The Nation's celebrities breathed a collective sigh of relief today as the closure of The News of the World signalled the start of open season for celebrity sleaze, freed from the scrutiny that kept most of them on the straight and narrow until this week.
As the last issues rolled off the Wapping presses and were bundled into vans for distribution, £100k-a-week Premier League footballers, Blue Peter presenters and back-benchers up and down the country were poised by their phones, ready to set up extra-marital affairs, drug-deals, nazi orgies and all manner of wrong-doing that they couldn't have got away with when the News of the World was still around.
Popular dogging sites are bracing themselves for an influx of posh cars and famous faces, released from the yoke of scrutiny that kept them honest for so long, while pet shops are said to be enforcing a strict "one-hamster" policy on all well-known public figures. Super-injunction lawyers are on stand-by for a flood of indiscretions to protect from the public interest, although with no free press to expose them it is unclear whether the injuctions will even be necessary!.
"This is a God-send" said straight-laced Esther Hall, the actress who plays Jane off the Adam and Jane BT ads, as she left explicit instructions for the type of sexploits she was expecting on a FEMALE MP's voice-mail. "For years, I've wanted to pursue a lifestyle that strayed from monogamous heterosexualilty, but with my career on the line and News International tapping every celebrity phone line in the country, I just buckled down and put [my true nature] out of my mind."
Meanwhile busty Big Brother 6 star, Saskia Howard-Clarke said that without the News of the World, she'd have to get her uncle Dave to take long-lens snaps of her J-cup boobs to put on her MySpace page, and Pete Doherty is reported to be looking for another red-top paper to sponsor his column-inch generating habit.
However, football pundit turned kiss-of-death TV host Adrian Chiles warned his showbiz pals to make hay while the Sun didn't shine, as it could only be a matter of weeks before the Murdoch media empire fills the void with a soaraway Sunday edition of The Sun. "If, like me, you've ever, ...er, fancied injecting heroin into your, er, bell-end while getting pissed on by, er, two 18-year-old Russian girls, then, er, better set it up now while yer can."
Middle-Eastern Sheikhs are also looking forward to a month or so of not being asked if they're fake sheikhs when setting up dodgy deals with British politicians and sports figures, while hard-working families of heroes serving in Afghanistan are comforted to know that if their loved-one were to be killed before the new Sun on Sunday is launched, their sobbing messages of grief would only be listened to by their intended recipients.