A few people have a spot of flu. Is it worth carrying an umbrella in case the sky falls on your head? Is it time to board up your front door like in Night of the Living Dead? How, in short, to make head and/or tail of a situation which is, above all, a developing situation?
Worry not, because help is at hand. The TV Cream Matrix Databank Central Office of Information has produced an illustrated alert-ometer to advise the public on the current threat level:
There are six stages of alarm, which can be recognised by the identity of the person fronting the latest government information campaign.
1: Mike Smith. Threat level: fresh-faced to vaguely needling
2: A Radio 4 continuity announcer. Threat level: insidiously unsettling yet strangely reassuring
3. Basil Brush. Threat level: perkily ubiquitous and family-friendly
4. Rolf Harris. Threat level: sober yet good-naturedly stoical
5. The voice of Brian Wilde. Threat level: death is stalking deceptively-shallow lakes
6. Angela Rippon, the mother of the nation. Threat level: we’ll meet again
Let’s see what the alert-ometer is registering today:
Make sure you keep checking back here for the latest developments, every hour for the next four years until people stop coughing, or for the next four minutes until the media loses interest.