As you know, I have had great misgivings over acceding to my brother Rupert’s request to allow our expedition, to discover the source of the River Oooze, to be filmed by the BBC.
This ‘scripted’ reality is a very strange way of making a documentary.
For one thing – there seemed to be far too much concentration on romantic relationships – hardly the stuff of derring do !
The Director, who still seemed vaguely familiar, insisted that it was the kind of thing a modern audience wanted to see.
Much has been made, therefore, of the on/off relationship between Alonzo S. Whitebeard, the well known miser, and his paramour Iama Goldsack.
Normally they are well suited, for Miss Goldsack is very careful with money - she wears tarpaulin dresses to keep her wardrobe costs down. However, they have fallen out during this expedition because she had developed a hole in her shoe and insisted on buying a new pair – as woman are wont to do. Alonzo was furious at such spendthrift behaviour. He felt that the shoes, being only five years old, could easily be repaired by the simple action of stuffing with old newspaper. Apparently the exchanges between them have kept the tellyvisual audience enthralled. It appears that a nation is on tenterhooks as to whether they will be reconciled.
The last straw came, however, when the Director insisted on me parroting some ridiculous lines from the script he had concocted:
“Miss Goldsack you must forgive Alonzo for whilst the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, a capitalist, like me is a rational miser….? This is ridiculous, I would never say anything like that !” I declared angrily, to the Director. “What is this nonsense! And what is this rubbish you want me to say next about only carrying out this expedition in order to ‘exploit the labour-power of my kingdom to the greatest possible extent!?”
"It's not nonsense - it's Karl Marx!" spat back the Director "Of course, I don't agree with everything he says - he was an 'economic determinist'; whereas I prefer to emphasise the psychological subjective factors in revolution."
Suddenly, I recognised those grating tones that had been so successfully masked over the past weeks. My arch enemy Beaver Hateman – leader of that band of miscreant anarchists, the Badfort Crowd!
His full features were revealed as he moved the television camera from in front of his face. He then removed his jodhpurs to reveal his usual sackcloth attire!
“So, all along this has been one great deception to enable you to broadcast your propaganda and manipulate the television audience of Great Britain!” I accused.
“Not exactly” smirked Beaver “That was merely a distraction to enable us to inveigle ourselves onto your expedition!”
I was somewhat dumbfounded. “You have a scientific interest in the source of the Oooze?” I queried. “You only needed to ask, you know, we would have been happy with further crew members!”
“The Oooze?” cackled Beaver “I don’t give a fig for that! It’s the Homeward Foundation that I am interested in!”
“My charity?, er, what has that to do with anything?” I stuttered, fearing that Beaver may have gained information on my organisation that few are privy to.
“Yes, Unc. We know everything what you have been up to. Your so-called charity that channels the money of the rich and wealthy of Great Britain so they don’t have to pay tax!....and we know all about Gold Mountain, on the banks of this very river, where it is stashed away!” chortled Beaver.
“I will never tell you the whereabouts of those funds! They are all for good causes!” I riposted.
“I think you will, faced with these overwhelming odds!” Beaver rejoined.
At that moment, our group was suddenly surrounded, by a group of fanatical pirates and man in a white coat.
I recognised two of the pirates as Captain Arthur Wilson and his second-in-command Long John Splinter.
“Now, um, hurry along now and lay down your arms and surrender, that would be awfully good of you” said the Captain in his usual diffident manner.
“Yes, or we will string em' all up by the yardarm, won’t we, Sir!" thundered Splinter.
“Well, perhaps, but I am sure they will behave nicely, won’t you Uncle?” said Wilson.
“This is disgraceful! – how dare you hijack our expedition in this manner!” I blustered.
“Well, now, you see, Mister Hateman, here has assured us that there is a great deal of gold, for the taking – and, you see, that is what we pirates do – steal gold and that sort of thing…upsetting, I know,” murmured Captain Wilson in reply.
“Yeah, so shuddup Unc. Our scientist, here, Doctor Whom, has a gold detector and we are all going to follow him to find your ill-gotten gains!” shouted Beaver.
At this point a man in a white coat stepped forward, carrying a small black box that emitted a low hum. He was all teeth and curls, but with a pleasant open face.
“Once we find the entrance to your stash of gold you will tell us the keycode for entry!” threatened Beaver.
“Never!” I replied.
“I think you will! – or your faithful servant, the Old Monkey, will end up as a delicacy at our next feast!” cried Splinter.
The situation seems hopeless.