What Does The Title "Drop The Dead Donkey" Mean?


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Will Martin answered
The original title for this comedy series was "Dead Belgians Aren't News." This was dropped as being possibly offensive (!) and replaced with the "donkey" title. Some journalists claim that this is a joke used in TV newsrooms, referring to the "filler items" (lost cats being found etc) which every news studio has handy to fill up the news slot, but which can be dropped from the programme if a last-minute story comes up. The title may contain a further joke, as the staff of the fictional Globelink newsroom feel very put-upon and exploited (doing donkey work, in fact) by the ferocious Sir Royston Merchant, whom the audience never see, but whose fabled demands dominate the action. Like the staff, the series, which ran from 1990 to 1998, was under pressure to produce topical stories, especially in the early years. There were references every week to stories then in the news, with jokes about politicians of the day ("More on Heseltine." – "Yes, he is, isn't he?")
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Anonymous commented
Back in 1987 a Spanish donkey called Blackie was destined to be crushed to death in Villa Nueva de la Vera, Spain, during the village's annual fiesta. (Every year, the villagers forced a donkey to carry the fattest man around the streets until the unfortunate creature was crushed and died of exhaustion."
Britain's tabloid newspapers all despatched reporters to the fiesta. Within hours of their arrival, rival newspapers started out-bidding each other to buy Blackie and fly him to a British donkey sanctuary.
TV crews and journalists from all over the world descended on the village and Blackie was sold simultaneously to the Sun and the Star, prompting a punch-up between rival photographers and bitter exchanges between their editors.
The phrase "drop the dead donkey" emerges as a news desk demand to move on quickly to something unclouded by the complexities the UK media was not capable of capturing.

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