Ofcom demands use of quotation marks in use of the word ‘celebrity’

Television regulator Ofcom has ordered that the makers of reality game shows must henceforth only mention the word ‘celebrity’ if it is contained within single quotation marks.  The ruling follows a number of complaints from linguists, English professors and entertainer’s lobby groups that the use of low-grade, so-called ‘celebrities’ in reality programs was devaluing the word, and indeed the very concept of ‘celebrity’. 

According to Ofcom’s decree the use of single quotation marks means that from now on, reality TV shows must give notice to the viewer that the contestants therein may not actually be particularly famous or noteworthy.  Production companies are now frantically changing the logos and graphics of their products to reflect this, leading to a major rebranding for programs such as ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother, ‘Celebrity’ Masterchef and I’m a ‘Celebrity’, Get Me Out of Here!. 

Ofcom has also served notice to the presenters of such productions, who, according to the ruling, must now ‘make their hands visible to the viewer and make that little tweaky movement with their index fingers every time they mention the c-word.’ Many ‘celebrities’ have hit out against this directive, believing that it belittles their status as household names.  ‘It’s degrading! I’m a respected member of the showbiz community who works tirelessly for my profession; yet this questions my validity as a super-star.’ complained the second cousin of the wife of the lead singer of an obscure 90’s boy band. 

However bosses at the BBC are said to be less worried about Ofcom’s directive, believing that the massive pay cuts forecast for BBC employees in the near-future will see proper celebrities queuing up to go onto reality television shows in order to supplement their income.  ‘It won’t be long before you’ll be seeing the likes of Sir Terry Wogan and Bruce Forsyth clambering over rope bridges and chowing down on kangaroo testicles for your entertainment.’ claimed one industry insider.

(Written 12 Jun 2009)

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Published in: on December 2, 2009 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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