London, Tuesday - The BBC today announced their autumn schedule, which includes, according to Director General Greg Karpitt-Muntcher, a "brand new concept in reality television".
Alongside re-runs of old favourites "One Foot in the Grave" and "Only Fools and Horses" sits "I'm a Non-Entity, Keep Me In Here!" a reality show in which (at least) twelve D- (and lower) list celebrities are whisked away to the Sahara Desert for (upto) six years, performing tasks in an attempt to entice the viewing public to keep them out there.
"It's a really exciting, totally unique concept, and we are sure the licence payers will love it" Karpitt-Muntcher said at a press conference on Tuesday.
However, ITV bosses are said to be privately "in uproar" that the concept is so similar to that of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!", although no-one from the independent station has publicly spoken of the BBC show.
I attended the press conference and asked Mr Karpitt-Muntcher whether he agreed the BBC had simply taken a winning ITV formula and marketed it as their own.
"Absolutely not. The celebrities on the ITV1 show are attempting to be evicted, whereas our non-entities are attempting to stay on. Their show is set in the jungle, ours is in the desert. Theirs lasts about two months, ours will last six years. Their phone vote is for viewers to choose their favourite, ours is so they can choose who they want to evict.
The 'stars' of our show genuinely want to be in the public eye, whereas it is obvious from the title of the ITV show that theirs quite evidently do not."
It is rumoured that veterans of the ITV1 show have expressed an interest in the BBC version, with bookmakers Willy Umhill paying out already that both Victoria Hervey and Chris Brosnan will be involved. Jasmine Lennard is also "nailed on" according to former footballer Mick Quinn, who has claimed he was refused entry into the desert as a result of being "too well known for 'that tash' in the early nineties".