Eskimos on TV

Cameras were installed under existing CCTV points, framing the high street, pubs and shops from a multiverse of angles. Replicating the feed added the veneer of down-home authenticity Brewster was embracing.

The home-spun howdy-doody was encapsulated in the odd couple casting Brewster pulled from the local grab-bag. Older male/younger female fitted the contrasting anchor archetype and they bounced off each other with eye rolls and smirks.

Dan had the sour lips and gravel tones that could be mistaken for integrity, while Lizzie had the sine wave shifts between enthusiasm and grump that could be mistaken for honesty. She drew breath only to punctuate her sentences with a laugh echoing Nelson from The Simpsons. “Meh-heh.” Little else slowed the stream of consciousness. They said what they thought and they meant what they said.

Within days, they were up and running, or at least, padding steadily. Passers-by caught on camera received a backing band commentary. Late night ramblers, pubs open after hours, door-to-door sharks – all were reported by the neighbourhood eyes on the lamp post.

VIEWERS WANTED REAL LIFE AND WERE GLAD IT WASN’T THEIRS

Litter bugs were fingered. There were discussions about the level crossing waiting times; the doctor’s surgery was an endless source. Why is he in there so often? Mowing the lawn the wrong way. What’s wrong with them? Emptying garbage in a neighbour’s bin? Throwing dogshit in the hedgerow? You’ve been rogered charlie.

Exercise classes in the village hall. “She needs to lose some weight”. They’re buying cakes. The queue outside the fish and chip shop. “Meant to be on a diet.” The matrix of meaningless interactions gave them meaning. Join the dots. If there wasn’t a connection, invent one, fill in the gaps.

The viewing figures rose. It was a refreshing alternative to every other channel reporting the same stories. The most boring news on the planet became the most addictive for a few days – viewers wanted real life and were glad it wasn’t theirs.

There was still something missing, it needed a spark. Brewster knew the audience would flip once the novelty wore off. He made a call. “We need a personal touch,” he said. “Tell our dynamic duo to give a bit more background…”

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