**Reloaded: Special Extended Edition to commemorate Willie & Kate's announcement**
In previous years, Somali pirate ship captain, Ibrahim Abdikarim would have had to appoint head-hunters to scour the seven seas for new hostages, but with economic woes and looming public sector job cuts in Britain, coupled with the weather getting a bit colder, he is being flooded with thousands of applications for the two vacancies that opened up just over a week ago.
As the number of applicants edges toward 25,000, the recent announcement that the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is to take place at the end of next April is thought to have tipped many over the edge.
'The kids today won't remember, but I know what it was like last time – back in '81,' lamented Neal Bath, a quality control manager in Luton. 'The build up, the commemorative tat, the hollow joy in everyone's dead, soulless eyes as the country sank into the abyss. And have the media become more restrained since then? If anything it's just going to be ten times worse this time. I just want to be anywhere where the bunting isn't.'
'We all know how royal marriages pan out,' said another applicant, a Church of England bishop who asked not to be named. 'It just reminds us all of the futility of hope.'
Abdikarim is amazed by the response. 'I hadn't even advertised yet, so this is all word-of-mouth...it's incredible,' shrugged the 12-year veteran of pirating, casually squeezing off a few rounds from his AK-47 in amused bewilderment. 'The standard of some of the candidates is very high, and I wish I could take more on, but you know how it is.'
He now has the mammoth task of sifting through the sackfuls of application letters and videos, but help is at hand. With a New Year gap in their schedules now that Celebrity Big Brother has been cancelled, Channel 4 have offered to develop a new show around the audition process, maybe even with a phone-in to decide who among the hopeful has what it takes to spend a year at sea with his crew, with working titles of 'Britain's Got Hostages' or 'Oh Crap, a Royal Wedding, Get Me Out of Here!'