The BBC is under ever-increasing pressure to cut its costs in the current financial climate and has announced that in order to make substantial savings, it will close down its world-famous drama department in July.

Reports say that the department will be completely disbanded with no more big name stars to be cast in any subsequent programming. Instead new dramas and series will be staged by an amateur dramatic company, St Michael’s Anglican Strolling Players and Mummers from Watford.

The first programme commissioned under the new regime will an adaptation of the James Joyce classic, Ulysses, with the Verger, Mr Alan Chivers, cast in the lead role of Leopold Bloom. And in a throwback to the late 50s and early 60s, the production will be broadcast live to save on costly recording equipment.

Daphne Miller a doctor’s receptionist as well as the group’s creative director and seamstress said: ‘Alan’s really not bad at all once he settles his nerves, and his Sky Masterson, when we did Guys and Dolls last Summer, was warmly received by the critic in The Watford News. He can be a little shaky at remembering lines but if we write them on bits of the set he should be fine.’

Meanwhile James Nesbitt was said to be distraught on hearing the news and a source close to the ubiquitous Ulsterman told The Sun: ‘Jimmy’s gutted. After getting away with riding the gravy train for so long he just doesn’t know what he’s going to do next.’