“How my spirits soared at the recent headlines that Richard and Judy had entered into a suicide pact,” enthuses top celebrity gossip columnist Roland Filtheart. “At last, I thought, these minor league celebrities and daytime TV detritus are finally accepting that they no longer have any useful role to perform, so self annihilation is the only option!” Filtheart’s is one of a growing number of voices expressing concern at the ever-increasing numbers of minor celebrities being created by TV talent shows and reality TV programmes, warning that, if their numbers remain unchecked, they will completely swamp the UK’s delicate fame ecosystem. “Look, it’s getting to the stage that there simply aren’t enough opportunities for national media exposure to satisfy all of them,” he contends. “There just aren’t enough gossip columns, tabloid articles or digital TV panel shows to accommodate them all in their quests for shameless self-promotion. On top of that, we have all the pre-existing minor celebrities refusing to loosen their grip on their ‘fame’ and desperately trying to stay in the limelight.” He also fears that the hordes of new-style celebrities are devaluing the very nature of celebrity itself. “Most of them aren’t really proper celebrities at all – they’ve just been on TV,” he explains. “I mean, they don’t actually do anything, they haven’t got any discernible talent and most of those from reality TV shows are just plain ugly! At best, they are only semi-celebrities – we vaguely recognise their faces, but we don’t know why. Yet they think they should enjoy all the privileges of real celebrity.”

There is a real danger, Filtheart believes, that these semi-celebrities and talent show graduates will ‘crowd out’ genuine celebrities, leaving Britain’s media populated entirely by talentless mediocrity. It is clear, he argues, that something has to be done if the ‘purity’ of British celebrity is to be preserved. “I’ve long contended that some kind of cull would be required – like they do with deer or badgers to keep their numbers down,” says Filtheart. “However, I’ve always baulked at the idea of having snipers in hides on the streets of London, taking potshots at passing former Britain’s Got Talent contestants scurrying on their way to another ITV2 audition or Power Tools Monthly photo-shoot. What’s needed is something more appropriate to their status as semi-celebrities operating on the peripheries of fame.” Enter Jim Prickles, newly appointed as Programme Director at the notorious TV station Channel Six, who believes that he has the perfect solution. “It seems obvious to me that we need to set up a new reality show in which we lure former contestants from such shows into a Big Brother style house,” he opines. “Once we’ve got a whole load of the bastards in there, the public get to vote every week on which one to kill in the ‘diary room’ – really a gas chamber. Obviously, the others will just think that the gassed contestant has simply been voted out of the house – we wouldn’t want to panic them!”

Prickles admits that Channel Six still faces significant hurdles in attempting to get the concept to air, not least the major legal problem of avoiding prosecution for murder. “Clearly, we wouldn’t be able to actually stage it in the UK – we’d probably have to set the house up in one of those Eastern European countries like Serbia or Uzbekistan, where they don’t let minor legal niceties stand in the way of entertainment,” he muses. “Of course, even them we’d still have problems getting it past Ofcom for UK broadcast.” Nevertheless, enthused by the idea of staging the show in some lawless part of Eastern Europe, Prickles has come up with several refinements to the original concept. “Maybe we could follow the example of those Hostel movies,” he says. “We could get some of the contestants to horribly torture some of their housemates as tasks – that would be great for ratings. Plus, we could pass it off as some kind of psychological experiment – seeing how far ordinary people will go when put under pressure by authority figures. I know that will make it even more difficult to get past Ofcom – perhaps we could run it as a live internet feed?”

But Filtheart is deeply unhappy with such proposals. “It’s far too cruel and inhumane,” he declares. “Troublesome though these z-listers might be and despite the damage they are doing to the celebrity ecosystem, I really don’t think we should condone their gassing. Think of the potential backlash if TV viewers were to witness some of the cuter looking ones being culled in this way? I mean, just look at what happened when they tried to do it to the badgers.” Filtheart believes that it is better if the semi-celebrities could be persuaded to follow Richard and Judy’s example and embrace the concept of assisted dying. “If they were to engineer their own demise,” he says, “well, that’s surely the perfect solution all round?” Filtheart is well aware that it might not be easy to persuade all those surplus to requirements micro celebrities that euthanasia is the way to go, especially following the revelation that Richard and Judy hadn’t agreed to do each other in immediately, but had simply entered into a mutual agreement to assist the other in committing euthanasia in the event of terminal illness. “That was a bit of a setback, I must admit,” he says. “But even without the endorsement of genuine top daytime TV celebrities like Richard and Judy, I’m sure it will still be possible to persuade the semi-celebrities that taking their own lives is the next logical career step.”

The key, he thinks, is to establish a series of euthanasia clinics in Switzerland, dedicated to ending the torment of unfulfilled minor celebrities. “If we make them glamourous enough, with cocaine, booze and prostitutes on tap – they might not even have to drink poison if they mix the right cocktail – and Paparazzi on hand to snap their last moments, then they might be attractive to these desperate fame seekers,” explains Filtheart. “After all, it would give them that last blaze of publicity they all crave, not to mention ensuring them a kind of immortality. After all, nobody is going to forget a celebrity, even a minor one, who tops themselves in front of the cameras, are they?” Despite reservations in some quarters that his plan risked encouraging impressionable teenagers to commit suicide by making it seem glamourous and fashionable, Filtheart claims that he already has the financing in place for the first clinic. “A lot of showbiz agents representing these low-rent celebrities have invested heavily the project,” he reveals. “Once we’re up and running, they’ll be recommending to such clients that they attend the clinic – dying could be the biggest career boost they ever get. From the agents; perspective, dead clients are far easier to manage and they’ll be able to make a killing on the image rights and merchandising.”