I’m a Celebrity 2018: Noel Edmonds vs the hunks, honeys and diamond geezers

The Deal or No Deal presenter promises pure TV gold in the jungle

I’m a Celebrity: the 2018 lineup. TV presenter Noel Edmonds was added to the contestants on Tuesday

I’m a Celebrity: the 2018 lineup. TV presenter Noel Edmonds was added to the contestants on Tuesday

 

As the X Factor rapidly morphs into Weekend At Bernie’s – The Musical, serving up a dismal display every weekend, with viewers tuning in only to see if Simon Cowell’s features have completely transformed into those of a Chow Chow dog, ITV have been banking on I’m a Celebrity, the reality TV steamroller, to put them back on track.

Every year it bursts through the winter schedules demanding that we watch someone from Casualty gag over a bowl of hot sheep’s brains while an ex-member of The Saturdays holds their hair back. It’s the boot camp the modern celebrity must endure to ensure a resuscitation of their public image or for the tabloids to herald them as a “good sport” for engaging with the “bants” of being locked in a coffin full of rats.

The show is televisual schadenfreude, a mix of public school antics and laddish “japes”; it’s entertaining torture porn which viewers inflict on retired politicians or young female celebrities to “take them down a peg or two”.

Anne Hegerty form TV show The Chase. Photograph: Joel Anderson/ITV/PA
Anne Hegerty form TV show The Chase. Photograph: Joel Anderson/ITV/PA

This year’s assortment of panto regulars and others who didn’t make the cut for Strictly features amorphous boybander James McVey from The Vamps (who looks like a terrified goldfish in the press shots), X Factor runner-up Fleur East, the inevitable kids from Hollyoaks and Corrie (Malique Thompson-Dwyer and Sair Khan) and more interestingly, tea-time quiz doyenne Anne Hegerty, aka The Governess from The Chase. Not much is known about Hegarty apart from her Ms Trunchbull-style shtick, which may dissolve once she’s faced with a blender full of witchetty grubs. Although one would hope she doubles down on her persona serving withering comebacks to the all-singing-all-dancing John Barrowman. Man-of-many-accents Barrowman sure to be the tabloid treat – he’s already offered up ready-made headlines and future This Morning phone-ins with his statement that he wants to be the first gender fluid “King or Queen” of the jungle.

Then there’s DIY SOS stubble merchant (and erstwhile “musician”, God help us), Nick Knowles, who looks so at home in his body warmer and outback hat uniform that it feels like he’s already been on the show or at least could end up being Kiosk Keith’s replacement. Maybe he’s been in the jungle all along, building a reinforced dunny to hide in, waiting for his time to shine.

Former football manager Harry Reknap. Photograph: Joel Anderson/ITV/PA
Former football manager Harry Redknap. Photograph: Joel Anderson/ITV/PA

The one contestant that has aroused the most attention is crafty old Harry Redknapp, ex-football manager, owner of the now famous Rosie the dog (who once managed to have a bank account in Monaco), sheepskin-jacket-wearing wheeler-dealer diamond geezer, who has said he’s never watched the show. Surely there will be a surge in viewers from Southampton waiting to inflict some ice cold revenge on the former football manager, with some already joking on Twitter that the notoriously tricky Hazza might end up defecting to Strictly half way through the show.

In truth, though, the only contestant that matters is the late, surprise addition of Blobby-befriending, Deal or No Dealer Noel Edmonds, who was announced on Tuesday as the 11th celebrity to head to the jungle. Edmonds, who says he is regularly visited by two melon-sized positivity orbs that may represent his parents and believes that cancer is caused by “negative energy” , is pure telly gold. It is unclear if he is also bringing his life-sized mannequin Candice with him to the jungle but the idea of an unfettered, unfiltered Edmonds sitting around the campfire chatting about his three failed Mr Blobby theme parks (one was under the touching moniker Dunblobbin – which is thought will be Blobby’s final resting place), the time he assumed he could buy the BBC or when he gave a Guardian journalist’s cat a motivational talk over the phone, has the makings of the stuff of legend.

Forget the annual perving over the hunks and honeys under the waterfall, this year must be 24-hour Edmonds-vision. He is a highlighted, floral-shirted Alan Partridge who hopefully will try to stage a coup or turn the camp into some sort of sub-Scientology place of positivity. If only Ant McPartlin had returned, who knows what an Edmonds healing could have done for the poor bloke. God know what affect he will have on replacement presenter Holly Willoughby.

This year, it might not be the critters that the celebs want to escape from but Crinkley Bottom’s most famous resident.

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