I’m ready for my close- up, Mr DeMille
I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here 7.30pm, UKTV
A CELEBRITY? Apart from Jason Donovan and Liza Minnelli’s exhusband David Gest, we’ll have to take their word for it.
The celebs in a reality show tend to have the dimmest aura of fame, so once it’s exported overseas you have Buckley’s of identification.
Never mind because I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here has fame enough. Through the years this British show, a fusion of Celebrity Big Brother and Survivor, has generated much discussed moments such as former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon walking out and Australian singer Peter Andre hooking up with glamour model Jordan, creating a sort of down- market Posh and Becks. OK, more down- market.
Besides, all seven series were filmed in Queensland and it would be nice to know what the British have been up to behind our backs all this time. Remember Maralinga?
Other contestants you may have heard of include Footballers’ Wives ’ Phina Oruche and Cherie Blair’s halfsister, journalist Lauren Booth. But it’s enough to know that these are pampered people who will be tortured using creepy Australian wildlife.
UKTV is starting at season six, which aired in Britain last year, and as such the viewer’s knowledge of the show’s structure is assumed. That it takes a looser, Big Brother approach rather than the tight format of Survivor doesn’t promote clarity, either. Basically, after episode one, viewers in Britain voted to decide which celebrity would participate in a Fear Factor style challenge that determined how many servings of dinner the camp received that night.
The rest of the show is devoted to camp life. Later in the series viewers vote off the contestants.
Going some way to compensate for the slack pacing is the quick- witted snark of hosts Ant and Dec, who were also the hosts of Pop Idol, the show that launched the various Idol s across the world.
Also appealing, as in any good celeb- reality show, is a chance to see what the famous are like when they aren’t rehearsed, sometimes with surprising results. For instance, when he’s not being a big sook, Gest seems fun, provided you can stop staring at those eyebrows. And poor Donovan. I must confess a soft spot for Jase — he was burned by fame and probably deserves a better career than he has — and seeing him lumped in with these C- graders is horrifying.
However, his sweet if intense persona is so easy to watch, his screen time is enjoyable. Besides, he demonstrates a sly comic timing that some casting director needs to harness, such as when he bungees off a helicopter: ‘‘ It’s amazing.’’ Pause. ‘‘ Hurts your balls a bit, though.’’ Maybe that’s enough to get him out of things such as this.
Timing: Jason Donovan is one of the best things about I’ma Celebrity . . .