As Miles Kington recently complained in his Independent column, newspapers are increasingly full of unfamiliar names: 'Ant and Dec, Carol Smillie, Jordan, Simon Cowell, Nasty Nick, the Coughing Major, Davina McCall. 'Who are these horrible people?' asked Mr Kington. 'There should be a Dictionary of National Celebrity to keep us informed.' Indeed. For those who have no idea as to the true identity of, say, Maureen from Driving School, Charlotte the Harlot or Foxy Coxy, help is at hand! The Dictionary of National Celebrity consists of some 300 A to Z entries, running the gamut of today's celebrity culture from Jade Goody to Simon Cowell, from Lord Brocket to Emma Bunton, from Vanessa Feltz to Michael Flatley, from Christine Hamilton to Lady Victoria Hervey, from James Hewitt to Paris Hilton, and from Ricardo the Queer Barber to Richard and Judy. The volume will also include entries for a small number of seminal historical figures - Icarus, Boudicca, Lady Godiva - who may fairly be said to have blazed a trail for today's celebrities.
In addition to these biographical articles, there will also be short articles on some key words and phrases in the celebrity lexicon, some key issues for the today's Celebrities ('celebrity handholding', 'cracking the American market'), and on some fascinating Celebrity phenomena (including 'Celebrity air rage'). Furthermore, special feature entries detailing Celebrity faux pas, will be accompanied by Celebrity 'top ten' charts displaying the ups and downs in popularity of various household names.
William Donaldson was educated at Winchester and Cambridge and went into the theatre, producing Beyond the Fringe and The Bedsitting Room. His novels include Both the Ladies and the Gentlemen, Nicknames Only and Is This Allowed? His trivia include The Henry Root Letters, The Further Letters of Henry Root, Henry Root's World of Knowledge, Root into Europe (filmed by ITV, 1991) and Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics (2002). William Donaldson died in June 2005. Hermione Eyre has contributed over 300 articles to the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, where she is a staff writer and bath salts correspondent. Hermione Eyre is the TV critic of the Independent on Sunday. She has contributed to publications including The New Statesman and The Telegraph, and appeared on Women's Hour (Radio 4), Night Waves (Radio 3) and Sky News.