“This is the greatest innovation in mass entertainment since the invention of television,” declared media mogul Justin Pubicker at a press conference to unveil his company’s latest technological breakthrough: a time portal. “The possibilities are endless – we now have the whole of history at our fingertips! I’ve already got my top programme makers working on new formats to fully exploit this new technology!” Indeed, Pubicker International – which controls numerous media outlets, including notorious British terrestrial TV broadcaster Channel Six (known to the press as ‘Channel Sex’), popular satellite TV stations Raunch TV and Eurofilth, independent film and TV producer Handjob Films, lads mags Bollocks! and Thrust, and tabloid newspaper the Daily Tits – has already announced a series of ‘fly on the wall’ factual programmes focusing on the real lives of various famous historical figures. “We’re aiming to cut through all that academic cobblers in history books and try to get at the real truth about the dead and famous,” enthuses Pubicker. “We’ve got a real cracker of an opener which tries to establish whether Alexander the Great really was a homo. We aim to follow it up with a look at Victorian Britain which will try to answer that age old poser: did Prince Albert actually have a Prince Albert?” Other episodes will feature the toilet habits of the Tudors – including footage of Henry VIII crapping out the window at Hampton Court – and the evocatively titled ‘Wanking and the White House’, which captures Abe Lincoln using his carefully placed stove pipe hat as a cover for a quick date with Fisty Palmer during his inauguration. Needless, to say the original developer of the time portal technology, Dr Lionel Dominie of Swindon University, is dismayed by Pubicker’s proposed use of his invention. “I intended it to be a tool for serious scientific and historical research,” says the physicist. “I assumed that Pubicker’s interest in it would be solely to use it for the production of educational documentaries, not lowest common denominator sensationalism!” Pubicker – who financed the scientist’s original research in return for exclusive commercial rights – is unimpressed by such protestations. “Screw education nerd-boy! Infotainment is the name of the game in today’s media – people don’t want to be lectured, they want to be entertained,” he responds dismissively. “The efficient delivery of sex and violence to the individual is the main purpose of technology in the modern world – what the hell else are the internet and video-enabled mobile phones for?”

Defending his company’s ‘tabloidisation’ of history, Pubicker claims that when shown actual footage of pivotal historical events, test audiences simply did not believe that they were watching the real past. “It was too drab and shitty, full of ugly pock-marked, disease-riddled, people speaking dialects they couldn’t understand,” he explains. “They’re used to seeing the past as presented by Hollywood – beautiful people, perfect lighting, no head lice or scabs, properly delivered dialogue and a proper dramatic conclusion!” The novelty factor, he contends, is the only way to get mass audiences interested in real history. “Look, they don’t want to be there in Napoleon’s tent at Waterloo as he works out his battle strategy with his generals,” he argues. “They want to know how big his cock was and whether he was pulling it off when he wandered around with his hand stuck down his britches!” Whilst the scope of programming is currently limited by the fact that the time portal only allows observation of the past, Pubicker is already looking forward to his scientists developing it to allow actual physical time travel. “Just imagine how the whole chat show format could be reinvigorated if we could snatch guests from the past and bring them to the studio,” he ponders. “Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to have our top hosts engaging some of history’s greatest figures in debate and challenging them to comment on some of today’s most pressing issues?” For those who cannot imagine a bemused Socrates being shouted at by Davina McCall, Queen Victoria being told knob jokes by Jonathan Ross, or Gandhi being shown gay porn websites by Graham Norton, plans are afoot for some more light hearted applications of time travel technology. “We’re planning to send pranksters Ant and Dec back in time to set up practical jokes on historical figures,” chuckles Pubicker. “You know the sort of thing – convincing Churchill that the RAF have lost the Battle of Britain, and seeing if he can be persuaded to run a swastika flag up over Downing Street and practice his goose-stepping in preparation for the inevitable invasion!” Other pranks proposed by the media magnate include trying to find Gandhi’s breaking point by continually squirting him with water whilst he carried out one of his ‘sit down’ peaceful protests in the 1930s. “Imagine – footage of Gandhi losing his rag and decking some guy,” he chortles. “Absolutely priceless! The ratings would go through the roof!”

Pubicker is also planning the ultimate in reality TV using the time portal. “Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Lord Buddha and assorted other prophets will be locked together in a house for six weeks, with religious hegemony as the prize,” he says. “What better opportunity will the public have to hear about the religions and philosophies that shaped the world – direct from their founders! Not only that, but the public will get their chance to vote the religions they hate the most, not just out of the house, but out of existence!” Dominie is horrified by such plans, warning that developing his portal to allow actual time travel could have catastrophic consequences. “Plucking people out of their time lines, or going back and intervening in historical events with puerile practical jokes could alter the course of history, resulting in changes to the present,” he claims. “Even the most insignificant intervention could have far-reaching consequences. Giving some Pleistocene cave woman a boob job and a G-string, for instance, could result in the Nazis winning the war!” However, such dire warnings do not impress Pubicker, who instead sees these potential dangers as another opportunity. “Jesus, that really could be the ultimate in makeover shows,” he enthuses. “Every week we set a challenge to a team of contestants to create a particular new present – religious tyranny, communist world domination, gay hegemony, that sort of thing – by going back to a specific period in history and altering it! And they can only use the tools and technology of the period they go back to! Then we can have another show where our experts have to change it all back! It’s pure genius!”