It’s that time of year again, 10 ‘celebrities’ who’ve exhausted all other avenues of income surrender their souls, forget their dignity and throw away their beauty products to head Down Under for three weeks of public abuse and bad food.
‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ is back for it’s 12,398th season and in true I’m a Celeb… fashion, the term celebrity is used very loosely. So loosely in fact I’m fairly sure ITV may receive complaints for ‘misrepresentation of a celebrity.’ Reality TV reached the point a long time ago where it seems to be; ‘a bunch of nobodies about to become celebrities’ or ‘a bunch of celebrities about to become nobodies’ and this year’s show does not disappoint. Thinking about it, the fact it’s sponsored by Iceland does give a little inkling as to the calibre of contestants that one should expect; unknown and desperate. Really really desperate.
As always, part of the fun of the first episode is working out who the hell they all are… and then watching them work out who the hell they all are. This year’s ‘Who’s Who?’ took place in a glamorous ocean-side setting in Australia where each celebrity arrived dressed-up-to-the-nines in a swanky car. The same car in fact. A red Ferrari that kept getting reversed up the drive to go and pick up the next contestant. (They cut that bit out though.) Anthony Cotton arrived first and was quickly followed by a bewildered Stephanie Powers who clearly had no idea who Anthony was, or why she had agreed to do the show. After a few minutes talking they began tap dancing. I don’t know the exact reason behind this but I’m pretty sure that’s just how people greet people in ‘showbiz.’ Mark Wright from ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ arrived next and Stephanie was back to looking confused. When asked what he does for a living, Mark replied confidently in his wide-boy-don’t-facking-mess-wiv-me-darlin tone, ‘I do sorta reality drama… like a real version of what Anthony’s in.’ How to make friends and influence people Mark. If Cotton’s eyes could fire bullets. Mark would have been dead in the water.
Lorraine Chase and Jessica-Jane Clement were next to the party and the camera immediately panned from Jessica-Jane’s huge rack to Mark’s sly face. For a split-second I did think I was watching The Only Way is Essex. Lorraine is an ‘actress’ and Jessica-Jane is a ‘TV presenter and model’. That’s basically a posh way of saying ‘I get my tits out on Babestation.’ Dougie from McFly and Fatima Whitbread arrived in a reserved fashion as they are actually ‘celebrities’. Kind of. Willie Carson bounced into the room trying to show off how zany and fun he is when in fact the only thing funny about his introduction was the that his face is eye level with Jessica-Jane’s boobs. What a horrible height-related coincidence Willie. Crissy Rock’s entrance was similar to Willie’s, wisecracks and all. (It’s important to point out at this point, before anyone gets excited, it’s not ‘that’ Chris Rock. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite.)
They all sat down to a decadent lunch which was essentially ‘the last supper’ before heading into the jungle. This was also a great time in which they could all try and learn each other’s names. As they finished their meals Ant and Dec appeared on a speed boat looking nothing like Miami Vice to tell the ‘celebrities’ that they are about to enter the jungle. In the video clips of each celebrity introducing themselves Fatima’s sees her proclaim, ‘This will be my toughest challenge to date.’ For those of you that don’t know anything about Fatima, she was abandoned as a baby and then went on to have a desperately unhappy childhood being beaten and raped by her step-father before overcoming all adversity and becoming a javelin World Champion winning many medals and setting world records. I’m a Celeb… is pretty tough too. Another fact you may not know about Fatima is she trains at the same gym as Jodie Marsh. I’m not sure if she had anything to do with Jodie’s latest transformation, but I’m pretty sure that explains a lot.
When they arrive in the jungle it’s quite clear that Fatima is the Alpha male and they immediately put her in charge under the nickname ‘the athlete.’ I’m presuming that this androgynous title is intentional as it is a little difficult to avoid the fact SHE LOOKS LIKE A MAN. They arrive quickly at a ‘cave that smells of dead insects’ and they all agree that there is no way they can sleep in there. They are celebrities after all. ‘Fatima Sweat-Much’ instantly takes charge and begins to cut down the jungle with her bare hands. She fashions some beds out of the trees whilst the others, including the ‘real men’ sit back and watch incredulously as she makes Bear Grylls look like a girl guide.
After an uncomfortable night’s sleep it’s time for them to make their way into the ‘actual’ jungle. They are transported once again via helicopter and land in a clearing that has a bunch of parachutes laid out on the ground. Anthony has an ‘anxiety attack,' known more widely as ‘hissy fit,’ and he refuses to do it. Once he’s calmed down he turns to the camera and explains that actually he will do the jump but makes it clear he’s only doing it because he ‘doesn’t want to look like a knob-head’. I’m presuming he changed his tune once the camera crew reminded him that by virtue of being ‘on the show’ he automatically looks like a ‘knob-head’ and therefore he has nothing to lose. So just bloody jump.
