Sian swaggers on-stage, grinning and waving.
Sian: Hubble bubble, toil and trouble,
Mire churn, and caldron bubble!
As Sian speaks, a camera circles the rim of the Mucky Dip, which belches copious amounts of dry-ice fog.
Sian: Grisly goo and grimy grot,
Mixt within our fetid pot.
Week-old curry, stale kebabs,
Aldi horsemeat, Cromer crabs,
Slops of lager, butts of cigs,
Crackling from Dave Cam’ron’s pig.
For our muck we spare not tuppence,
Waiting for some brat’s comeuppance!!
The audience showers Sian with applause.
Sian Thank you, thank you! I’m Sian Welby, and I come not to praise our contestants but to bury one of them. Fair is foul and foul is fair, foulness is the punishment, and our muck by any other name would smell as foul! Measure for measure, gunge doth o’erswell the cauldron, so without much ado about nothing, let’s bring on our three witches!
Sian: Returning for her weigh-in is nutritionist Cara. She’s 33 and from Shrewsbury.
Sian: Now Cara, suppose I need to go on a diet – [looks around menacingly] which I don’t, before anyone starts – what would you recommend for me?
Cara: It depends, Sian. I’d have to take your weight and measurements, and evaluate your lifestyle requirements so I could work out the best plan for you.
Sian: What about the Triassic Diet, for instance?
Cara: [looking horrified] The Triassic Diet is extremely dangerous! It can cause heart palpitations and gallstones! Only an ignorant moron would advise such a diet!
Sian: Huh? But you were bigging it up just last week!
Cara: [haughtily] I would never recommend the Triassic diet.
Sian: Hmmm, I thought this might happen, which is why we’ve got the clip cued. Play it back, boys.
A snippet from the previous epsiode plays: Cara: …The new Triassic diet is where it’s at!
The audience boos.
Cara: [flustered] I, er… what I was saying is, uh, that sadly the Triassic diet is popular among the misinformed! That’s why you need professional nutritionists like me to suggest scientifically proven plans. Like the M-diet, for instance.
Sian: What does that stand for – metabolism, I suppose?
Cara: No, on the M-diet you must only eat foods that begin with the letter M!
Sian: [frowning] Riiiigghttt… So I can have a meal of mutton, macaroni, mushrooms and mozzarella, and marzepan for dessert?
Cara: Got it! And wash it all down with milkshake. That’s the great thing about the M-diet; it’s easy to know what you can and can’t eat, and you get a wide balance of foods!
Sian: But… but… no, I’m not even. Cara, it’s a good thing you like things beginning with M, because we have 15,000 litres of such a substance. It’s called muck, and we could be serving it to you in a few hours’ time!
Cara presses her tongue under her lip and shakes her head.
Sian: [facing the camera] And surely many of you will want to treat Cara to her just desserts, but first let’s meet her sisters in sin!
The taxi driver
Sian: Our second ne’er-do-well is Mel. She’s 24 and from Clacton-on-Sea, where she’s been driving her taxi for four years.
Sian: Pffft, where do I start with you lot, Mel? You take the longest routes so as to clock up more miles on the meter, you don’t accept cards, and you claim not to have change!
Mel: [rolls her eyes] Bl’ming hell, I’m a taxi service, not a bank! Want me to run a bureau de change [English pronunciation] out the side of my cab? S’pose I might need to, what with all these foreigners coming in the country.
Sian: But those things are minor niggles for the poor passenger, compared to being a captive audience to whatever diatribe the driver chooses to spout. There’s a good quote out there: it’s a pity the people that can solve the world’s problems are all too busy driving taxis!
Mel: [missing the irony] It is indeed Sian. I’ve got much more of a clue than these politicians what’ve never had a real job. I see a lot of the world in my cab – sometimes I drive as far as Frinton – and I give rides to the highest and lowest in society. Just last week I took Douglas Carswell to the station. He’s Clacton’s MP, you know – decent bloke, but too soft on the EU. “Douglas,” I says to him, “you’re a decent bloke, but you’re too soft on the EU!”
Sian: Erm, isn’t he UKIP?
Mel: Exactly – too soft! Whole country’s too soft. We need to bring back the cane in our schools, instill some discipline! Followed by national service and then send ’em down the mines!
Sian: [nervously] Yes, well, if we could move on—
Mel:…and immigration! Don’t get me started on immigration…
Sian: I didn’t.
Mel:…Now I ain’t got anything against anyone foreign. I take me two weeks in Benidorm every year…
Mel:…but people what come here ought to speak the language proper…
The audience boos Mel into silence.
Sian: [crossly] We’ve run out of time for further questions, but suffice to say Mel, the public are fed up with you taking them for a ride. I’m sure they’d love to give you a lift, followed by a very messy drop-off!
Mel puts her hands on her hips and makes an incredulous expression at this suggestion.
Sian: [faces forwards] And no doubt you’re all eager to get Mel’s meter ticking upwards, but before you commit, let’s meet our remaining contestant.
The market researcher
Our third and final rogue is Gail. She’s 28 and from Edinburgh, and she’s worked in market research for six years.
Sian: Now folks, while Mel wants you to hear her opinions, Gail here is anxious to hear yours. And she’ll go to any means to get them, won’t you Gail? On the street corner, on the phone, through those annoying website pop-ups, even knocking on doors!
Gail: [in a breezy, saccharine-laden voice] And how satisfied are you with our performance? Very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
Sian: Very dissatisfied! And I ask the questions here, not you! The point is, Gail, people find it extremely annoying when you badger them to fill in surveys.
Gail: [smarmily] How often does this happen? Daily, once or twice a week, once every few weeks, rarely, or n—
Sian: TOO BLOODY OFTEN!! Listen Gail, I’ve been on your website, and some of these questionnaires are completely pointless. There’s a 50-question survey on bathplug preferences, and another one asks respondents what they would be willing to do for charity. Options include getting gunged in jeans and eating a spider!
Gail: But think of the incentives. Did you know, for every survey you complete you earn 2 Nectar points!
The audience snorts in derision.
Sian: And that’s another thing: you lure people in with these so-called “rewards” that turn out to be next to worthless!
Gail: So what rewards would tempt you to take a survey? Tick as many as apply: Air Miles, days out at the zoo, vouchers for Little Chef—
Sian: Can you stop doing that!? I’ll tell you what reward the public would love: seeing you take a bath in our vat of slop!
Gail: And what colour slop would you pref—
Sian: OH, SHUT UP!! [Exhales deeply, turns to the camera and resumes her genial smile] And so in the Comeuppance studio where we lay our scene, the nine men’s morris is filled up with muck, but not all shall be punish-ed. To dip or not to dip – that is the question we put to thee. Choose thou thy villain, and to this chair bind her! Ought it be Cara, the diet guru who leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth? Ought it be Mel, the cabbie who drives you to despair? Or ought it be Gail, the persistent questioner who won’t take no for an answer? Parting is such sweet sorrow, but we’ll be back for an update!
Alternative poll link
Poll will close at 10pm on Friday 6th May. As always, voting permitted multiple times with gaps of at least 12 hours between votes.