Getting on TV is a lot easier than you might think – just follow the advice and insider tips from our very own experienced contestant, Shirley Tuck.

First of all, ask yourself this: “Just how far are you prepared to go in the name of fame?” Once you’ve worked out your personal boundaries (but not your issues – that would ruin everything), then you’re ready to start. I must warn you however that standards are pretty high (or low, depending on your point of view). Nobody thought Kinga’s wine bottle incident would be possible to beat, but Dutch Big Brother contestant Tanja recently gave birth in the house to boost her chances of winning.

That’s the price of fame – and these days you pay in advance. A willingness to sacrifice all dignity, morals and values for those precious few minutes of airtime is a prerequisite. The recipe for success is simple: lose all inhibitions; give the producers what they want; and try not to imagine the horrified faces of all your family and friends. Remember that the scale of your embarrassment is directly proportional to our viewing pleasure.

It’s all about the package. Serve it up with bells on to stand any chance of beating off the competition. TV for the talentless is big business. It’s more about what you can’t do than what you do well. Your chances of stardom are greatly improved if you really, really suck at something. Learn to exaggerate your faults for maximum impact. If you can’t boil an egg go for ‘Ready Steady cook’. If you sing like a strangled cat try ‘Stars in their Eyes’. Got no style? Look like crap? Apply to ‘What not to Wear’ or ‘Ten Years Younger’. Obviously a combination of the above is most desirable and if you have minor mental problems too then the world of television is your oyster.

My British television debut is coming to a screen near you in February, when I will be starring as a contestant on ‘Masterchef Goes Large’. Having a camera shoved literally inches from your face does strange things to a person. I tended to favor the rabbit-caught-in-headlights stare and gormless village idiot look; admirably aided by the horribly unflattering and ill-fitting attire I was forced to wear.

Filming for one hour of showtime took a staggering ten hours a day for two days. I almost died of boredom and am convinced the long periods of sitting around are purely to lull your brain into ‘duh’ mode so you come across as gibbering and incompetent. That’s entertainment for you. Viewer superiority is an essential component of a successful program. Trust me, the only things ‘going large’ are the egos and waistlines of both presenters. Not that I’m bitter…

Unlike promising boxer and really sore loser Najai Turpin, who shot himself after being knocked out (no pun intended) of Sylvester Stallone’s reality boxing competition ‘The Contender’ in February this year. Maybe he just couldn’t stand having to repeatedly listen to the Rocky theme tune. Speaking of which, filming for ‘Rocky 6’ is due to start soon and extras will be needed. Again, no acting experience (or skills of any kind) required. An opportunity not to be missed I’m sure.

On that note, ‘Trisha’ is always looking for participants. Don’t have a suitably humiliating or pathetically tragic story of your own to share with the nation? No worries. Get down to your local doctor or dentist’s waiting room and flick through the ageing copies of ‘Take a Break’ or ‘Woman’s Own’ for inspiration and voila! a star is born.

Failing that you could sell your soul to Anne Robinson. ‘The Weakest Link’ is looking for autistic contestants for an extra special show. Perhaps Ms Robinson will finally meet her match.

Getting desperate? Apply to be an audience member on your favourite daytime show. It can’t be that hard. Producers usually trawl local elderly homes and bribe the poor old dears with a free lunch. Well, it’s a day out. Beats a trip to Blackpool at this time of year.

If, despite all my quality advice you still haven’t made it onto the telly, there’s always ‘Crimestoppers’.