When I tweeted last week that if I had to fuck anyone on "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" it would be Rosemary it was more a reflection of my unexpected warming to a loud mouthed pastry dictator than any real lust.
If there's one thing I've come to learn from this series of my all time favourite reality TV show (it's not a big field - The Apprentice and Bad Lads Army make up the rest) it's that it is those candidates that grow on us that last the longest in the process.
Whether that's the unexpected appreciation of someone you've previously held narrow minded prejudice about (Biggins) or discovering someone you've never heard of before (Rosemary Schrager or Janice Dickinson) they both count. The moment you realise "oh I like them" or indeed "oh I fucking love them" is the moment you become emotionally attached to their performance in the programme.
There are still moments of pure delight when someone is absolutely covered in shite but ultimately this programme is about backing your favourite and hoping they come through.
I have had three "Oh I fucking love them" moments this series. The first was Eric Bristow announcing he intends to hang his own son if he's like Helen Flanagan when he turns 22. Has anyone ever said anything so totally outrageous on television and has had no-one disagree with them? The second was Limahl confronting Flanagan over her reason for being on the show when she wouldn't handle the trials. And the third was the total blatant sea lion-ness of Rosemary. I don't mean that in an offensive way. I like sea lions and I just love the way Rosemary sleeps on a rock when the others have hammocks and beds, and the way she actually sleeps. Just slumped in the sun, legs apart by the phone box. She really doesn't give a fuck. Or does she? There's a degree of vulnerability behind her school ma'am strictness. Overall though, when she's not interested in other people's lives and looking to encourage young camp mates, she's bouncing about barking. She's a big generous sea lion. I love her.
This year's "I'm A Celebrity" is different from recent series in that the personality balance is quite intriguing. In the past the conflict has been the dynamic attraction but this series the subtle tolerance of the camp mates finds us waiting eagerly for the next verbal exchange. There is no camp politics just shop floor jousting. Somehow you can be more provocative when you're sort of getting on with someone than in open warfare.
A slice of abuse is far more expected during a row. Eric Bristow's bluff no-nonsense barbs have made him compulsive viewing. Whereas others have historically saved their bitching for the Bush Telegraph pieces to camera, Eric blurts out whatever he's thinking to his camp mates' faces and then redeems himself to camera in private by saying "there's no real harm in her". He uses the privacy to soften his stance and show his more affectionate side.
Bristow looks like a Lambert & Butler Robert Mitchum. He's like a standard fourth supporting character from 60s or 70s Korean War drama, he has a demeanour that lends himself more to humour in the face of adversity than mere slapstick.
Elsewhere in TV Jungle Land the ladies have been doing their best to bring some humanity to the show. Both Charlie Brooks and Ashley Roberts have a sensibility people will vote for. I'd never seen either of them in anything before but Ashley is really unlike our perceptions of American show biz girls. She's not bland. When the various Brits in the camp were shuffling their feet and trying not to offend Flanagan who was angling for attention with her leopard skin push up bra Ashley just stormed in and shouted 'Frikking hell your bazookas are ginormous" or something.
She makes me laugh and I guess that's one of the reasons William Hill today have her as the favourite. I'm not sure if "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" have ever really had a full line-up that are all likeable but now that the dickhead from Coronation Street has disappeared to pat her lips and smear fake tan all over herself in another Manchester nightclub that's the position they find themselves in.
I will predict a final three of Rosemary, Ashley and Eric but no doubt fate, trials and editing will yet have a say in that. Finally hats off to whoever does Iceland's advertising who have significantly reduced the amount of screen time allocated to the Iceland food itself.