with a Glee style mash-up: Drum roll, please. Midsomer Murders – wait for it – in Downton Abbey.
Producer 2: Ok, positive idea, though ratings have dropped for both of their recent series.
Executive Producer: Precisely. We fuse them together and combine their viewership.
Producer 1: Or halve them…
Producer 2: Right, ok, what lines will the storyline be along?
Executive Producer: Easy. Ratings dropped when Lady Sybil popped off, so we bring her back! She’ll play the role of the ghost of Christmas past and take Inspector Barnaby and his sidekick back to Downton Abbey. Bates kicks off killing everyone – mainly because Lark Rise to Candleford are paying big bucks to get him back, Barnaby solves it, they have afternoon tea.
Producer 2: Great, great! – but wouldn’t it be easier to have a Poirot mashup? It is the same era as Downton, and we wouldn’t have the issue of Midsomer not being anywhere near Downton.
Executive Producer: But then where’s the Christmas element? Think man!
Producer 1: But neither programme will have any longevity after this.
Executive Producer: Well, we won’t kill off the whole cast of Downton, only the ones the American viewers don’t respond to: anyone English with nice teeth – ruins the Americans’ whole image of the British. And Midsomer will survive. They’ve overcome worse, like that episode with the man pinned down with croquet hoops and pelted with wine bottles.
Producer 2: Oh, brilliant, I remember that one!
Producer 1: And what will we call it?
Executive Producer: Ah, this is the best bit. Along the theme of TOWIE… MDMA.
Producer 2: (Claps) Bravo!
Executive Producer: Now you’re thinking.
Producer 1: I’m thinking that we should bank on The X Factor on Ice for our Christmas bonuses.