The Baron

Thursday 8 May 2008 10:35pm – 11:35pm

With Malcolm having been run out of Gardenstown for upsetting the locals with his comments at the Strawberry Fayre of “don’t you know Jesus Christ is a sausage?” things take a dark turn in the race to become Baron.

With polling days three days away, the election itself is in doubt. Will there even be a Baron? An unrepentant Malcolm is in exile on the outskirts of the village and the locals only agree to allow filming to continue if he does not return. A local tells the cameras that “people are genuinely shocked that someone they have taken into their community could be so insensitive.” Another blasted: “He was just an ignorant, obnoxious person, I hope never to see him again in my life.”

Mike reflects on Malcolm’s actions. “You’re basically living in a time warp up here, the locals aren’t interested in what’s going on outside this little haven, and we’ve introduced them to a lunatic.”

Despite being in exile, Malcolm’s name remains on the ballot papers. However, the race to become Baron is not the two horse race Mike and Suzanne think it is as unbeknown to them, a secret number of Malcolm supporters are determined to keep him in the running to become Baron.

In an effort to smooth out relations between the villagers and the candidates, Mike and Suzanne have been asked to help at a weekly charity lunch for over 100 people. Sensing an opportunity to win extra votes, Mike is first on the scene to help prepare the meal. Once the food is ready, Suzanne carries the soup Mike has made out to the villagers which leaves Mike cross – he wants full credit for making the meal. He makes a point of telling the assembled locals “I made the soup, I made the soup.”

Outside Gardenstown, Malcolm is on the hunt for new accommodation and finds a hotel 20 miles away from the trouble he’s caused. In the meantime, his frustrations are directed at Mike and Suzanne. “What upset me was these two pathetic candidates who have nothing to say at all except be sycophantic and pretend they’ve found friends. They didn’t even show any compassion, they didn’t even bother to call me. They didn’t give a damn, run out town, they didn’t show me any sympathy or compassion, they’re two jerks. Those people (in the village) are horrible and they are welcome to the Mike Reids. As for Suzanne Shaw – my god.”

With just 24 hours to go before the election takes place, each of the candidates have been provided with canvassing kits which include posters and badges. Mike and Suzanne take to the village to plaster their posters in as many places as possible and Mike takes the liberty of drawing a moustache on Suzanne’s poster.

Suzanne gets a nice surprise when her partner Jason arrives with her son Corey, the possible heir to the title of Baron should Suzanne win. While out on the campaign trail with her family, Suzanne bumps into her rival Mike and the argument about who made last night’s soup rears its head again. Suzanne laughs: “You made the village have a stomach bug with your fish soup, everyone had sickness and diarrhoea last night.”

Mike retaliates: “The problem is, what the villagers don’t know and won’t know until this goes out is that I made the soup, regardless of the end result, the sickness and all that. You had the gall, the temerity to carry out the soup-everyone thought you had done it all you did was sit on your *** doing nothing.”

The night before the election, Suzanne and Mike must overcome one final hurdle. They must take part in an “eve of poll rally” where the villagers question them on their suitability to be Baron. Exiled Malcolm is determined not to be forced out of the rally and states his case with producers to allow him to attend. However, his requests fall on deaf ears and he must stay away from the village.

At the rally, Mike and Suzanne are asked why they want to be Baron. “To be a part of this place,” was Suzanne’s answer while Mike’s response was, “I would love to be The Baron and the reason is because it would give me a purpose. I’m The Baron of that lovely little place up there and they want this and they want that and it would give me a little drive to go and do something, so to be part of that community would be great.” However, after the pair are asked why they didn’t go to church the previous Sunday, Mike begins to have second thoughts about winning.

It’s the day of the election and the pressure of campaigning has taken its toll on Suzanne. “I’ve been trying to sell myself and prove to people I’m a good person for the last 10 days and I’ve got to the point where I don’t want to prove anymore, I don’t think I’d like to get the title. There’s a lot of pressure involved that I didn’t realise.”

