It has been confirmed that deceased reality TV star Jade Goody will be the first subject of new Channel 4 series Celebrity Autopsy. “This is the perfect way to keep her in the public eye, even after death,” said a spokesperson for Dead Entertaining, the production company making the series. “Being addicted to fame, this is exactly what she would have wanted!” The series, in which, every week, a recently dead celebrity’s body will be given a post-mortem by a team of leading pathologists, has already been condemned as tasteless by TV watchdogs, even before it has aired. “Look, all the people we’ll be cutting up are volunteers – it isn’t as if we’re just going to dig them up without permission. And we’ll wait until they die of disease, violence or natural causes – we won’t be killing them specially for the series,” explained Todd Spieler, the programme’s producer. “I really don’t know what the fuss is about – this is no different to reality TV where participants are happy to have every aspect of their lives laid bare, whilst viewers enthusiastically spy on them! It’s just that in our version the participants are dead and it’s their vital organs being laid bare.” Following the announcement, it emerged that Goody’s post-mortem had been filmed for the programme as part of an exclusive media deal signed shortly before her death. “Obviously, once the series gets underway, we’d hope to be able to bring viewers the autopsies live,” explains Spieler. “But she snuffed it earlier than we expected, and there just wasn’t time to clear all the legal obstacles to a live show. In any future pre-death contracts we’ll be inserting a clause allowing us to freeze their bodies on death, and keep them on ice until a live autopsy can be scheduled!” Despite the morbid nature of the programme, Spieler claims that there has been no shortage of big-name celebrities willing to sign up, although he refuses to confirm the identities of any of them. “We don’t want people to think that we’re standing over these poor bastards like vultures, waiting for them to kick the bucket,” he chortles. “That would just be tasteless! But I can assure fans that we’ve got some huge names from the world of showbiz coming up. It’s amazing how enthusiastic about it some of these people are! The idea of a public post-mortem – seen by millions – appeals to their egos: one last great performance!” Spieler absolutely rejects allegations that his programme is just tasteless exploitation, arguing that it actually constitutes art. “Didn’t that Damien Hirst once pose in a morgue with a severed head for one of his pictures?” he points out. “What about that mad German scientist who laminates corpses and mounts exhibitions of them? Why is this any different?”

The programme makers also believe that Celebrity Autopsy has an educational value. “This represents a priceless opportunity for viewers to find out what really makes celebrities tick. Or ticked, rather,” says the producer. “People will soon appreciate the perils of the celebrity lifestyle – all those years of drink and drug abuse – when they see those diseased livers, inflamed kidneys and tar-filled lungs!” Indeed, one worry the programme’s producers now have is that celebrities on their last legs, knowing that their innards are shortly to be seen on national TV, will start to engage in ‘healthy lifestyles’ in an attempt to ‘look good’ on camera for the last time. “In the interests of good television, we want their bodies to be in worst, most debauched condition possible,” says Spieler. “Apparently Henry the Eighth exploded in his coffin, he was in such a bad way – believe me, I’d like nothing better than for some past-it Hollywood star to blow up and spatter their organs all over the walls of the autopsy room. Just so long as it happens live on camera!” Spieler admits that he would dearly love to have Royalty featured in future programmes. “The Queen and Prince Philip aren’t getting any younger – Celebrity Autopsy would be a perfect way for the Royals to show how they’re really just like the rest of us. Besides, if they’re willing to let the public look around Buckingham Palace, then why not the Duke of Edinburgh’s prostrate?” he ponders. “My biggest regret is that Princess Margaret died before we came along. Rumours still persist that she was so alcohol soaked that she went up like a Roman candle when they cremated her – the crematorium had to be evacuated and it took four fire crews over three hours to get the blaze under control! I would loved to have seen her PM’ed on TV – the pathologists would probably have got drunk on the fumes as soon as they opened her up!”

Spieler feels that Dead Entertaining’s choice of host for the programme – professional cock-end George Lamb – emphasises the seriousness with which they are approaching their subject matter. “Let’s face it, if this was being done by ITV they’d probably have a couple of knob heads like Ant and Dec presenting it,” he says. “The whole thing would probably be styled as some kind of talent show, with arses like Simon Cowell criticising corpses for not being bloated enough and public votes on which stiff has the most grossly inflamed liver.” With the series already predicted to be a ratings hit, other TV channels are already lining up rival shows. “Apparently Channel Five are planning a live surgery show where celebrity surgeons are guided by viewers’ text messages,” says Spieler. “But I don’t really see that being a threat – maybe if the patients were celebrities. There’s nothing the public likes better than seeing the rich and famous suffering.” Jade Goody’s post-mortem adventures, meanwhile, won’t end with her appearance on Celebrity Autopsy. It has also been revealed that, following her live TV autopsy, her body will be taken to a top London taxidermist, where it will be stuffed and mounted. “This will be a perfect way for her to stay in touch with her public,” a publicist claimed. “After all, why should death be a barrier to photo opportunities? The taxidermist we’ve engaged has promised us that he’ll ensure that she’ll always look her best for her public – no green tinges or bits falling off.” The publicist denied a tabloid report that Goody’s PR firm were considering engaging the services of a professional puppeteer, with a view to attaching strings to the embalmed corpse in order to animate it during public appearances. “For God’s sake – that would just be sick,” the publicist stated, looking repulsed by the notion. He also denied that the stuffed Goody had been sold to OK magazine, for use in the publication’s advertising campaigns. “There will be no exclusive deals with any media outlet,” he confirmed. “Jade was always accessible to her public in life, and that won’t change now she’s dead.”