Panel (left to right):
Sir Richard Blagsome: handsome, ruthless, bearded entrepreneur. Has plans to airbus patients to third word countries for major operations on the cheap.
Sir Terry “every scan helps” Tealeaf: has recently added body CT scans as a reward for Tesco’s loyalty card scheme, and is now looking to leverage the healthcare sector bigtime.
Baron Sugar of Claptrap: has recently launched Am-Med, a wall mounted LCD screen that can beam subliminal messages from the DoH to punters stuck in NHS waiting rooms.
Bearded Toothless Hag (Dame Carol Blackshirt): nominal academic. Now works as a management consultant to big business, advising on how best to de-motivate staff.
Steve “I’m loving it” Eatalot: has a notion that drive-through surgeries are the way to go, man. If it works for Big Macs, then why not for GPs?
Each dragon has a table by their side loaded with wads of used Godivas, a Big Mac and a glass of water except Blagsome who also has an red model hot air balloon, and the BTH who has a voodoo doll with a pair of knitting needles stuck in it.
Sleazy looking gent in a grey suit walks up the stairs and onto the floor of the den. He removes the black drape from a flipchart to reveal a large photograph of a white iced cake with a solitary burnt out candle stuck in it and the letters “NHS” in blue piping across the top.
Punter: Hello, dragons. [Dragons murmur a response] My name is Lord Khazi, and I’m here today to ask you for three shillings and sixpence, in return for a fifty percent share in my business, the National Health Service.
All five dragons shake their heads knowingly whilst scribbling furiously on their notepads.
Punter [waves arm expansively in the direction of the flip-chart]: As you can see, the NHS is like a cake. We’d like you to share in that cake. In fact we believe we can all have our cake and eat it. [Sniggers] What we need to make that happen is a dragon or two on board, to help us get it past the punters.
All five dragons look up and frown at the flip-chart.
Blagsome [dismissively]: I own Virgin Wealthcare. What makes you think I am going to waste my money let alone time on your silly little cake? I’m out. [Lights a cook’s blowtorch and starts heating up his model hot air balloon.]
Tealeaf: What’s your turnover?
Punter: £90 billion.
Tealeaf: Gross and net profit?
Punter [looks confused]: Errr…now …[looks skywards for inspiration]…gross?…
Tealeaf: You don’t know what you are talking about. You’re not helping. You’re wasting my time. I’m out.
BTH: My problem is I just don’t get it. You are talking here about the biggest organisation Europe –
Punter: Only the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Wal-Mart supermarket chain and the Indian Railways directly employ more people, ma’am.
BTH: – and you want us to take it on for three shillings and sixpence. You’re nuts. I’m out.
Eatalot: I’m not loving it. You’re a few fries short of a Big Mac, pal. I’m out.
Baron Sugar: You’re not making any sense. You’re light-weight. You’re fired. I’m out.
Cut to ante-room. Link-man Wingnut Davis is wringing his hands and addressing the punter.
Wingnut [cringing]: Not your best performance, my Lord?
Punter: Shut up, Wingnut. You work for the BBC. Bullshit and Balderdash Corporation, if you ask me. Always asking stupid questions, never understand what we’re on about. I’m out. [Exits, stage left.]
Wingnut faces camera and shrugs his shoulders. Closing credits start to roll…
Concerned, caring voice-over: If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this programme, call the BBC Action Line on 0870…