Column: January 13, 2010

IN A breathtaking display of self-satire, Channel 4 has begun development on a new programme on mummification and is searching for a dying volunteer to undergo the process.

Apparently How To Look Good Naked isn’t enough. Now, it seems, we have to Look Good Dead, too.

Presumably, Gok Wan’s got his shovel and is marauding through cemeteries. “Ooo, you’ve lost weight. Looking hot, ghoulfriend”

The production company, Fulcrum TV, has found a scientist who believes he has uncovered the mysteries of Egyptian embalming and is advertising for somebody suffering from a terminal illness who would quite like to be wrapped in bandages and exhibited in a museum, like some sort of hellish Mr Bump.

I can imagine that would be quite a difficult conversation with loved ones. They would have to mourn one’s loss while standing behind a misbehaving school party and a couple of pensioners with a Thermos in the middle of the Ancient Egypt exhibition.

And they wouldn’t be able to put flowers on the grave. The best they could do would be to drop a couple of rubbers and a polystyrene pterodactyl glider from the shop at the entrance into the glass case.

Of course, payment could be a powerful incentive. How reassuring it would be to know one’s loved ones would have financial security after one’s death.

But, if any money were to change hands, it would be advisable to ask for it up front and not cash on delivery. One wouldn’t like any unpleasant scenes to unfold, such as this one . . .

PRODUCER: Mr Tibbs, I’m concerned that we are having this conversation.

TIBBS: Why’s that?

PRODUCER: Because I’m not doing it through a medium. It’s been five years now, man! The doctor only gave you six months.

TIBBS: I can’t help it. I’m in the pink of health.

PRODUCER: Are you? Are you really? No twinges?

TIBBS: I’m in remission!

PRODUCER: And I’m out of pocket. I’m supposed to be delivering this show to Channel 4. I can’t give them a live corpse. I’ve no alternative . . .

TIBBS: Erm, what’s that in your hand?

PRODUCER: This won’t hurt a bit . . .

TIBBS: I want my mummy!

PRODUCER: So do I.

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