I’m not sure how you label TV programmes like ‘X Factor’,‘ Strictly Come Dancing’ and the latest to start its annual run, ‘I’m A Celebrity’. Many class them as reality shows but there’s clearly nothing commonplace about taking a crash course in ballroom dancing or eating the private parts of an Australian marsupial. You could argue there’s not much to associate with either in ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ or ‘Jersey Shore’ I suppose, though haven’t producers missed a trick not doing a live version of the latter during Hurricane Sandy? We could have shared the anguish of Snooki and Pauly D as they desperately baled out flood water from the hot tub and tried to work out a way of using hair-straighteners without power.
I notice press releases have dropped the ‘Get Me Out Of Here’ bit from ‘I’m A Celebrity’ as, obviously, the D-listers wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to be. I wonder how agents sell the concept to their clients? I’d bet that the words ‘foreign travel’, ‘exotic food’ and ‘career upsurge’ feature more prominently than ‘open-air sanitation’, ‘public humiliation’ or ‘Ant & Dec’. One of this year’s rumoured contestants, MP Nadine Dorries, claims she’s never seen the show. I can’t believe the ‘Bridget Jones’ of Parliament would abandon the EU budget vote in favour of an alleged £40,000 appearance fee but the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency representative would probably better off staying by the camp fire than returning to face the Tory Chief Whip if true.
So who else will be braving the Bushtucker Trials? Helen Flanagan and Charlie Brooks (the Eastenders actress not the former racehorse trainer at the centre of the News Of The World scandal – I’d doubt if he still had his passport) will be familiar to soap fans and are 9/2 (Boylesports and William Hill) and 5/1 (William Hill) respectively to be the last left standing. Comedian Brian Conley will be expected to keep up the troupe’s spirits and is 6/1 with Boylesports and William Hill, while heavyweight boxer David Haye is the man most likely to keep the prima donnas in check and do any crocodile wrestling, though that may not be necessary if Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson turns up. He should be used to creepy-crawlies after his role in ‘The Mummy’ franchise.
Hopefully, we’ll quickly see the back of ‘Made In Chelsea’ self-publicist Hugo Taylor, while former darts world champion Eric Bristow (20/1 with Ladbrokes) must have fallen on hard times, though will come in handy if there is any spear-chucking to be done. There is alo former ‘Doctor Who’ actor Colin Baker but do we really want to see well-cooked ‘Bird Of A Feather’ Linda Robson (16/1 general) without her make-up? The jungle drop-off is this Saturday, at least Christmas will be upon us when it’s all over!