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Dubya's War

War a ratings winner - better than EastEnders, say fans
Bosses of television networks including the BBC, ITV and CNN are claiming that the Iraqi war is proving to be a huge success, with some "Special News Bullets" raking in more viewers than the average Christmas episode of Only Fools and Hearses.

Millions of people have been glued to their televisions throughout the last three days: listening to incisive comment from hardy soldiers complaining about the fact that it is hot; watching, shocked and awed by a firework display worthy of the Year 2000 (but this time, airplanes were actually falling from the sky); shedding tears at the Sophoclean tragedy of a helicopter falling from the air toward 12 fatalities; and shedding tears, finally, of cathartic hilarity, when a Baghdad cabby was blown to pieces, and many of Iraq's devastating weapons of mass destruction landed safely in the sand, four feet from where they were fired.

Armchair enthusiasts claim that the epic drama has easily overshadowed various other productions this year, including the heartbreak of EastEnders' poignant "Death of Roy" and "Ian takes out a loan for a new fat-fryer" episodes. Many also believe that the vivacious use of colour and loud noise is the equal of many a recent Hollywood smash, including Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck.

Neophiles proudly point out that Rageh Omaar and John Simpson are the new Richard Blackwood and Cat Deeley, with fans hanging on their every word, basking in maps, graphs, crackly videophone transmissions, watching the same footage of a cruise missile blast off, and periodically pressing the Red Button on their digital handsets to consult Peter Snow and his Deathometer. The only lull in viewer-ship was when Conservative "leader" and Labour spokesman Iain Duncan Smith made a candid and heartfelt speech endorsing the swift extermination of the Iraqi people. Although TV ratings suffered, The National Grid felt a surge of energy as people plugged in kettles and stuck their fingers into plug sockets.

Nevertheless, the fervour has even reached operatic spouses Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna. The pair have cancelled their final two performances of Faust at the Metropolitan Opera in New York because they would prefer to be in France with their children. "It is so rare to find something on TV that everyone in the family wants to watch," confided tenor Alagna.

Producers and event organisers are so concerned by the War's popularity that they would rather not dare be eclipsed by it. The Oscars therefore will be a muted and formal affair, with the red carpet binned and the flamboyance of Will Smith excluded. Halle Berry-style emotions are also banned. Such expression has been deemed inappropriate.

There has been the suggestion however that networks, such as the BBC, are taking excessive advantage of the War and may in fact be putting lives at risk in the quest for ratings.

Anti-war sentiment has been censored, with pop-star George Michael vociferously berating the BBC's decision to prevent him singing his new single on Top of the Pops, gyrating with an AK strapped to his crotch, and a backing band decked out in George Bush "draft-dodger" flak-jackets and bondage masks.

Furthermore, there have been claims that the BBC's new reality gameshow, Celebrity Warzone, where "personalities" such as Dean Gaffney and Garry Bushell will form a war-faring regiment, is "insensitive". Fans of the show will vote via SMS, charged at 4, for the celebrity they would like to see "friendly fired" by the Americans. BBC bosses have described the show as, "an exciting new format: a mixture between Big Brother, Cluedo, Celebrity Bootcamp and Saving Private Ryan."

Moreover, the Corporation's decision to bring the nation's more militant children off Parliament Square, and into their living rooms with a pro-war propaganda edition of Chucklevision, shot on the banks of the Tigris, has faced international condemnation, not least from the Iraqis themselves.

This morning, both Chuckle Brothers were fired upon by Allied Troops who believed that the moustachioed siblings' mishandling of firearms was indicative of the home power. Understandably, the Chuckle Brothers capitulated, the Americans claimed that Saddam has been shot dead, and the Iraqi regime was furious.

The Iraqi Ministers for Information and Vaudeville responded by recording a joint video message, in which they juggled scud missiles whilst issuing a Jihad against the bungling Brothers, along with the rest of the Western world.

Government officials are wary of the coverage, and have criticised the choice to show the Iraqi videos: "Look," said an indignant spokesman, "we've got Straw, Hain and Rumsfeld. They are simply not showmen, and together they could perhaps muster the charisma of a singed corpse. The British couch potato is actually changing his loyalties to what he believes is a more impassioned and lucid regime."

The BBC is unabashed however, and has commissioned a cover of Vera Lynn's classic "We'll Meet Again" to be recorded by urban ubiquity, Ms. Dynamite, and backed by the cast of My Family. Proceeds will go towards funding a press released justifying the 4 rise in the licence fee.

Insiders also claim that they may spend any left-over cash on writing another press release explaining that no one has seen a picture of anyone killed yet, because should they do that the viewers might never again enjoy the circus called War and people may want to go to the cinema instead.

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