Radio 4 are holding 'crisis talks' today after the actor Martin Jarvis called in the administrators after failing to secure enough programme credits. 'I am an actor,' declared Jarvis, 'I cannot possibly continue without constant affirmation or, at the very least, a newly commissioned series of Just William.'
Mark Damazer, Controller of Radio 4, said, 'We have given Martin all the voiceover work we possibly can. He already provides the voices for everything from The Shipping Forecast to Book at Bedtime. He even does the voice of Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour. There's nothing left.'
'It's not enough,' wailed Jarvis, 'and if I don’t get a new commission for Just William then I shall scream and scream and scream until I am sick.'
Insiders say that Jarvis has been increasingly squeezed out of the schedules by new programming guidelines that decree all Radio 4 shows must, by law, be presented by David Mitchell. 'Anyone can do David Mitchell's voice,' insisted Jarvis, 'you just have to infuse every third word with a note of irrelevant sarcasm. It's hardly rocket science.'
'Martin has been struggling for some time,' said voiceover expert, Brian Perkins, 'things started going wrong for him when he lost out to Stephen Fry on the Harry Potter audio book contract. It was all downhill after that.'
Experts believe that once the administrators move in, Jarvis will be asset stripped. His face will be used as a backdrop for period dramas, his golden mop of hair has already been reserved by Elton John and his prized vocal chords will be broken up and sold to the Chinese for use as an aphrodisiac.
A full transcript of this article is now available as a BBC audio book, read by David Mitchell.