Following a series of customer complaints, the BBC has decided to trial a new service where viewers can choose – at the touch of a button – to replace Gary Lineker’s presence on screen with a computer-generated avatar that is more in keeping with a modern audience.
Commissioning editor Paula Dickson said that advances in technology can now offer a host of possibilities to reduce the amount of discomfort generated by the multimillionaire ex-footballer pundit when he spouts his unwanted opinions on national television. “Tired of hearing him go on and on about VAR. Want to avoid seeing him in his underpants again? Simply switch in an avatar of a filthy unshaven Glaswegian tramp for the duration of Match of the Day,” she said. “Sit back, relax, and spend the evening Lineker-free.”
The service, to be branded BBC iHateYou, will be available for £7.99 per month this summer. For a small additional fee, it will be possible to replace Lineker with an aggressive high definition Eric Cantona, who will throw seagulls at the screen when the blue button is pressed and – on receiving a red button trigger – will drop-kick Alan Shearer in the face.
But requests to make Des Lynam available to frustrated ladies ‘of a certain age’ will not be entertained as “We do have to maintain some moral standards,” said 57 year old Ms Dickson, whose husband is a career couch potato.