It had to happen. We were sitting ducks, cosmic dog tucker, bound to cop a clip around the lug hole from the gods. You can't meddle with the timeless order of things and not expect divine retribution. The moment TVNZ announced Coronation Street and MasterChef were swapping, we were toast.
Such capricious arrogance is the gods' prerogative alone.
And they don't appreciate mere mortals stealing their thunder. So they've dealt to us. That's as plain as the Jove on your face. Only the most devout atheist would deny the link between Coronation Street's relegation and Dan Carter's injury. Moguls take note. This is clear evidence of divine disapproval. And there could be more, lest we make some ritual atonement. Like putting Coro back where it's always been, guys! But not as it's always been. To boost ratings and attract viewers of both shows, One's new 7.30 blockbuster could be something like this ...
Scene 1: Janice Battersby's lounge
Janice and Roy (from Roy's Rolls) are canoodling on the couch. She's wearing a pink candlewick bikini and he's naked, except for a pair of socks and his cafe apron.
Roy: Bai 'eck, our Janice. [He tickles her chin with a spatula] This is the best affair I've had since the last episode.
Janice: [Rubbing olive oil on his chest] You're not so bad yourself, our Roy. I 'aven't 'ad this much fun since that night of love with the Polish drug dealer in the submarine. [She pours a beer]
Roy: [Taking a sip] Bai 'eck, our Janice. This is a cheeky brown ale.
Janice: Aye. I used some in the sauce for my baked hedgehog pie. After de-quilling the hedgehog, I were going to wrap it in a gluten-free filo, drizzle wi' some Danish low fat rock salt, garnish with radish, then bake for five hours at 200C and serve it up for us tea tonight!
Roy: Bai 'eck! You're cooking that for me? Happen you really do love me. Janice: You know I do, y'pan-fried haddock. Just don't tell me 'usband. He's never been one for fancy stuff.
Roy: Hey up! You're married?
Janice: [Tenderly pushing stuffing into his ear] I will be after the commercial break.
Roy: Bai 'eck! Wait till I tell our Haley.
Scene 2: The Rover's Return
Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver and Alison Holst are suspiciously prodding a pineapple and anchovy mousse on a bed of grated rissoles. The pub's hostess (now cooking contestant) Liz McDonald wipes away a tear as the wounded mousse flops, lopsided, on to the plate.
Gordon: [Ostentatiously tasting] There's no mouth feel. The yoghurt's at war with the kippers. This is effing awful!
Alison: Don't listen to him, dear. I think it's lovely. But ... did you think about muffins?
Jamie: Cor blimey, on yer bike, I fink this would be great for school dinners, know wot I mean, 'ow's yer farver?
[A striking young woman bursts into the pub.]
Gordon: Ahhh. You must be the new lesbian.
Fizz: [For it is she] Give over! I was born 'ere, y' Scotch egg. I just like 'ot food, that's all. Happen that's why I've come, our Liz. I were wondering if you've got any cocaine. I need some for me pudding.
Jamie: Cocaine? In a pudding? Cor blimey, up the Khyber, that's real fusion cooking!!!
Alison: What's cocaine?
Liz: [Puzzled] Hang about, our Fizz. You don't do puddings. I know you did a rosti gnocchi in a lemongrass broth once, for Tyrone, before he became an Islamic militant, but you've never been one for sweets.
Fizz: Aye, right enough, our Liz. I've always preferred the earthy richness of beetroot in a white wine sauce, but it's for me 'usband. Y'know, the school teacher. John. Alias Bevan, Kevin, Gavin, Dylan, Pinnochio and Cliff. [She sobs]
Liz: Come 'ere, love. What's happened now?
Fizz: Well, you know 'ow 'e kidnapped our Sally's Rosie because she were teasing 'im. Well, now 'e's kidnapped a whole netball team. And I've got to feed them!!!!!
Jamie: Cor blimey! Fank goodness we're 'ere, guv. We can show you how to whip up sumfink 'ealthy, can't we, lads?
Alison: Gosh , yes! Let's do muffins.
Scene 3: Prison
Murder suspect Gail McIntyre and her cellmate are talking.
Cellmate: You must show me some time how you put couscous in brandy snaps.
Gail: I will. As soon as I've proved my innocence. Bai 'eck, I didn't murder my 17th 'usband. Why does no one believe me?
Cellmate: They will, love. Hey up, I've got an idea. Let's watch some telly.
Gail: There's nothing on.
Cellmate: Yes there is. Coming up next, we've got MasterChef Botswana with Nigella Lawson, then Rick Stein On How To Fillet Whales, Graham Norton's Camp Kitchen, The Bulemic's Banquet and, finally, Country Colander.
Gail: [Smiling] Fantastic! I can't think of a better reason to watch the rugby. Go the ABs.