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No business like show business

Saturday night wouldn’t be the same without a reality show or three. There’s a whisper going round that Network Rail is in early talks with several TV companies to develop a new show with the working title of “How do you find a contractor for nothing?”, with the aim of securing the services of a new ‘super’ contractor.

With Jonathan Woss on gardening leave and Graham Norton away camping, it is hoped that the other well know Irish presenter Patti O’Doors will front the show.

Nationwide auditions will be held to select seven teams to go forward to the real show. The eighth place is going to the winner of a pilot which was recorded a few weekends ago.

A flock of Standards Committee members impressed the judges before their audition was cut short for health and safety reasons.

Five teams pitted themselves against the elements in a 24 hour possession. Unfortunately two of the teams had to be disqualified - one for failing to reach the Paper Usage Threshold when it was discovered that their COSS’s Rimini pack had only 64 pages, and the other for leaving the site clean and tidy which put a whole 13 minutes onto the job.

When the full version of the show airs, teams will be awarded points for achieving efficiencies, as dictated by Network Rail. These will all be of a cost cutting nature.  The production team believes that by cutting corners on safety and increasing risks, greater audience appreciation will be achieved.
The production team believes that by cutting corners on safety and increasing risks, greater audience appreciation will be achieved.

Working in a red zone without protective clothing or safety boots will attract the most points. These can be added to by preventing staff from taking meal breaks and working with minimum lighting during darkness.

The team whose workers travel to site in their own time, use their own transport and supply their own tools will gain bonus points. A team can play its joker card to gain double points by stopping all overtime payments.

Some difficulty has been encountered finding suitable judges. Chantelle is doing her nails and Len Goodwin has contractual commitments in the States. Several Z-list celebrities were eliminated by Network Rail when it was discovered that they expected to be paid double time for working over a weekend. This has resulted in some railway industry staff being press-ganged onto the panel.

They include Adam Upp from accounts, Otto Matic from the transportation unit and the Mentry twins, Rudi and Ella, from planning. Head judge will be the ever-talkative Gerry Mander from safety. Every week, RSSB will be paid £50,000 to provide a guest panelist whose job will be to write an extensive and meaningless report.

At the end of each programme, viewers will be invited to phone in and vote off one of the teams. On the last show of the series, the finalists will be asked to relay four miles of Continuous Welded Rail using two machines, three men with a wheelbarrow, a juggler and a black greyhound called Bob. The winner will be the team completing the work in the shortest time. Extra points will be earned if they can manage without the dog.

Proceeds from the phone vote will top-up the bonus fund for Network Rail’s senior executives while the winning contractor will be guaranteed at least two weekends work in the Scottish Highlands during January. The runners-up will resleeper one mile of track near Ribblehead Viaduct, also over the winter.

NR hopes that success with this latest venture will counteract the disappointment felt over its remake of ‘Cess Side Story’, the well known musical, which told the story of two gangs, The Bears and The Mangers, and the tension between them. Production had to end after a failure to gain funding for a 75 yard reinstatement of an old cess to act as a sound stage for filming purposes.

Editor’s Note: ‘The Bears’ was the gang name for the Workers. ‘The Mangers’ was the gang name for the Managers, so named because a large percentage of them could not spell ‘manager’.

Story added 1st February 2009

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