“Forecasting the weather isn’t enough any more – people expect you to be able to make it happen!” declares Declan Firkler, a director of one of the potential contenders for the contract to provide the BBC with weather forecasts in an interview in top tabloid The Shite. “That’s why the Met Office have lost the BBC contract – they kept promising all this great weather in their forecasts, but just couldn’t deliver! The public just got tired of being promised sunshine and getting torrential rain instead – is it any wonder that their TV forecasters were being stoned in the street and that a mob armed with blazing torches tried to burn down their headquarters?” Firkler’s firm – Climate Changers – is promising one hundred percent accurate weather forecasting, a claim dismissed both by its rivals and professional meteorologists alike. “There are just too many variables involved for even the most sophisticated super-computer to be able to number crunch a hundred per cent accurate forecast for twenty four hours ahead, let alone an entire week,” explains Herbert Blanks in rival tabloid The Daily Norks, Head of Meteorological Studies at Redcar University. “To be honest, I can’t help but feel that we’ve gone too far down the technological route in attempting to forecast the weather – we need to get back to more traditional methods which are more in tune with nature.” Indeed, Blanks is himself preparing to tender for the BBC contract, eschewing high tech solutions in favour of a forecasting methodology pioneered by his Grandfather.

“I’ve got this bit of seaweed nailed to my shed door,” he reveals. “I check it twice a day: if it’s wet, then it’s going to rain, if it is dry, then the weather will follow suit. After all, that’s all that people want from a forecast, isn’t it? They just need to know whether to carry an umbrella and what coat to wear.” Blanks claims that his seaweed has proven to be surprisingly accurate during extensive trials he carried out during the Summer. “On a twenty four hour basis, it was at least as accurate as the Met Office’s daily forecasts,” he says. “But it is far cheaper than their methods, which would have to be a big plus for the BBC, wouldn’t it?” He points out that his Grandfather had considerable success using the same methodology, some seventy years ago, when he provided forecasts for the Daily Excess newspaper. “They used to base front page headlines around his long-term forecasts,” muses the meteorologist. “He successfully predicted the 1963 big freeze, for instance – the headline was ‘We’re all going to freeze to death in white Hell’. Not to mention the 1976 heatwave: ‘We’re all going to burn to death in solar furnace.’ And all he had was a bit of seaweed.”

Another rival forecaster has poured scorn on Blanks and his seaweed, even calling into question his Grandfather’s forecasting proficiency. “The old codger might have got it right those two times, but Blanks doesn’t mention all the times he got it wrong, does he?” says Ephraim Thumbley, the self-styled ‘West Country Weatherman’, speaking to The Daily Norks from his home near Barnstaple. “Like the national panic he caused in 1959 with his prediction that the South East of England was going to be hit by a torrential rain of fish: ‘We’re all going to be battered to death in piscean purgatory’. Emergency fishmongers were deployed across the Home Counties and thousands of specially trained cats were deployed to eat the fallen fish. People were terrified – but it never happened!” Thumbley dismisses the notion that seaweed can be an accurate indicator of the weather. “Personally, I employ far more sophisticated equipment – I’ve got half a dozen pine cones on my window sill. If they are open, it’s going to be fine weather, closed and it will be raining,” he claims. “But the degree to which they open and how many are open gives me a far more sensitive reading than a bit of bloody seaweed!” The rustic expert, who is confident of winning the BBC contract, also has a back up system to act as a control for his cones. “If I look out of my kitchen window, I can see a herd of cows in the neighbouring field,” he says. “If they are lying down, that’s a sure sign of rain.”

Despite Blanks’ and Thumbley’s faith in their naturalistic solutions to weather forecasting, Climate Changers remain confident that their high tech approach will win them the BBC contract, although they are reluctant to reveal any details of their forecasting system. Nevertheless, top investigative journalist Bob Jankers believes that he has uncovered the firm’s sinister secrets. “The clue is in their name – they can, quite literally, create localised artificial climactic changes,” he claims in the latest edition of Practical Meteorology. “That’s how they can claim one hundred per cent accurate forecasts: they will already have decided what the weather is going to be in each locality!” His conclusions are based on investigations into some of Climate Changers’ previous clients. “They seemed to have done a lot of work for various sport-related bodies,” he told the periodical. “Most recently the MCC – they didn’t want to talk to me, but I eventually found someone there who was prepared to tell me about Climate Changers.” According to Jankers’ source, the company had approached the cricketing authority, claiming that it could influence the outcome of England’s test series by employing its ‘weather machine’.

“Their proposal was that, if England were suffering a batting collapse or otherwise taking a pasting, they could ensure a draw by having the match rained off by a localised deluge,” he wrote. “Conversely, if things were going well, they could guarantee good weather to prevent all of England’s efforts going to waste by having rain stop play.” There is some doubt as to whether the firm’s services were actually used in the recent Ashes series against Australia, with the journalist noting that, although winning the series, England still lost two of the five tests. Jankers also claims to have uncovered evidence of the firm being involved with even shadier clients, namely Far Eastern betting syndicates. “They bet big money on the outcome of non-league football matches and attempts to fix the outcome are rife,” he claims in the article. “Obviously, an undetectable way to fix matches would be to have them abandoned due to extreme weather conditions once the desired score line has been reached – whilst the result might not stand officially, it would be good enough fort these shady syndicates. So, next time you see a Wessex League match in Dorset abandoned due to blizzards, in August, just ask yourself if Climate Changers could be involved, Then ask yourself if this is really the sort of outfit you want providing your BBC weather forecast?”