Team Spirit

By Berkmann, Marcus | The Spectator, August 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Team Spirit


Berkmann, Marcus, The Spectator


David Liddiment did well to resign when he did. Otherwise he may well have been tarred and feathered for I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV), the tackiest, tattiest, cheapest old cobblers his channel has offered us in a long time. Yes, it's worse than Crossroads - words that TV critics have been aching to type all year. Finally we are liberated from our shackles and can stamp joyously on this feeble programme, while taking care to watch every last second of it. Well, you wouldn't want to miss anything, would you?

I'm A Celebrity ... takes the Survivor format, adds a soupcon of Celebrity Big Brother and, I suspect, pays format fees to neither, for this masquerades as an original programme. Ant and Dec are our hosts, live by satellite from the rainforests of northern Australia. In an ideal world, of course, they would be left there to be eaten by crocodiles - and it's just possible that this is the brilliant twist that will bring the series to an end and win it a dozen or so Baftas. Instead the show drops eight other ,celebrities' into this wild and dangerous territory and plays silly Survivor-type games with them over 14 hours of primetime TV.

Who are these 'celebrities'? Step forward sorry ex-boxer Nigel Benn, spoon-man Uri Geller, thickie Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and the extraordinary phenomenon that is Tony Blackburn. Is that Christine Hamilton, armour-plated wife of feeble Neil? It is. But who are the other three? Are we supposed to have heard of them? The basic gag, as far as I understand it, is that these eight must work as a team to survive the treacherous conditions of the jungle, whereas in reality all are crazed egomaniacs with no skills or talents that are of any use to anyone.

'I will try to use my mind as a tool to help my body and my soul,' says Uri Geller helpfully. Tara Palmer-Tomkinson is struck by how different the jungle is to Bond Street. Tony Blackburn gets it right first time. `It's a nightmare,' he says. Each celebrity is allowed to take two luxuries into the jungle. Uri takes an Exeter City football shirt. Tony takes a mirror. The blonde model takes a loo roll. Awaiting them are scorpions, centipedes, poisonous fruit, an insect or two and several thousand killer snakes. There's no shelter, not much food and, if anything goes wrong, they only have each other to rely on. …

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