Professional obituary writers have warned that the start of 2017 has seen a huge reduction in profits compared with the same period last year.

One industry insider described the current situation as “utterly depressing” before his eyes lit up and twinkled as he reminisced about the glory days of 2016.

“This time last year it was all going so well. Every morning when I checked the news app, there was another one gone: Bowie, Wogan, Rickman… I was working my nuts off and raking the overtime in. But this year… who? A football manager and an IT girl. I’m skint, there’s just no work”.