W1a, John Morton’s brilliant faux documentary about the BBC, ends next Monday 23rd October – and it bows out with a funny and delightfully stirring episode that once again succeeds in eviscerating the Corporation’s foibles – but with fondness and (yes) an essential respect.
There’s a moving closing speech which will warm the cockles of every Reithian heart, and a few loose ends are addressed, not least with regard to the many potential romances which have been bubbling away over three series.
And – SPOILERS – we also get to meet the real director-general.
Yes, that’s right. BBC director-general Tony Hall has been much discussed by all the comedy characters over the years, but the main man hasn’t appeared on screen… until now.
So, what convinced him to finally make his W1A bow? “This is the end of W1A and I think they have done such a good job; they are such a great team and they have long said, ‘Would you? Would you? Would you?’ and I said, ‘Not sure, not sure, not sure’,” Hall tells RadioTimes.com.
“At the very end I thought, ‘Why not?’”
As for the speech – which he doesn’t deliver by the way – he, perhaps not surprisingly, thought it was “rather splendid”.
With the curtain now coming down on three series of the BBC’s satire against itself, has it had a beneficial effect on the Beeb and its sometimes arcane management style?
Tony Hall wouldn’t like to say, but writer John Morton says, “My producer Jon Plowman told me that if we have done anything at all, maybe an effect of the show on the BBC – and maybe other organisations – would be that occasionally it would be 1 per cent more self-aware. If they get too far into nonsense at the end of a meeting, someone might think, or actually say, ‘We’re getting a bit W1A, maybe we have to start again.’”
The last ever episode of W1A airs on BBC2 at 10pm on Monday 23rd October