Following the overdue departure of The Great British Bake Off to Channel 4 the BBC lost no time in approaching me to devise a suitable replacement to fill the gap in its weekday evening schedule. I decided it was an opportunity to raise the cultural standards at the ailing broadcaster, which have long been in decline, and developed a proposal for a literary contest- The Great British Write Off. The concept was an organic development of my recent ideas for live writing festivals and The Literary Games, and will 'come as no surprise' to the thousands of cliché loving fans of my blog.National treasure Alan Bennet has agreed to fill the Mary Berry role, coaching a cohort of hopefuls through a series of gruelling televised literary exercises. The Paul Hollywood role is still open, as my exasperated production team has yet to find a literary Scouser (winces at cheapness of joke made at expense of home town).
The details of the exercises are still being worked out, but are expected to include:
- Short verse forms, including the limerick, the sonnet, and the haiku. Contestants will be free to choose their own subject.
- Three-act plays, for an ensemble of at least five players, based on themes nominated by the judges.
- Query letters, to be judged by a panel of celebrity literary agents.
- Full length novels, based on the most popular themes identified by a public vote.