Once again I have been asked to act as a judge on the new series of the famous television programme "The Why? Factor"
Critic's can be a bit snooty about it - claiming the arguments between myself and, fellow judge, Wizard Blenkinsop are manufactured. But the audience are always agog with excitement - there is such a lot at stake for the contestants. First prize is a year's contract to work alongside Will Shudder in my Library and, of course, all the celebrity status that comes with the job.
On the remote chance that you have not watched the programme, I will explain the rules. Each contestant has a minute to impress the judges by putting forward a question and answering it in an entertaining manner. The first programme got off to a good start with a dwarf who posed the question "Why does water go down a plughole the wrong way in Australia?". He then gave a very exciting demonstration of the Coriolis Force using only mime. I felt I had to point out that scientists still argue about whether the effect can be seen in your sink of bathtub, but we decided to put him through to the next round.
But, of course, there is always some eager beaver who tries to pull off too big a subject for a Saturday evening audience. This particular beaver decided to tackle the question "Why are we here?".....well he had barely managed to get past "The origin and destiny of beavers is one of the greatest philosophical problems that has occupied the finest minds of all races throughout all ages.." when we had to stop him. Even Stephen Hawking would have trouble covering that one in a minute.
Badfort TV always schedule "Red Idol' against "The Why? Factor". Typical. "Red Idol" is about the search, each year, for the most ardent anarchist in Badfort. The prize is to lead the May Day parade. I must admit I cannot resist recording it, as it is often quite amusing. I particularly enjoy Beaver Hateman's put downs of the contestants. Sooner or later he always upbraids them for lack of revolutionary zeal. I always fast forward through the section where they have to invent and perform a song decrying my totalitarian rule - it's not funny, it's just hurtful.
As in previous years many wannabee's had come dressed as Che Guevara. I must admit, though, I did admire the one who had taken it one step further and came riding into the studio on a goat.