The government has today promised a new drive to help improve public morale during these troubled financial times.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey announced the policy at a press conference by the Princess Diana memorial fountain in Kensington Gardens.
"It's been a tough few years financially, and the new coalition government has had to take some drastic measures to ensure the future financial security of this country. Of course we realise that some of these measures will be unpopular, and we've decided that what this country needs right now is a good old fashioned state funeral to help lift everyones' spirits."
"It's been 8 years since we lost the Queen Mum, and 13 years since our beloved Diana was taken from us. The Queen doesn't seem to want to lie down, and Margaret Thatcher is still benefitting from all the embalming fluid she's been drinking since 1978. We were hopeful about Prince Philip for a while, but even he seems to be clinging on for all he's worth. Probably wants to ensure Charles doesn't turn Balmoral into an organic hemp farm or something."
With these limitations in mind, the government has drafted in Simon Cowell, Ant and Dec, Graham Norton and Lord Lloyd Webber to find out whose passing the British people would most like to celebrate with a major outpouring of public grief.
Plans are afoot for a Saturday night TV extravaganza which will pitch a number of well loved celebrities and elder statesmen against each other, with viewers phoning and texting in to choose which one will face the dreaded finale, 'The Paparazzi Tunnel Run'.
"It's a bit like a cross between Hole in the Wall, (without the hole), Gladiators (with real swords) and Total Wipeout (the one where Richard Hammond blew a tyre at 300mph)." Explained Mr Cowell.
"We have an array of excellent celebrity contestants, from Ken Dodd and Denis Healey to Princess Michael of Kent and Bruce Forsyth. We expect a huge response from the public, although during the pilot show, Ant and Dec were narrowly beaten by Lord Lloyd Webber. I'm not quite sure we explained the rules properly to the studio audience."
Other names mooted for the 2010 season include The Duchess of Cornwall, Norman Wisdom, Richard Attenborough and Clive Dunn.
At the end of the press conference there was a slight kerfuffel as Peter Mandelson burst in demanding to know who had signed him up for series 2.