I've watched the Bond movies, the Bourne movies, 24 and Alias, and I am convinced that not only is actual international espionage intensely boring by comparison, it is boring enough to make a sitcom about it. My idea is to create a sitcom set at a secret CIA listening station in eastern Europe. Like The IT Crowd, but with spies. Spies who are extremely bored.

These aren't nerds or superintelligent geniuses. Thses are normal guys, possibly even gung-ho American patriots who cheerfully joined the Agency and then were told to serve their country by sitting very still and being very quiet for long periods of time. I want to tell the stories of the people who aren't sexy, can't speak twelve languages, have never touched a gun and have been stuck in the same shack monitoring Norwegian wiretaps for years at a time. I'm almost positive that "stuck in a shack doing nothing" describes real CIA activities one thousand percent more accurately than any fiction yet created. CIA guys will watch the show and go "how did they know?" Maybe every now and then a real sexy field agent will blast through their little shack, like Lord Flashheart in Blackadder II. But the main story generator is how they relieve their boredom. The key word will be "antics".

I haven't figured out where, exactly, in eastern Europe they'll be based. It's got to be somewhere cold. Best possibility is Svalbard, a collection of distant Arctic islands ruled by Norway, though they may prove slightly too picturesque. The locals will be equal parts sophisticated, intelligent, cosmopolitan Scandinavians with Bluetooth headsets, gigabit fibre optic internet connections and superb health care, and insane hairy fur-trappers and fishermen one step removed from the Norse god Thor. The Americans' cover story is that they operate an astronomical observatory (this part of the set-up is based on a true story).

The office will be full of men and they'll not be allowed to fraternise with the locals, because the locals will naturally all be statuesque blondes and, obviously, men not having sex is a lot funnier than men having sex. A suggested title is "Bead Window", military code for "potentially sensitive information leaked in last transmission". The first line of the show is "Do polar bears howl?", provided a rather alarming animal howl somewhere outside doesn't count as a line.

What am I bid?

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