Television

MS-DOS to replace BBC 2 in New Year

Classic operating system to hit UK screens in January

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Popular television channel BBC 2 is to be taken off the air and will be permanently replaced by a live stream of MS-DOS, industry insiders say.

The new channel will run for 24 hours a day, with the operating system being controlled by a variety of celebrities and the output broadcast direct to the nation via a VGA to RF modulator.

At 00.00 precisely on the 1st January 2018, the scheduled broadcast of Jools Holland’s New Year Hootenanny will cut abruptly to an Award BIOS boot screen via which the inaugural user in charge of the machine, former Embassy World Snooker Champion Steve Davis, will perform a series of administrative tasks including setting the system clock, changing the boot device priority list and pressing F10 to save and exit setup. It’s then over to Hobbit star Martin Freeman, who will be spending the first hours of his New Year trying to work out why the floppy drive isn’t recognised.

The remainder of the day’s schedule has been published in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times:


3.00am Format C:

Disaster strikes on the first day as This Life star Andrew Lincoln accidentally wipes the entire hard disk and has to call on P Diddy to help him sort it out. Strong language. Subtitles.

5.00am Autoexec.bat Behaving Badly

System file-editing fun with Neil Morrissey and Brendan Foster. Episode 1: SET PROMPT=$P$G. Neil intervenes after Brendan accidentally specifies the wrong IRQ port for the Sound Blaster 16, and a booze-fuelled argument erupts over whether the temporary directory should be C:\TEMP or C:\DOS\TEMP.

6.00am Bad Command or File Name

Benedict Cumberbatch attempts to launch QB45 so he can show off on live telly by writing a program in BASIC and outputting it to a .COM file. However, problems arise as a crestfallen Cumberbatch realises that DOS 6.22 only comes with the original QBasic, and so he’ll have to either (a) download a hooky copy on a separate machine and somehow work out a way to transfer it from a USB stick to a 3.5″ disk, or (b) just settle for having to save it as a .BAS file and run it from inside the editor.

9.00am You Should Have Bought the Next Model Up

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair tries to run the shareware version of Doom but is confronted with a message telling him that the game exceeds the largest executable program size. Panic abounds as he rings around various PC shops trying to find somewhere that (a) is open on New Year’s Day and (b) will sell him an extra 4mb of RAM for an obsolete personal computer with an unusually-designed proprietary motherboard.

1.00pm What the FUCK is MEMMAKER?

After four fruitless hours, the erstwhile leader of the Labour Party gives up and hands over the reins to Gary Lineker, who eventually manages to get Doom to run – albeit with no sound – by commenting out virtually every line in config.sys and freeing up as much expanded memory as possible.

3.00pm Six Hours of Shareware Doom with No Sound

Entertainer Paul O’Grady and tennis star Lleyton Hewitt are supposed to be trying to install Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, but quickly become distracted when they find that Lineker has managed to get Doom to work.

9.00pm The 9 O’Clock News

Huw Edwards two-finger types the latest stories.

11.30pm Don’t Do It, Simon!

Maverick impresario Simon Cowell installs Windows 3.1 live on national television in direct contravention of the Operating System Broadcasting (BBC 2 Replacement) Regulations 2017. Former EastEnders star Todd Carty joins him for a couple of games of Minesweeper before the police arrive.


It’s believed that the abolition of BBC 2 comes as part of a drive to cut costs at the BBC, where bosses are under pressure to justify the continued existence of the licence fee. A spokesman today refused to comment on speculation that beloved DJ Ken Bruce is to be axed and replaced by a 1994 AST Advantage i486 DX2/50 with a Roland Sound Canvas and a 256mb hard drive full of public domain MIDI files.