What if other world leaders followed the Obamas into TV? Just imagine … | Stuart Heritage


The Obamas are in talks to produce a high-profile series, but what would their peers come up with? Silvios First Dates, Putins King of the Woods the possibilities are endless, says Guardian columnist Stuart Heritage

As yet, nobody knows what Barack and Michelle Obama’s new Netflix shows will look like – they are reported to be in advanced talks to make programmes with the streaming service. While the smart money is on the Obamas highlighting inspirational stories from around the world, it might also end up as an interview show, or a dramatised memoir, or a full-volume down-the-barrel Infowars screech. Either way, to give a former world leader and first lady a platform like this is unprecedented.

And where the Obamas lead, others will follow. If any current or former world leaders are interested in joining the bandwagon, I have some ideas.

Donald Trump Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump

Given his CV, it only seems right that Donald Trump should host another gameshow when he leaves office. And, given the state of things at the moment, it only seems right that he should host it from prison. In his show What’s In My Pillowcase?, Trump would stroll around the canteen of a low-security blue collar facility asking other inmates what he had stored in his pillowcase. Is it a ham? Is it a shoe? Is it a mouse? Guess right and contestants can win a full dump on Trump’s golden toilet. Guess wrong and it’s a quick shivving in the showers. Small hint: don’t guess that it’s a letter of support from Melania. It is never a letter of support from Melania.

Photograph: AP

Kim Jong-un

Mythbusters is no longer the ratings juggernaut it once was, but arguably that’s only because it isn’t hosted by an unhinged hereditary dictator with designs on a global nuclear stranglehold. Let’s Find Out starring Kim Jong-un would remedy this. Each week he’d try to solve a different pop-science query, such as “How many fingernails can you remove before an intellectual pleads for clemency?” and “What would happen to Seoul if hundreds of thousands of enemy troops suddenly appeared from a network of secret tunnels?” It’d be fun and educational, as well as genuinely terrifying.

Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

David Cameron

Live from Chipping Norton is a fun-filled entertainment series, filmed in the grounds surrounding David Cameron’s expensive shed. Imagine TFI Friday if the only guest ever to appear was Jeremy Clarkson, the only musical guest was Alex James doing a long bass solo and the only words spoken by the host were a distant, regretful “I’m so sorry about Brexit,” repeated over and over again through a veil of tears and a cloud of cigarette smoke. That’d be Live from Chipping Norton.

Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Silvio Berlusconi

The former Italian prime minister is looking for love. Despite his fame – and despite already having a wife – all he wants is a little bit of companionship for the night. Silvio’s First Dates will address this. In a deserted, menacingly lit restaurant, Berlusconi will sit down with a succession of hand-picked women and try to woo them. Legally iffy and ethically reprehensible, Silvio’s First Dates will pretend that #MeToo never happened while asking the eternal question “Can a woman ever love an octogenarian criminal with a head like Jim Carrey from The Mask carved out of pickled conkers?”

Photograph: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS

Vladimir Putin

Bear Grylls, watch your back. Vladimir Putin is here with a new outdoors-skills programme called King of the Woods, where he demonstrates all the skills the average person will need to survive in the Russian wilderness for a meaningful length of time. Want to carve a chair from a tree? Putin will show you. Want to punch a bear dead and use its carcass as a sleeping bag? Putin will show you. Want to poison a rival so that the rest of the world instantly becomes terrified of you anew? Guess what, Putin will show you.

Photograph: Justin Trudeau/Twitter/Twitter

Justin Trudeau

This untitled programme doesn’t have a format or a structure. It’s just a slow TV-inspired close-up of Justin Trudeau’s face in a comfortingly black void, whispering words and phrases deliberately chosen to whip viewers into a state of glee. “Let me explain intersectional feminism,” he’ll coo. Or: “I’m about to rank every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from worst to best.” Or: “Oops, I just nationalised all public services again.” Whatever you do, don’t watch this for too long. You’ll get lost in his eyes and then throw yourself off a building.

Stuart Heritage is a Guardian columnist

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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