Mike is also in a reflective mood. “You can’t win with religion. I know people need something to believe in, great, you want to believe that, that’s wonderful, believe it and good luck if you do, but don’t shove it down my chops, don’t run and ruin people’s lives because of your beliefs. People are so frightened of religion. I want the title, I want to be Baron of this area as I honestly believe I can do something in this village that is worthwhile.”

It’s finally time to elect The Baron and all the villagers have a vote regardless of age, sex or beliefs. The turnout is bigger than expected and after an interminable wait, the results are announced. In third place with 14 votes is Malcolm while Suzanne comes second place with 82 votes.

Mike Reid is elected The Baron with 146 votes. To huge cheers and claps from the assembled villagers, Mike accepts the title with pride and triumphantly calls wife Shirley to tell her the news. “So you’re now a Baroness my darling girl, congratulations to you as well little one.”

He tells the cameras: “Shirley is over the moon. Of course I’m pleased I won. That’s what I came up here for, to get this title and fortunately the villagers have voted me in and I feel very proud of it.”

A relieved Suzanne says: “I’m really happy Mike got it. He really wanted it and I’m chuffed to bits he got it, he’s the right guy for the job.”

Mike’s last words on winning the title of Baron of Troup now take on an emotional poignancy. “I feel very proud. I’m very pleased to have the Baronship. I’d also like to convey my wife Shirley’s good wishes. Next time I come up here, whenever that may be, I’ll bring her with me. I know she’ll love this place as much as I do because it is beautiful and I’ll try my best to be a good Baron and try in my own small way to push this little haven forward into the 21st century.”

Thursday 1 May 2008 10:35pm – 11:35pm

Mike Reid, Malcolm McLaren and Suzanne Shaw arrived in the remote Scottish village of Gardenstown three days ago. Mike immediately started on his PR offensive, Suzanne went after the vital kids vote while Malcolm embarked on a less than orthodox campaign. The competition for the title of Baron is hotting up and over the next three days the candidates start to turn on each other.

During episode two, Malcolm’s campaign takes on a darker purpose when he declares a sinners day “for all to have sex like crazy” and when he tries to start a revolution, the village is rocked to the core.

During their first three days in Gardenstown, Mike and Suzanne took every opportunity they could to increase their support from the villagers. Having already alienated the village, Malcolm goes in search of the alternative vote from the local bikers. Mike and Malcolm are also clearly unimpressed with one another so far. Mike muses on Malcolm: “Down south we have a name for it. A load of crap.” In two days time, the candidates will get a second chance to address the locals at the annual Strawberry Fair. It’s an opportunity to set out their manifestos as would be Barons. Early indications show that Mike and Suzanne are neck and neck while Malcolm is left trailing in their wake.

When Mike and Malcolm are asked to help a villager paint his boat, Malcolm is reluctant to participate and his anarchist roots come to the fore when he paints an A for Anarchy sign on the vessel. The boat owner is not impressed while Malcolm remains unrepentant. “I’ve not come here to be a painter and decorator, thank you. I’ve come here to be above it all. It’s his bloody boat, he can paint it himself.”

Mike carries on helping finish the paint job but has some harsh words for his fellow candidate. “Malcolm has shown his true colours. Basically the man is like a two-year-old child, you tell him something you want him to do and he does exactly the opposite. He wastes time, he upsets people but of course he’s known to be controversial. From where I’m sitting he gets right up my nose.”

Malcolm tells the cameras later. “Only someone as sycophantic and pathetic as Frank Butcher would paint his boat, I just wanted to kick the paintbrush out of his hand frankly.”

That evening, Malcolm and Suzanne cook for their host families and invited guests. Donald, the local reverend is the guest in Malcolm’s house which makes for an interesting evening for the former Sex Pistols manager.

On the advice of the Reverend, the next morning Malcolm gets up early and heads to the Spar shop in an attempt to win round some of the villagers. Mike and Suzanne spend the day working with local businesses; Suzanne in the bakery and Mike next door in the butcher’s with Suzanne’s host Bill. Mike introduces himself to Bill. “Bill the Butcher, I’d like you to meet a real man – Frank the Butcher.”

