Stop the clocks, cut off the telephone, ruthlessly rip off W. H. Auden, for Shooting Stars has been cancelled. My Twitter timeline, always a goldmine of contrary opinion, was full of cries of 'nooooo!' and 'how could they?' and 'Are they still alive?'
When confronted with the sudden death of a TV show it's common practice among the loyal fan-base to reach out to others through the Forums. There you find people bellowing into the yawning vortex of the internet, "please GOD for the love of George Dawes DON'T let SKY get their hands on it!"
Yes, SKY, or to give it it's full name, SYKYNET, are the sworn enemy of cult comedy fans - possibly the world over - but certainly in the United Kingdom. SKY means subscription, which as we all know involves signing over your soul with a pint of your own blood, which is kept in a secret bank in Geneva, to be administered to Rupert Murdoch intravenously once a month or whenever he feels like he's being anywhere near transparent. But, as forum junkies, and Yoda might say, "there is another" and his name is Dave.
Dave likes comedy. Dave is everyone's best mate, Dave don't want your money, honey, Dave just wants your love. It would seem to be a commonly-held belief among forum chatterers that if shows like Shooting Stars were to go to Dave, they'd be in safer hands than with the Craggy-Faced-One, the Withered of Oz. Dave does have a tendency to repeat himself we all know it, a little like a senile relative. But every now and then he comes out with something brand new and edgy that people actually find funny and don't just laugh along with because they've paid through the nose for it and damn it, their going to sit until the bitter end and enjoy it no matter what. So is Dave the new champion of British comedy or just a retired General reminiscing over past glories?
Far from being just another 'Comedy Gold' channel the list of shows being 'Made By Dave' is growing. Argumental, now into its fourth series and revitalised with new host Sean Lock, Driving Wars with Colin Murray, Jo Brand's Big Splash and One Night Stand with just about everybody else are biting at the ankles of the BBC's output of ailing panel shows and sitcoms, neither of which are sticking their heads above the trenches of originality, although Would I Lie To You is a tour de force from David Mitchell and Lee Mack and QI has that warm fuzzy appeal normally found on radio 4. The backwards looking Mrs Brown's Boys is depressingly retro, but Miranda's brand of 'classic' situation comedy is delightfully subversive.
So will Dave open his mansion doors to Vic and Bob? Will they go viral on the internet? Will Self's cameo in the Britney video ever be bettered?
The brilliant and irreverent Shooting Stars are not wanted now, and put out is everyone.