Could you run the country?
A role-playing interactive drama documentary thing that ran on BBC2
The program gave three people the chance to run the country during a potential disaster. The crises included terror attacks on London, flood, plague, collapse of the power network and hostage taking. These had been designed to be as realistic as possible, although there where still some cases of artistic license. Viewers were able to make decisions interactively at the same time as the studio players. Each scenario was played once on BBC2, and then redone with a different set of "Ministers" on BBC4 immediately afterwards.
They receive advice from military, police and communication experts (at least one of whom will not agree with anyone else, usually either military (who was often teetering on the General Ripper
) or PR (who more than once advised the ministers take the path of greatest damage, because the lesser of the two would make a better headline). This communication expert was Amanda Platell, who had been the top Conservative spin doctor in their 2001 whipping, so her skills were already questionable...
Not only that, but the options placed before the players, the realism of some of the events or scenarios and the timeline (although that may have been due to editing
) were all criticized by some people. On more than one occasion the "Ministers" did something the government would not be able to do for legal reason (such as flood buildings with people still in them, murder under UK lawnote
) but no one told them until after
they had done it. Hardly realistic.
- General Ripper: Tim Garden walked into his territory at times. Later he became a peer for the Liberal Democrats.
- Too Dumb to Live: Or rather Too Dumb to Save Others. In the terrorist attack episode they let a jet crash into the Houses of Parliament despite having RAF fighters in the area to shoot it down (and indeed had scrambled them for that purpose). Afterward at least one minister still thought it was the correct choice.
- Too Soon: The Terrorism episode attracted criticism for having the same kind of attack as 9/11 as part of the scenario.