Thursday 19 September 2019

Tears come thick and fast on I'm A Celeb

* I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here, UTV Ireland
* Toast Of London, Channel 4

Intriguing: Lady Colin Campbell’s back story is worth a movie
Intriguing: Lady Colin Campbell’s back story is worth a movie
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

How do you tell a joke when everyone knows the punchline? Would you bother?

Would you waste your time telling an anecdote when you know that your audience already knows how the story ends?

That thought, and many other less charitable ones, crossed my mind while watching I'm A Celeb... the other night as another standard sob story was rolled out.

We're well used to watching people old enough to know better spilling their guts out on the increasingly emetic The X Factor, but they have an excuse, of sorts.

Sure, that excuse is mainly to do with the fact that so many of them are so monstrously dull that the only interesting fact about them is that their Nana died or some other mundane fact of life which will be presented as a powerful personal tragedy. It's part of the wussification of our culture and you could argue the most toxic part of Simon Cowell's legacy is how he fooled an entire society into believing that a sob story and an ability to burst into tears is a valid substitute for talent.

Blubbing your way to fame has now become an essential part of every micro-celebs arsenal and this year's I'm A Celeb has found their perfect whiner-in-chief, former Hollyoaks totty Jorgie Porter.

The I'm A Celeb rules for success are fiendishly simple, particularly if you're the designated sexy broad that appears every season.

Having already aped Myleene Klass by posing provocatively in a shower, Porter must have realised that she wasn't going to set male pulses racing in the same way that the undeniably stunning Klass did. So she resorted to sniffling about growing up without a father and how her mother and grandmother had to pinch pennies to survive.

That's all very tough on any young person growing up, but it's hardly an unusual story in today's world. No, if you want a genuinely unusual story, you need to look to Lady Colin Campbell who has a back story worthy of a movie.

Whether that particular movie would be a horror or a farce remains a matter for debate, but there's no doubt that she is one of the more interesting characters to appear on the show.

Those of us of a certain age may remember Lady C - as she is now known - as a weird looking bird who wrote a salacious book about Princess Diana. Treated as a boy throughout her childhood due to an unfortunate genital condition, she went on to briefly marry an aristocrat before portraying herself as a royal insider.

She's also completely barking mad, which helps.

Putting poor Jorgie Porter's mundane moan about things being a bit tight when she was growing up to shame, Lady C's excuse for not doing a challenge was genius - she refused to lie down in an underground chamber because...her cousin was murdered in Argentina by being buried alive.

As excuses go, there's no comeback to that one, and she seemed genuinely peeved that she had even been asked to do it because, as she said: "I told the producers about my cousin's murder and told them I wouldn't do anything that involved being buried alive."

It says a lot about any show that you must stipulate in your contract that you're not really into the idea of being buried in a pit of insects, but it's the only thing this bizarre creature - who sounds like Arsene Wenger everytime she gets annoyed - has turned down.

The oiks and plebs seemed truly amazed that she sailed through the previous challenge. Merrily scoffing down turkey testicles and other dubious delights, the aristocracy are known for their odd eating habits and I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd cleared her plate and then asked for seconds, and maybe some swans ovaries for afters.

There was one moment of disappointment, however.

When And and Dec announced that they were going to the 'Elders camp', I was hoping it was members of that ludicrous think tank of the same name.

Sadly, we weren't greeted by the sight of Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter complaining about spiders disappearing up their arse, it was just the bloke from Dragons' Den and that bird who used to present a programme which involved fat people taking their clothes off.

Oh well.

I still think my version of the 'Elders camp' is far more entertaining.

The first episode of the first season of Toast Of London remains one of the funniest half hours of TV I've seen in the last decade. Back for its third season, it's still as bat s**t as it ever was, even if there is a case of diminishing returns.

Matt Berry plays the eponymous Stephen Toast, an actor with a voice that makes Brian Blessed sound like he's whispering in a library.

Blessed actually turns up in a later episode as Toast's father, which probably makes more sense than anything that happens on screen.

This week, a drunken Toast appears on the Lorraine Show and tells a startled Lorraine Kelly that he once wandered onto the set of the fake moon landing and that was the only time he met Stanley Kubrick who, as all conspiracy nuts know, allegedly directed the fake footage. It was all utterly stupid and daft and while it may not have the impact of its first season, remains the most joyously silly thing you will watch all week.

Irish Independent

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