INT: ITV HQ - DAY
Big flip chart with a graph headed “VIEWING FIGURES” and a line pointing down.
Tony (Commissioning Editor): So, Simon, as you can see, what we really need is a blockbuster to lure them back.
Simon (Producer): Hmm. What sort of thing did you have in mind, Tony?
Tony: Well, what’s really getting them excited is Nazis. Swastikas over Buckingham Palace. SS marching down Fifth Avenue. That sort of thing.
Simon: Hmmm. OK, Tony, this is just off the top of my head... but what about a series that shows what would have happened if the Nazis lost the war?
Tony: Lost the war? Bloody hell, Simon, that’s so insane it’s almost brilliant. Tell me more.
Simon: Right, bear with me. Germany invades Poland and quickly takes over most of Europe. But Britain manages to hold out, Hitler overreaches by invading Russia, the Americans join the Allies after Pearl Harbour and following years of carnage and deprivation, with millions of people dying, the Nazi threat is finally vanquished.
Tony: Woah. This is blowing my mind, Simon. So what happens to Hitler?
Simon: OK, get this. Hitler dies. He. Dies. I haven’t thought of the details. Maybe he could shoot himself. In his bunker. Goebbels and some of the others do the same. But most of them are executed. One or two could escape to Argentina — which gives us a potential sequel.
Tony: But isn’t this going to offend people? Insulting the reputations of the brave hypothetical British resistance who didn’t sacrifice their lives to defeat the non-existent invaders?
Simon: I think we should take the risk, Tony. I see a closing montage of ravaged cities and concentration camps, a stern warning to viewers about the dangers of racist demagogues and a reminder that European nations should work together in peace and harmony...
(He tails off. Uncomfortable silence.)
Tony: Simon, you do realise that people like these shows because deep down they wish the Nazis had won after all?
Simon: Yeah, I guess you’re right. OK, shall we do the other thing?
Tony: Yes, OK, let’s do that instead. It’s less risky. Move back the News at Ten for an utterly inept and unfunny chat-show that everyone will take the piss out of on Twitter. Is Walliams free?