Britbox, a collaboration between ITV and BBC designed to take on the market supremacy of Netflix and Amazon Prime, has been kicked into the long grass because the broadcasters could not agree over the involvement of Ant & Dec. ITV insisted the lovable audience-boosting Geordie duo should play a major part in the service’s output but the ‘highbrow’ BBC was having none of it
‘We will not allow this new venture to be sullied with dumbed-down lowest common denominator rubbish,’ said a BBC insider. ‘Look, we could get Noel Edmonds and that pink rubber wanker to do that sort of bollocks for a fraction of the cost. Ant and Dec ripped off most of their Saturday Night show from Noel anyway.’
Senior ITV executives had proposed Stephen Mulhearn – a curiously terrifying meld of Ant and Dec in one single being – could be a workable compromise, but upon reviewing tapes of Mulhearn’s ITV shows the BBC quickly vetoed the move, pointing out they would actually prefer Joe Pasquale or Keith Lemon if push came to shove.