Speculation is rife that the BBC may create a new rolling conjecture channel that gathers together experts in every subject, places them all in one room and forces them to argue endlessly about what will happen next.
The new channel is likely to be based in London, or perhaps Salford, or Swansea, or maybe somewhere else entirely, with an estimated cost of tens of millions, or more, or possibly less.
Experts remain divided on the value of a channel dedicated entirely to idle speculation. ‘There is already far too much empty and useless conjecture based on nothing more than personal opinion,’ said one. ‘No there isn’t,’ said another.
‘In an age of 24-hour breaking news the public demand a constant stream of wild and pointless speculation,’ said BBC Director General Tony Hall. ‘If we don’t do it then people might start speculating for themselves, and who knows where that might end. Violent and bloody insurrection? Perhaps. We have a team of academics already discussing that very possibility.’
If the new channel goes ahead, industry insiders predict other news outlets will follow suit. Sky are already working on a vast pundit multiscreen, The Tower of Babble, that will provide a constant backdrop of experts in bow-ties spouting muddled and incoherent opinions while Kay Burley spins round on a rotating plinth and nods knowingly.
Meanwhile, Channel 4 News have hired a London cabbie to provide a running commentary of ill-informed prejudice to all their stories. If the cabbie isn’t available they also have Nigel Farage on stand-by.
Critics point to academic research that shows the ability of experts to accurately predict the future is little better than a blindfold chimpanzee on roller skates throwing darts at a board – which is, coincidentally, the current method of news gathering at Channel 5.
‘I don’t like to make predictions,’ said Dr Robin Urquart, Professor of Speculation Studies, ‘but if we do get a channel of self-proclaimed experts making endless tired and clichéd predictions about the future, then, at the end of the day, it could be a real game changer.’