Sunday, February 04, 2007

Channel 4 to work with Home Office on prison reform

The Home Secretary, John Reid, today announced that Channel 4 and the Home Office would be forming a new partnership to end the overcrowding and mis-management in the UK’s prisons.

"In a landmark partnership, we will be turning a number of prisons over to be administered by Channel 4 television," announced Dr Reid at a press conference today. "The broadcaster will bring its expertise to the problem of overcrowding in Britain’s prisons."

The Home Secretary explained that the prison numbers would be regulated by a series of phone vote evictions.

"The prisons’ security cameras will be broadcast on a new digital TV channel and we know that the public are very keen to follow the tedium in the daily routines of people kept in close quarters, sharing sleeping and washing facilities," explained the Home Secretary. "So clearly this is a solution that is fit for purpose and the revenue will be useful too," he added.

"We have experience not just of running phone voting," commented Hilary Billingsworth of the Channel 4 board. "We have great experience dealing with incarcerated racists, and further we are used to dealing with con-artists – i.e. those who pretend to be someone they are not," he explained, "Such as the alleged celebrities we have been trotting out for years,"

Dr Reid also paid tribute to other competencies that Channel 4 will be bringing to the joint venture.

"The Big Brother house is already a clear example of ‘what great looks like’ for the rest of the department to focus on. In three weeks, they have had only two men escape. That already puts the Big Brother house as the best performing prison," he said.

Tony "The Spanner", currently midway through his sentence in Wandsworth prison, spoke by video link.

"Normally people in Big Brother moan about each other being fake. In this version viewers will be able to see who is really innocent, rather than just claiming to be," he commented from a prototype prison ‘Diary Room’. "If it goes well for me, I could be in the celebrity version when I re-offend, it would be nice to meet some newspaper editors and pop stars."

Channel 4 denied this was a desperate move to re-invigorate a tired franchise with ever more salacious content and that the replacement of programme sponsors Carphone Warehouse with Imperial Leather soap had been planned for some time.

"We have always maintained that if those involved want to have sexual encounters we are not to intervene. It just might be that with this reality format any such adult entertainment is a touch more, erm, ferocious than they expect."

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