Another day, another scandal at the BBC. The head of news falls on his sword and, much to her surprise, deputy producer Rachel Clarke is appointed in his place. It's not a good day to take over though, with the website going down and the suggestion that a clandestine cult with ties at the highest level of the corporation is somehow responsible. Rachel must decide what to do, and fast: in this era of 24-hour news there is no time to waste.
The cast—actor/comedians one and all including Phill Jupitus, Sara Pascoe and Hal Cruttenden—do their best with Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky's stilted dialogue, but there's precious little drama to the piece. Making News is modelled on sitcoms like The Thick of It and Twenty Twelve but without crackling satire this format falls flat. Lines are delivered as if anticipating a laugh – sometimes they come and sometimes they don't, but either way, there are no surprises. Jokes about the LibDems and the horrors of being sent to Salford abound. Close your eyes and you could be listening to The Now Show.
The farfetched plot hinges on the fact that two of the main characters—Rachel and veteran broadcaster Jonathan McVey—are dithering idiots, but both are so witless that their very presence stretch the bounds of credibility. The rest of the news team are more believable but all are eminently forgettable. This is cynical theatre that feels like it was written in a hurry.