How Britain's media would respond to bubonic plague

BRITAIN’S highly responsible and scientifically literate newspapers had the best interests of the people in mind even 700 years ago. Here’s how they reacted to the Black Death:

SET OUR PEASANTS FREE

Keeping our honest serfs visiting each other’s hovels is a unfair curb on their freedom, even if they’ve got a few armpit buboes. When Gran dies from hideous boils too, that’s because she was suffering from the serious underlying medical condition of being 39.

TURNIP SOUP FOR ALL

A 14th-century version of Eat Out to Help Out sees barons praised to the high heavens. As the plague pits fill, Ye Medieval Sun runs six articles a day about how amazingly generous our noblemen were to give them a free shrivelled potato.

ONLY SINNERS NEED FEAR, SAYS PLAGUE SCEPTIC DOCTOR

The country’s press eagerly promotes various crackpots, mystics and beak-masked medics claiming the plague only hit sinners, blasphemers or Catholics, or weird theories that it was transmitted by seeing a magpie.

LYING MONKS IN IT FOR THEMSELVES

Teachers hadn’t been invented in 1346, so the Daily Mail hits out at anyone who can read. The debate is bitter and childish, with headlines like ‘Stay out of politics and stick to illuminated manuscripts, egghead monks told’ and ‘This monk is being PAID with YOUR tithes to chat to GOD every day’.

CHILDREN HIT BY LACK OF WITCH-BURNINGS

The hand-engraved press exploits any issue to undermine lockdown, such as kids’ deprivation of wholesome family days out to see Satan’s brides burned at the stake. They viciously oppose any other attempts to help children and insist that youngsters ‘have it easy these days’, labouring in the fields for just 16 hours a day and having sticks to play with.

NEW BABY JOY FOR EDWARD III

As swathes of the population are wiped out, the credulous are distracted by nauseating articles about Edward III’s new heir, or woodcuts of a hot female minstrel whose nose had only partially fallen off.

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'This is f**king shit': six warnings TV and films should really carry

DISNEY has warned viewers of Muppet Show episodes they contain ‘negative depictions of people or cultures’. But what should they really be warning us about? 

This is f**king shit

Could have prevented you watching Alien: Covenant, Two Pints of Lager, or any DC superhero movie where they’re all dark and miserable and never do anything but hit stuff. Gets straight to the point, and should be compulsory for all James Corden appearances.

Your mum and dad will watch this for the scenery

This show will be balls-achingly boring, whether a geriatric-pleasing ITV drama about a vet solving crimes near Loch Lomond, or some BBC jobs-for-the boys tedium like Ian Hislop’s Favourite Viaducts. But the scenery will be lovely. Hats off to the drone pilot.

New Tim Burton film

The full text would be: ‘Warning: you still think you like Tim Burton films because of Edward Scissorhands and that Oyster Boy book. But even Mars Attacks! was 25 years ago and ever since they’ve been bloated whale carcasses of gothic self-indulgence, overwhelming CGI and toxic levels of Johnny Depp. Rewatch an old one instead.’

Contains excessive genre-inappropriate political correctness

Alert you to irksome, heavy-handed, narrative-breaking wokery in silly kids’ nonsense like Captain Marvel or Doctor Who. Handy for gammons, who will watch intently, getting angrier and angrier until all the veins in their heads have exploded.

Made by trendy Channel 4 wankers

While generally good, Channel 4 still produces contrived ‘taboo-breaking’ programmes fulfilling its edgy remit. A warning would help you avoid shows where attention-seekers strip naked and inspect each other’s genitals in a glowing box for supposedly ‘educational’ reasons.

Will really piss you off

Good for flagging up massively hyped films with ludicrous twists, like Shutter Island or Last Christmas, and also prevents you hurling a mug of tea at your TV as Andrew Marr uncritically accepts Michael Gove’s claim that Brexit has made everyone five inches taller.