If you ever needed evidence of the paucity of good ideas at the modern BBC this announcement should satisfy:

The BBC announces that Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One and Mark Linsey, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning have commissioned Initial (an Endemol company), to produce Secret Service, a new six-part comedy series for Saturday evenings on BBC One.

Richard Hammond is the Head of the Secret Service. OK, not the real Secret Service, but a team of highly trained operatives (actors and comedians) who are looking for people who need to be pranked, wound up, or tricked into believing something utterly ridiculous whilst being secretly filmed.

In this funny, heart warming, and entertaining hidden camera show, Richard and his elite Secret Service team are here to help the people of Britain. If you have a mission for them, and it needs to be kept secret from someone (and then broadcast to the nation) they are the team for you.

Whether you want to propose to your girlfriend, impress your teenage son or get back at your best mate – they’ll complete your mission in the most absurd, extreme and ridiculous way they can. Whatever your problem, the Secret Service is, er… at your service.

Mark Linsey said: “Richard has proved to be an enormous treat for the Saturday night audience with his own unique brand of humour, and I think the viewers are going to enjoy his Secret Service as much as they have Total Wipeout.”

Nick Samwell-Smith, Creative Director at Initial, comments: “Following on from the great fun we’ve had with Total Wipeout, we’re delighted to be working with Richard Hammond again on this exciting new hidden camera show, which will make for great family viewing on Saturday nights.”

Secret Service was created by Richard Osman, Nick Samwell-Smith, Catherine Lynch, Andy Rowe and Richard Hammond.
The 6×40-minute series was commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One and Mark Linsey, Controller Entertainment Commissioning. Jake Cardew is series producer at Initial. The executive producer for BBC is Mirella Breda.

Basically the BBC have re-invented Candid Camera and, rather than hide in embarrassment at their abject failure to offer viewers something fresh and original, are actually crowing about it.

Having given the go-ahead to the truly dire Don’t Scare The Hare, Cohen & Linsey can at least be certain that Secret Service wont go down as their worst ever commissioning decision.

Let’s just hope this low-brow effort isn’t one of the shows Cohen charged the licence fee payer for discussing over lunch.