Cripes! What WILL happen in the jungle when Boris’s dad meets Britain’s pushiest WAG?
Not to mention a jealous boxer, a short-fused ex-footie star and posh girl called Toff!
WHEN I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! returns to our screens on Sunday, all eyes will be on presenter Ant McPartlin, fresh from rehab and hopefully back to form with his sidekick Declan Donnelly.
But yesterday, as contestants began arriving in Brisbane, it became clear that Ant had serious competition for the limelight from eccentric Stanley Johnson, the incorrigible show-off father of Foreign Secretary Boris.
Stanley, 77, a former Tory MEP and environmentalist, is possibly the most inspired piece of casting in the show’s history.
Here, ALISON BOSHOFF gives you the lowdown on the first contestants to be announced – jungle beasts who promise to make this year’s series the most entertaining yet.
THE BLOND BOMBSHELL
STANLEY and his son Boris were memorably described as a ‘pair of blond bears’.
Like his son, he is formidably bright and hugely ambitious – and also like him, Stanley swathes his sharp edge in layers and layers of dotty charm.
He declared himself ‘excited’ to be taking part in the reality TV series as he arrived at Brisbane airport, looking spookily like gaffe-prone Boris.
An intrepid sort, he is a trustee of the Gorilla Organisation and has spent time in the Congo and in Borneo, meaning he is likely to take his time in the jungle in his stride.
He’s an incurable mischief-maker and once presented a paper proposing the building of a new pyramid in Egypt while he was working at the loans committee of the World Bank – simply because he found the joke irresistible.
Born in 1940, his father was a hero RAF pilot who later ran a farm on Exmoor. His mother was halfFrench with German ancestry in the mix, connecting the family to the King of Wurttemberg.
On his father’s side there are Turkish connections – his grandfather, Ali Kemal, was a prominent politician who was killed by his political enemies.
After attending Sherborne School in Dorset he read classics at Exeter College, Oxford, where one undergraduate adventure involved attempting to travel to Afghanistan via Venice and India on the Marco Polo route by motorbike and sidecar.
He began his literary career at university, winning the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1962. The poet Robert Graves, who judged the competition, said his was the only entry that showed poetic understanding.
Although he is prone to say he has ‘underachieved’, he has had an impressive array of careers. At the World Bank, for example, he was head of the prevention of pollution division in the Seventies.
He served as a Conservative MEP from 1979 to 1984 and worked as a bureaucrat at the UN. He has also published 21 books and has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Pointless Celebrities and Have I Got News For You.
Johnson was given a Greenpeace Award for outstanding services to the environment in 1984, and stood for the Conservatives in Teign- bridge, Devon, at the 2005 general election, but came second.
Physically fit, he has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro twice in the past seven years. He once told an interviewer: ‘Everything has gone swimmingly. I have had a wonderful set of jobs, a wonderful set of children and two remarkably loyal and intelligent wives. It’s not up to me to start complaining.’
He had four children with his first wife, Charlotte, a painter. They are former London Mayor Boris – whom he calls by his first name, Alexander; the journalist and former editor in chief of The Lady magazine Rachel Johnson; the Tory MP and Financial Times journalist Jo Johnson, and Leo, a film maker. His marriage to Charlotte failed in 1980, and she once calculated that they moved house 32 times in 15 years.
After she was said to have had a serious breakdown, Stanley admit-
ted: ‘I’m not sure that I noticed.’ He then had two children, Julia and Maximilian with wife No2, Jenny. There are 11 grandchildren.
Of Boris, he says: ‘He has done better in every respect.
‘I haven’t given up politics, but I recognise that Boris – I call him Alexander, of course – has gone much further. On the writing front, he has done much better. He’s a first-class writer.’
Asked last summer at the height of the post- Brexit brouhaha whether he felt Michael Gove had knifed Boris by announcing he was going to stand as Tory leader, Stanley beamed broadly at the television cameras and said simply: ‘Et tu Brute.’
His daughter Rachel said yesterday: ‘He was always buggering off to live with remote tribes when we were kids — what’s new?’
As for his jungle camp-mates, you can bet that he will never have heard of any of them. Upon meeting the daytime TV stars Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan at a dinner party, and finding out they both worked in television, he enquired mildly whether they had ever come across each other at work.
LONG negotiations were needed to secure Becky Vardy, the 35-yearold wife of England and Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy.
She was apparently torn between a desire for the stardom of nightly TV appearances and her maternal instinct to be at home for her children Finlay, ten months, Sofia, three, Taylor, six and Megan, 11.
When she married Vardy last year, his mother and stepfather refused to attend the wedding because, along with his grandparents, they didn’t approve of her.
