The News Cycle

A church priest asks a local celebrity to open its fete

The priest reports this in the church’s parish newsletter

The church puts it on its parish website

A local events portal site picks this event up and lists it

A blogger who fancies the celebrity tweets about the event

A local news website features it in its weekend preview

A local radio producer reads the website and regurgitates the story with a clever new angle that is entirely invisible to anyone outside the station

A local newspaper editor hears the radio

That local newspaper editor is the entire staff of the local newspaper and thinks this will fill up another page or two so runs it immediately

Local newspaper’s website puts that copy online

The celebrity’s Google Alert tells him or her it’s up

Celebrity tweets a link

Celebrity’s fans retweet

A lot

Celebrity’s detractors make sarky comments about the parish fete

Two sarky comments make a newsworthy controversy, apparently

Local radio runs phone-in debate: Twitter – Any Better or Worse Since This Time Yesterday?

Regional television wants to interview the celebrity, settles for the priest

National television gets the celebrity

National newspapers see the broadcast and use story as excuse for photo spread

Newsnight sees the spread and plans feature but drops it on editorial grounds

National newspapers decry Newsnight’s decision and prove it is BBC bias

The Sun demands BBC Sex Licence Fee be scrapped

Conservatives threaten BBC

BBC appoints special correspondent for parish fetes

ITV says BBC using unfair advantage

ITN realises it can just announce a special correspondent – who’s ever going to check?

On the day of the event, BBC Breakfast and The One Show come live from the parish

BBC News 24 has a reporter on scene who reminds us it hasn’t been called News 24 since 2008 but still nobody listens

Newspapers devote five pages to slamming the media for the cost of all this coverage

Three radio writers separately come up with the same idea for a radio play set at the fete but BBC Radio 4 isn’t sure it’s really for their audience

Seventeen TV writers separately come up with the same idea

Before noon, Andrew Davies is commissioned to write it for ITV

The celebrity appears at the fete and says maybe thirty words, half of which you couldn’t catch

Twitter, Facebook and all entertainment blogs agree it was a speech right up there with the Declaration of Independence and that thing Beyoncé said that time

Twitter, Facebook and all entertainment blogs say it was a calamity right up there with that thing by the place where Katie Holmes went that time

Conservatives say it’s proof that people can raise money for themselves and that they’ll match the donations

The fete raises £37 from the public

The cash box is stolen before the end of the afternoon

Conservatives say this is proof that plebs can’t be trusted and consequently there’s no point matching any donations or providing health care or a national police service

The fete raises £1,912 from journalists drinking afterwards

The fete raises £9,177 from Young Conservatives drinking afterwards

That evening’s episode of The Archers includes two specially-recorded sentences about the fete that sound exactly as if they were two specially-recorded sentences

The News Quiz makes a great crack about the fete the next day

Mock the Week makes a fair gag about it in the next series two months later

The parish puts the money toward replacing the lead stolen from the church

The new lead is stolen from the church

Four hundred online fan fiction writers retell the story of the fete with themselves now a terribly important part of it

The fete features in an end-of-year roundup on Five

In the new year, ITV runs an expose of the celebrity’s past

Immediately after transmission, the BBC apologises unreservedly for the ITV documentary

On the first anniversary, ITV screens its drama version, now reworked as “Fete!”, a period drama written by Julian Fellowes

On the second anniversary nobody does anything

On the fifth anniversary, the parish priest writes a Was It Really Five Years Ago? sermon

On the ninth anniversary, nobody does anything because, come on, it’s the ninth

On the tenth anniversary, celebrities rush to be filmed talking about that great day

Local radio fails to get people to re-enact the events but tries to make it sound on air like it was a success

On the twentieth anniversary, the celebrity dies

Tributes to the celebrity centre on that time when there was, like, this fete and everything

The parish priest’s successor decides to cash in on the story and asks another local celebrity to open its next fete

William Gallagher

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