Malcolm’s campaign isn’t doing too well and Donald tells him that “you’re not positive enough about the village. You need to be more positive and assertive. You need to say that you love the place, you love the people and you’d love to come here for a year to do your Baronry bit.”

Malcolm retorts: “I’m not sure that’s true, I have to be honest with people. They have to come see me too. The fact that I’m here and have travelled an awful long way is a pretty good. What can the village do for me? People are shutting doors in my face, people don’t want to talk, they tell me to follow Jesus every five minutes, I’m going a bit crazy here.”

The day of the annual Strawberry Fair dawns where the candidates will each deliver their speeches, outlining to the locals what they’ll do for the village if they become Baron. Before any of that happens, the locals decide to test the celebrities by getting each of them to set up a stall of their own at the fair. Suzanne has a brain wave and wants to set up a stall using Malcolm’s face as a giant dartboard. “I think I’d get a lot of people at the stall, it’s a bit controversial as well.” Mike decides on a stall where the locals can pay to throw wet sponges at him while Malcolm attempts to set up a ‘sinners tent.’ Having given up hope of winning the title Malcolm has a different kind mission in mind saying he is going to declare “a sinners day for all.” How will his idea go down with the deeply religious locals?

Before long its time for the celebrities to take to the stage in front of the entire village at the Strawberry Fair. The harbourmaster Michael Watt introduces Suzanne first who promises to raise funds for storm gates and the public hall. Mike asks the villagers not to have pre-conceived ideas of who he is and to attempt to get to know him. He also reveals that he has loved his time in the village. Malcolm is up last and the competition to become Baron takes a dramatic twist as he tells the shocked villagers, “this is the worst place I’ve ever been to in my entire life, I’m sick to death already and I’ve only been here a few days.” The speech goes from bad to worse and ends with Malcolm being heckled by the locals and forcibly removed from the stage. Will he have to leave the village for good?

Thursday 24 April 2008 10:35pm – 11:35pm

In a tribute to the late Mike Reid, ITV1 will air The Baron, the final TV show he made before his death last July. The show saw Mike elected into the aristocracy, winning the esteemed title Baron of Troup, beating off competition from legendary Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and TV personality Suzanne Shaw.

All three celebrities were uprooted from their urban lifestyles and transplanted to the remote Highland town of Gardenstown in North East Scotland, one of the most isolated communities in Britain. It’s a place far removed from the celebrities’ normal lives – the locals have never heard of the Sex Pistols, churches outnumber pubs by six to one and mobile reception is zero. Mike, Suzanne and Malcolm had to work hard to convince the local residents that they had what it took to be their Baron, attempting to win the popularity of the community by mucking in and taking part in village life. After three weeks, an election was held and the personality that polled the most votes from the villagers became The Baron.

The title of The Baron is of huge importance to the locals and upon hearing he had won, Mike was visibly choked. His last words on the subject now take on an emotional poignancy. “I feel very proud. I’m very pleased to have the Baronship. I’d also like to convey my wife Shirley’s good wishes. Next time I come up here, whenever that may be, I’ll bring her with me. I know she’ll love this place as much as I do because it is beautiful and I’ll try my best to be a good Baron and try in my own small way to push this little haven into the 21st century.”

Mike’s wife Shirley holds the title ‘Baroness of Troup’ and the title of The Baron can be passed down to the Reid family descendants.

Fellow contestant Suzanne Shaw paid tribute to Mike saying: “I enjoyed every minute I spent with Mike while filming The Baron. He was an amazing personality and I was shocked when I heard the tragic news of his death. I felt very lucky to have met Mike and he truly deserved to win.”

The first episode of The Baron sees Malcolm, Mike and Suzanne arrive in Gardenstown. Each of them will spend their time in the village staying with a local family. After meeting their hosts they start to realise that Gardenstown isn’t a typical village but a place where the people are more interested in Heaven than Hello magazine.

The Baron is a three part series and was commissioned by Layla Smith, ITV’s Controller of Alternative Programmes and is a TwoFour Production for ITV1.

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