UK celebrities are ‘Europe’s most overworked’

The government has responded angrily to a European Union report condemning Britain for its “shameless exploitation” of overworked celebrities.

The report, unveiled by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, ranks Britain last out of 27 member states for its poor treatment of celebrities. “Famous people in the UK are seriously overworked,” Barroso told reporters. “Despite the recent introduction of the EU working time directive, British celebrities are expected to do everything from reading the news and acting in sitcoms to pursuing endangered wildlife and judging ballroom dancers – many of whom are also celebrities. It’s really getting out of hand.”

The report comes as no surprise, particularly after recent revelations that celebrities have been used as cheap alternatives to members of the public in televised dancing shows, as replacements for knowledgeable experts on documentaries, and even as low-paid government staff to replace expensive MPs and other qualified legislators.

The report was commissioned after Arlene Phillips, a choreographer, escaped from several years of imprisonment in appalling conditions on Strictly Come Dancing only to be trafficked by her BBC bosses into hundreds of hours of repetitious, similarly poor-quality programming. National treasure Joanna Lumley is reported to be “exhausted” after overturning eight separate government policies, investigating cats, witnessing the Northern Lights and leading Tibet to freedom from Chinese rule. Ms Lumley is now recovering in a Nepalese monastery.

“This is just another Brussels scare-story, I’m afraid,” said junior Culture minister Billie Piper, appointed in the recent reshuffle. “However, the Government does take these concerns seriously so we are setting up an independent inquiry under Lord Lloyd-Webber and Graham Norton to investigate, and they’ll be reporting their findings every Saturday from 7pm in BBC1’s new Autumn programme schedule, so look out for that. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to film an episode of Doctor Who this afternoon and then I’m off to judge the Man Booker Prize.”