Robert Peston has predicted a major meltdown in the world's celebrity system. The BBC's business editor made his grim forecast on his blog yesterday, and again this morning on Radio 4's 'Today' programme, which overran by twenty-three minutes when Peston attempted to 'briefly' explain the systemic failings threatening to undermine the likes of Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise. "We're in uncharted waters here," said Peston, slowly. "We haven't seen anything like it since at least the 1990s."
Peston was immediately accused of risking a substantial devaluing of the celebrity exchange, or NaffDaq. However, there was support from at least one celebrity analyst. Michael Parkinson, the retired legendary interviewer of 'A' list contenders, from Mohammed Ali to Rod Hull and Emu, claims that a celebrity 'bubble' is ballooning unchecked, often fed by dire so-called talent shows and soap operas.
"It'll all end in tears," said the grizzled grandfather, who now spends his time (still clutching a clipboard and spinning in a swivel chair) warning the unwary about the dangers of over-indulging in celebrity 'culture'. Many of the pretenders to Parkinson's throne have moved quickly to repudiate him. "He's out of touch, everything's fine," said Graham Norton yesterday, and Paul O'Grady declared: "We're now in a new era of unlimited celebs; I have to do my show five days a week just to keep up."
Parkinson however was unrepentant yesterday, claiming that warning signs are now clear for even the most starry-eyed celebrity watcher. "There is a problem looming throughout the industry, which is the issue of subprime celebrities."
This sector, explained Parkinson, is little known to more sophisticated culture vultures. It involves the promoting to celebrity status of witless, vacuous individuals, so-called personalities who, upon even a cursory inspection, turn out to be bereft of any personality to speak of, and even less talent.
It's difficult to deny that subprime celebrities are now turning up with alarming regularity on cookery programmes, reality shows and dance extravaganzas, and a few like Parkinson and Peston are warning that it can only end in disaster.
Is the bubble about to burst? Some are saying that Jade Goody was an accident waiting to happen, and that Lindsay Lohan isn't worth the paper she's written about on. Interest rates are beginning to plummet as celebrities become less and less interesting. Unless there is concerted action now by Max Clifford and Heat and OK! magazines, the world could be condemned to years of Paris Hilton.