It’s nearly five years since Channel 4’s comedy-word problem mash-up 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown squeezed its way onto our screens.
The show launched in 2012 as part of Channel 4’s ‘mash up night’ celebrating the broadcaster’s 30th anniversary.
Quite by chance while digging through some old Christmas cards we had lying around, we at the RTS found a completely genuine* list of other planned mash ups which – for reasons that will become apparent – never made it to our screens. A tragic loss.
*we can dream
Law and Hors d’oevures
Bake Off was just building up a head of steam by 2012, but for some reason, hadn’t yet made it big among a younger audience. More jeopardy was needed, believed execs, and out of that came Law and Hors d’oevures – the BBC’s cake-based cop show.
‘We’d better make like a banana Mary,’ said Paul Hollywood, mouthwash-blue eyes glinting in light from the stove, ‘and split. The pigs are nearly finished in there. They'll be out here any second!’
‘That’s them now Paul! Quick, wipe down the surfaces! Have you got gloves?’ cried the baker, brushing off her floury flowery jacket and reaching into the oven to withdraw a hissing tray of bacon-wrapped cocktail sausages.
Little Britain's Next Top Model
Fourteen women who are all either David Walliams or Matt Lucas in a dress but with some facial hair for comedy, slug it out to win the title of Little Britain's Next Top Model and a modelling contract with a top UK agency.
But can the ladies earn the approval of the judges - industry heavyweights whose opinions can make or break a model's career and who are also David Walliams or Matt Lucas, although sometimes not in dresses?
Olympic boxer David Haye and showrunner supremo Shonda Rhimes join forces for this powerful medical docu-drama which follows the Olympian (and one of 2014's Sexiest Vegans) as he reinvents himself as a neurosurgeon.
‘Having spent so much time hitting people in the face, I was really fascinated by the idea of not doing that for a bit,’ Haye explained at the time, ‘and I reckon I’d be quite good at brain surgery’.
The Only Way is Newsnight
‘Oh my god, I can’t believe you just said that to my face’ cries veteran broadcaster and interviewing supremo Jeremy Paxman in the pilot fusing BBC Two sitcom Newsnight and ITV’s hit regional drama The Only Way is Essex. ‘Get him Jeremy!’ piles in the usually poised Kirsty Wark, raising a sharp eyebrow and penknife, ‘teach that lying politician what happens when they mess with Newsnight’. In the background Evan Davies & RTS Award nominee Emily Maitlis get in an argument and have to be separated by security.
Why this never made it to a full series we’ll never understand.
Love Island with Bear Grylls
Can something be a mash up if it actually precedes the shows it is a mash up of? We’ll leave such questions to philosophers and scholars.
Survival guru Bear Grylls – a man whose very name sounds like a heavy duty barbeque – takes on an environment way outside his comfort zone. The islanders inhabit a remote island lost in the Mediterranean.
‘Everything you see here is a trap designed to mislead you and trap you. You will need to work together to survive. Beware of snakes and fuckboys,’ he warned the terrified gaggle of scantily-clad northerners.
Dancing on Ice
The latest in 90s rapper Vanilla Ice’s documentary series sees the star undergo a series of endurance tasks which mainly revolve around people doing dances on him. 16 contestants over about four-and-a-half weeks compete in a series of strenuous dance routines to find who is the next Dancing on Ice champion.
‘In all, it was a really rewarding experience. The dancers were so talented. I have so much respect for the work they put in,’ said Vanilla Ice’s agent. Mr Ice was not available for comment.