Daily Mail

Sir Oswald’s croc shock on Crackerjac­k!


- Craig Brown

1958: Eager to regain his former popularity, disgraced fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley appears on the children’s programme Crackerjac­k, dressed up as Captain Hook.

‘It’s a fine way to get my message of European Unity across to the young people of this country of ours,’ he proclaims. ‘I have every reason to believe that my appearance on this admirable show will catapult me to the forefront of the political arena.’

Things take a sour turn, however, when roly-poly presenter Peter Glaze ushers him into a cage already occupied by a crocodile.

‘By a stroke of luck, the crocodile turned out to be the former Secretary-General of the British Union of Fascists, so we got along like a house on fire,’ laughs Mosley as he emerges from the cage. He is then rushed to hospital and treated for severe bites to his legs, chest and arms. Happily, the crocodile escapes with only minor injuries, and goes on to win the Croydon East by-election.

1978: Having been ousted from the Tory leadership, Edward Heath signs up for the first series of I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! Also on the show are Sid James, Lord Lucan, Freddie ‘Parrot-Face’ Davies, Roy Strong, the former director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Lord Charles, the distinguis­hed glove puppet.

In the early days, the challenges are easier than they will be in the future, though no less humiliatin­g. To earn food for the camp, Heath bounces up and down on a Space Hopper, consuming a Wimpy Burger (‘a gruesome activity I hope never again to endure’).

Eventually, he storms off the set, saying that he has been misled by the production company. They had, he says, led him to believe that he would be able to speak about the necessity for a Prices and Incomes Policy; instead he has been obliged to engage in chat with Sid James about Barbara Windsor’s physical attributes, a topic in which he has little or no interest.

1983: Edwina Currie is elected Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire, setting her on course for future success on TV reality shows including Wife Swap, Hell’s Kitchen, Stars In Their Eyes, Come Dine With Me, Strictly Come Dancing, Antiques Road Show and I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!

‘Isn’t that the whole point of entering politics?’ she asks. 1999: Mr Blobby becomes the first major celebrity to appear on BBC Question Time, giving his views on climate change, the Middle East and the crisis in the NHS.

2006: Fiery ex- Labour MP George Galloway appears on Celebrity Big Brother. ‘This is the perfect platform from which to acquaint the British public with my views on the Middle East,’ he explains, as he pretends to be a cat, licking milk from the cupped hands of actress Rula Lenska. 2009: Having left the House of Commons, former Conservati­ve minister Michael Portillo is forced into a pink jacket and lime-green trousers and put on a train, occasional­ly alighting to knock on random front doors and cross- question bemused strangers. Years later, he can’t stop doing it, regardless of whether he is being filmed. It is now 13 years since he last went home.

2018: John Prescott signs up for Strictly Come Dancing, determined to make it a forum for his political campaigns.

In the first episode, he is sharply criticised by the judges for muttering about the industrial regenerati­on of Hull while performing the paso doble with profession­al dancer Jezebel Carmichael. In response, he punches judge Craig Revel Horwood to the ground, declaring it ‘a victory for the common man’.

2023: Former Prime Minister Liz Truss applies for a position on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother, but her name fails to ring a bell with members of the production team. Instead, she takes to hanging around shopping precincts in the Midlands. She hopes to be collared by reporters on local TV wanting to find out what ordinary people on the street are thinking.

2024: Two years after his stint on I’m A Celebrity, Matt Hancock is spotted in the Australian jungle, swallowing kangaroos’ anuses and being drenched in slime. ‘No one told him the show was over. He was enjoying it so much, we thought it would be cruel,’ explains a senior producer.

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