A Europe-wide TV channel is to be launched next week, featuring the very best in European interest programming. The channel, to be called EURO-TV, will do its best to avoid the problems encountered by similar now-defunct channels.
Those problems were largely caused by the multilingual nature of Europe. EURO-TV will try to avoid these by not broadcasting any speech. Entertainment will be provided by instrumental musicians and mime artists. Weather broadcasts will be largely unaffected.
News will be limited to pictures and diagrams using internationally recognised symbols. For example, a recent story about Greece's possible default could be illustrated by showing an animation of a map of Greece. Greek people could be shown paying money to an animated Angela Merkel, then revealing their empty pockets. Angela Merkel would then wag her finger at them and kick them out of the Eurozone. This could be represented by her stripping a giant Euro currency symbol off the map of Greece. EURO-TV news animator Helmut Schnickelbaum says, "Telling the news without using words is not as difficult as you might think".
The most famous pan-European TV show is of course the Eurovision Song Contest, which is presented in both English and French. However, that show doesn't require a lot of actual speech and largely avoids the language problem.
The last successful Europe-wide TV show was the 1980s quiz show "European Superquiz". That programme featured contestants from all over the continent, but all of the questions were asked in English. Many contestants were confused and swiftly eliminated as they could not understand the questions. Some attempted to respond in their own language, which led to immediate disqualification.
After protests, European Superquiz contestants were asked questions in their native languages. This led to the highly unwieldy state of affairs where seven different presenters were required to cover all the languages in use.
The show was finally cancelled after a German contestant was repeatedly asked the question "Who won the Second World War?" and refused to participate any more.
EURO-TV begins broadcasting next week. In its first day's schedule there is an hour-long documentary on Marcel Marceau, followed by a performance by the Viennese Theremin Orchestra. Later on, there's a gardening programme featuring a mute gardener, and then for some light relief there is a 5 hour Mr Bean marathon.