Terence Blacker: The life of a celebrity toddler is not an enviable one

In a landmark decision, a judge decrees that the child can stay with his adoptive parents, provided he gives 30 per cent of his fame to his father

Celebrity, we would probably all agree, is getting tired. The options are drying up, week by week. Once people were famous for doing things well (Bobby Moore, Christine Keeler). Then they were famous for doing things badly (Eddie the Eagle, Neil Hamilton). Finally, there were those who found fame simply by wanting it very much (Jade Goody, Chantelle) . Where does it go from here?

The answer is with the younger generation. The shape of gossip columns to come lies in the celebrity toddler - its sweet little designer clothes, its shy but knowing poses for the camera, its celebrity growing-pains as it tries to come to terms with life in a goldfish bowl. Already we have little role-models - Brooklyn Beckham, Apple Paltrow, Suri Cruise - but these children have more or less entered the public arena by the conventional route: a much-photographed bump in the mother's stomach, a heart-warming moment on the hospital steps and then, within a year or so, an adorable smile for the paparazzi as they leave for a much-needed family holiday.

This month's celebrity toddler is far more interesting, having hit the ground running, publicity-wise. Only just over a year old and David Madonna-Ritchie is reaching parts of the newspapers which other famous children would give their milk teeth for. He has been adopted by a grade A and a grade C celebrity. He was the subject of a mercy dash to Africa and comes from Malawi, whose previous celebrity output was frankly minimal.

Clearly little David has an eventful future, but Madonna is famous for the detail of her planning. Close family friends are predicting the following milestone events in the his childhood.

2007. Madonna and Guy realise their son is in danger of being a misfit among celebrity children. Angelina Jolie has Shilow, Mick Jagger Beauregard, Frank Zappa had Moon Unit, David Blunkett Little Lad - beside them, David sounds drearily civilian. At his second birthday party, attended by Sir Elton John and Ricky Gervais, the child is officially named David-Baobab, or DB for short.

2008. DB's father in Malawi, having had to put his son up for adoption for reasons of poverty, announces that interview fees from the world's press have allowed him to review the situation and ask for him back. In a landmark decision, a High Court judge decrees that DB can stay with his adoptive parents on condition that he gives 30 per cent of his fame to his father. Max Clifford, appointed to represent Baobab's father, announces that his job is to control the press and protect his client from over-exposure. He reveals that a £300,000 advance has been paid by Bloomsbury for his memoirs and that he is in discussions with the producer of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

2010. DB is at the centre of press frenzy when he attends his first school. From a podium in the school playground, Madonna reminds journalists that her son is just another kid and that his privacy should be respected. Later that year, she and her son make history be being the first mother-son duet to have Christmas No 1 in the charts.

2012 A Panorama report reveals that some of the inhabitants of the village where DB was born had been under the impression that it had been the real Madonna who had visited them back in 2006. A religious revival has since taken place in the area, with large congregations gathering every Sunday to sing their favourite hymns, "Like a Virgin" and "What It Feels Like To Be a Girl". There is controversy when the new Archbishop of York supports Madonna-worship as "a valid expression of Christian goodwill".

2016. In a celebrity tug-of-love battle, Madonna and Guy Ritchie make separate appeals for custody of DB. After the judge asks the 11-year-old celebrity which parent he would prefer to live with, DB astounds the court by opting for his real father on the grounds that his adoptive parents have not appeared in Heat for two years, whereas DB Snr now has his own BBC1 chat show. A request by Madonna for a percentage of her former son's future fame is rejected.

Miles Kington is away