Small wonder. In 2001 she was interviewed for an indiscreet kissand-tell about a night of passion with the pop singer Peter Andre, whom she met after they exchanged glances in a restaurant, and just four months after her wedding to electrical engineer Mark Godden.
It was a disappointing experience, apparently. She said: ‘He was the worst lover I’ve ever had. It wasn’t even worth the train fare.’ Her marriage ended soon after. Megan was born following a romance with the boss of a timeshare firm. Becky then met Luke Foster, who was playing for Oxford United, and they had son, Taylor.
She was working as a party organiser in a Sheffield nightclub when she met Vardy, and they had daughter Sofia in 2014. She later recalled: ‘I must have said “No, thanks, I’m not interested” for the best part of two months.
‘He was very persistent though, asking me to go for a drink.’
She says her role models are David and Victoria Beckham.
LOVER AND FIGHTER
THE richest campmate, said to be worth £23million, is Amir Khan.
Born and raised in Bolton the boxer became famous in 2004 aged 17 when he won an Olympic silver medal in Athens.
He has been the WBA and IBF light-welterweight champion, but has now stepped up to middleweight and is said to be keen to compete in some big money bouts next spring – hence, perhaps, signing up for I’m A Celebrity.
Khan married girlfriend Faryal Makhdoom in 2013, and their daughter Lamaisah was born in 2014. But the marriage has been tempestuous, to put it mildly, with a lot of their spats conducted on Twitter. Faryal didn’t see eye to eye with her in-laws either.
He accused her of cheating on him this year with the boxer Anthony Joshua.
Khan was then seen dancing in a Dubai nightclub with beauty adviser Gulbahor Becknazar.
In September it was announced that he was filing for divorce, and Faryal promptly said that she was pregnant with their child.
She attempted a reconciliation, but Khan said the divorce was going ahead, and was seen with Brazilian model Bella Gusmao. But over the weekend he posted a picture of himself with Faryal on Twitter and said: ‘With my 4 month pregnant wife, after sorting out all the issues. Closing the year with a happy ending.’
FOOTIE TOUGH GUY
FORMER Chelsea captain Dennis Wise, 50, is notorious for his confrontations – on and off the pitch.
The 5ft 6in former midfielder, who won 21 England caps, has played for Wimbledon, Chelsea, Leicester, Southampton and Coventry City.
He also managed Leeds and had a role at Newcastle United.
In 1995 he was sentenced to three months in jail for assaulting a London taxi driver and was ordered to pay more than £1,200 to him.
The prison sentence was later overturned on appeal.
In 2002 he was sent home from Leicester’s Finland pre- season training camp when he broke the jaw of team-mate Callum Davidson. Wise and his wife Claire have two children.
A THUMPING TOFF
GEORGIA Toffolo – or Toff to her friends – is a former politics student who appears in the scripted reality TV show Made In Chelsea and makes a small fortune as an ‘influencer’ on social media, where she is paid to post messages on Twitter and Instagram.
Toff, who is from Torquay, joined the show after ‘hanging around’ a lot in SW3 and being spotted.
She said: ‘It’s the perfect job. Well, not really a job – just me hanging out with my friends.’ She had romances with Francis Boulle and Sam Prince on the show, and rows with co-star Liv Bentley.
JAMIE Lomas, well known for his work in Hollyoaks and EastEnders will appear in the jungle with Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine.
Lomas is perhaps most famous for his turbulent romance with Corrie’s Kym Marsh.
McAlpine, who plays Fiz Brown in Corrie, is married to restaurant manager Chris Farr. They have been together for 12 years and have a son, Albert, three.
YES... ANT’S BACK
THE show had to be pushed back two weeks to allow Ant, 41, to complete treatment in Los Angeles – thought to be further rehab for an addiction to prescription drugs.
He returned home to Chiswick, west London, two weeks ago. He and Dec, 42, are staying at a villa in Brisbane rather than in their regular luxury hotel, the Versace, where all the celebrities’ families stay.
Dec is accompanied by his wife – and manager – Ali Astall.
However, Ant’s wife Lisa remains in the UK, where she is the head make-up artist for Strictly Come Dancing. Rumours about the state of the couple’s marriage are rife. She did her best to quash them this week, but Ant stayed in a rented house near the marital home after he got back from LA.
I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! starts at 9pm on ITV on Sunday.
Like son, like father: Will Stanley Johnson be jungle’s biggest beast?
Fresh from rehab: Ant McPartlin
Footie hardman: Dennis Wise
Corrie girl: Jennie McAlpine
WAG lady: Getting Becky Vardy was a coup for producers Georgia of the jungle: Toff, above, could bring some Chelsea glamour
Packing a punch: Champion boxer Amir Khan