The team of BBC1’s Would I Lie To You? were left stunned last night when top BBC executives forced their way onto the set during a live recording and kidnapped team captain David Mitchell.
Police were called to the BBC headquarters in Salford but ultimately decided not to intervene.
“Come on,” said Superintendent Julie Charles. “Plebgate? All that stuff between the BBC and the government? We’d be torn apart.”
Rob Brydon, the host of Would I Lie to You?, said to our reporter:
“It was like something out of a nightmare. The doors suddenly burst open and Tony Hall, the Director-General, and about ten executives in suits ran in with a large leather sack. David was in the middle of taking apart Lee’s story about playing Uncle Bulgaria in the pilot of The Wombles, when they threw the sack over his head and dragged him screaming from the studio. The audience tried to intervene, but Hall threatened to axe The Great British Bake Off and that was that.”
BBC HQ was in chaos for most of the night, but early this morning, Tony Hall appeared outside to give a statement to journalists:
“I’d like to start by saying that David is perfectly safe. While this may all seem a little extreme, I assure you that what happened is simply BBC policy. For many years now, we have been grooming David to be Stephen Fry’s replacement. They both went to Cambridge, they were both in footlights, they both started out in films and sketch shows, and they both present and feature on endless panel shows where they make everybody else around them look stupid and unfunny. They also both have lopsided hair.
“We had intended to wait a few more years. David really needed to write a couple of novels before we considered him fully Fried, as it were; and he hasn’t once had a meltdown of any kind. Unfortunately, Stephen quitting QI forced our hand, so we had to move things along more quickly than we had anticipated.
“David is right now being coached in the fine art of Fry-ness, and we hope to have him safely installed in the QI seat by next year. Until then, he’s being fed and watered and no-one needs to worry.”
David’s wife Victoria Coren Mitchell was unavailable for comment, but his comedy partner Robert Webb was seen in the HQ foyer on the phone to his agent, shouting: “But what if they bring back House and Hugh Laurie says no? Will the same happen to me? I told you to double check those contracts!”