Lorraine Chase dives first and absolutely loves it… even though she continually chunders once she’s landed. Mark Wright jumps second… I’m fairly sure the shot of Mark sitting on a bloke's lap in a tight vest whilst groaning and panting will be replayed in a few homes this week. Fatima jumps next and she is practically dragging her tandem partner out of the helicopter she is so raring to go. What an athlete. Crissy decides she can’t do the jump only after she’s taken her false teeth out (in preparation) and is up 12,000 ft in the helicopter. I’m almost certain that after removing my false teeth on television I’d have gladly jumped out of a helicopter, parachute or not. Mark helpfully explained to the camera at this point that Crissy is, ‘scareder’ than him. I’m not exactly sure what this means but I think it’s Essex for ‘less famous’.
To be honest, I'm not even sure there was a 2nd star for Starr. Seeing his face in a box of creatures makes for good telly though.
Anthony is the final celebrity to make the dramatic leap. The camera focuses in on his face. His eyes are closed tight and his lips are pursed as the man behind him tightens his grip. It quickly becomes clear it’s not the first time he’s been this tense with a man strapped to his back. They go for it and he relaxes into it the further they fly. When they finish he bursts out crying. Bless. Mark is straight over to congratulate him with a fist pump (a type of handshake).
Jessica-Jane, Willie, Dougie and Stephanie arrive in the jungle by kayak. This is not an exciting task by any means. The only thing that would have made it interesting would have been if the girls were subjected to wear white t-shirts for when they fell in the river. It took them a while to get their rhythm and they spent a good five minutes spinning round. In the end they joined the kayaks together to get a little further down the river, well, as far as is believable to the audience so that ITV don’t get complaints that they ‘cheated.’
Once all the ‘celebrities’ arrive in the jungle Ant and Dec gather them all together at the ‘Bush tucker trial’ clearing and they are told that they will be split into two camps.
SHOCK HORROR FACES.
Everyone’s muttering and worrying about not wanting to be in the bad camp. They are 'celebrities' after all. As they’re all sat there Freddie Starr turns up, nine months pregnant by the looks of it and cracking jokes straight off the bat. Good ol’Fred. Ant and Dec introduce the first task; ‘The Jungle Scales.’ They explain that the team who succeed will head straight to the posh camp and the losing team will get dunked in fish guts before heading to the crap camp. Mark Wright is quick to shout, sincerely and honestly might I add, ‘come on guys, do this for me!’ Yes, that’s why they’re all there Mark. For you. In fact the whole show is about you. (Has no one told him this isn’t The Only Way is Essex: Down Under?)
For their first task, it’s a fairly simple one. Each team of five ‘celebrities’ sits alongside each other on a bench with their head above a box filled with anything from cockroaches to weird Australian bugs. They have to pull two stars out of their box just using their mouth. The task begins and it’s immediately clear that Freddie’s surname is not helping him find any stars. He’s still struggling and chomping his way through some mealworm as the opposing team race through their boxes and find all 10 stars. To be honest, I'm not even sure there was a 2nd star for Starr. Seeing his face in a box of creatures makes for good telly though. Amongst the disgusting and scary contents of the boxes Anthony is faced with a bunch of cock(roache)s and Mark tackles a team of scorpions. It’s not the most squeamish task but it’s enough to sort the Fatmia from the boys.
The losing team are then lowered into some fish guts before they all make their way to their camps. The winning team of Anthony, Mark, Fatima, Crissy and Lorraine arrive in ‘Croc Creek’ to find 1st World beds and a blazing warm bonfire. The other team are stuck in ‘Snake Rock’ with 3rd World beds and a measly amount of rice and beans. Freddie is feeling a tad guilty as it was down to him that they lost the task so in order to win them all back he starts using his charm and recalling stories of him and John. You know, John Lennon. ‘I was staying with John, I used to knock around with them (The Beatles.) John loved me.’ Nothing like a bit of modesty to build bridges Freddie. He then tells everyone that he has an alter ego called Thelma and that ‘she’ is going to come out to play. Oh goody. There’s nothing like an overweight aging comedian in drag making a funny in the middle of a jungle. There honestly isn’t. I checked.
It seems that apart from a few niggles like Stephanie, a vegetarian, refusing to eat her tofu (she couldn’t marinate it, well have you tried to eat raw tofu?) and Crissy mistaking her identity for the other Chris Rock and attempting stand up around the camp fire, it was a smooth transition into the jungle for our celebrities. Mark has already started calling Anthony ‘Tone’ (I think that’s just I’m-from-Essex-so-must-shorten-every-name law) and Jessica-Jane has bonded over bonfire light with Freddie. This may all change however when the first live ‘bush tucker trial’ happens tomorrow night and they all start hating whoever didn’t win for their camp. Stars equal food in this show and the audience have already voted Mark and Freddie to take on the first challenge. This basically means that tomorrow’s show is guaranteed to be funny, intentionally or otherwise. Much like Ant and Dec. I can hardly contain myself.
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