There comes a point with reality TV shows where you realise it can’t go on. The process is exhausted. The celebrities pathetic beyond parody. The viewer simultaneously sucked in and yet watching in such an arched, ironic fashion that their right eyebrow has taken up permanent residence somewhere around their coving.
And then you realise that you’re wrong. It can go on, and it will. On and on until reality TV stars aren’t just filling your every screen but also reading your news and driving your bus and applying for your job, forcing you to go and become a celebrity yourself, a process which will continue until everyone in the world has been featured in Heat magazine and done an ad for Iceland, at which stage the world will return to normal and we can all get back to watching Columbo.
Until then there’s I’m A Celebrity, which features the usual crew of sociopaths and sweethearts.
On the sweetheart side there’s Robert Kilroy Silk. Ho ho. Just kidding. Unless, of course, you take ‘sweet’ to mean ‘total’ and ‘heart’ to mean ‘arsehole’.
Kilroy is a one-man misery making machine. Half an hour in the jungle and he was already calling WAG Carly Zucker a harridan and a control freak. By the end of Sunday’s show I was convinced that Kilroy is to blame for everything wrong with today’s society. We let that man on TV five mornings a week for 17 years. Think of the damage.
This year the celebrities are split into two teams. Kilroy is on the yellow team, along with Mancunian Simon from Blue, Esther Rantzen, Page 3 girl Nicola McLean and Zuckerman. Then there’s the Red team, featuring Joe Swash aka Mickey from EastEnders, tennis champ Martina Navaratilova, George Takei aka Sulu from Star Trek, gay former policeman Brian Paddick and ex Word presenter Dani Behr. The yellows had to cross a river in a crazy boat contraption which meant lots of gratifying shots of Kilroy falling in the water. The others had to parachute down.
“Did you enjoy that?” the Red team asked Paddick, as he landed, looking ashen. ““Abuddughh,” he said, trembling, not the greatest of poster boys for gay policeman.
Then it was trial time, with the two teams competing against each other: the winners get the comfy camp and a decent feed, the losers the floor and a can of beans. Joe and Simon volunteered themselves for the first ordeal which involved them plunging their hands into a hole to collect a star. A hole filled with spiders, eels and scorpions. “I’m a fearful person. I’m just generally scared of everything,” said Joe. “Don’t mess with the Si, you’ll get caught in the web,” said Simon.
Oh dear. If this was a film you know who’d win. And since reality TV shows are 99% fiction, so it went, with the skittish Joe somehow managing to combat his fear of spiders, eels, klaxons, oxygen etc and get two stars. “I screamed like a girl,” he told his team-mates afterwards. He did, too. You cannot help but love this guy. He’s like a cockney monkey.
As the pair was manhandling eels, their team mates were making their way to camp. With difficulty. “I thought I was fit,” said George, a little out of breath. George, you’re seventy one years old. You should be sitting in a recliner with a cup of milky coffee and a slice of Battenberg, not sliding down the jungle on your backside. “There was a small tree that got caught in my crotch and that’s what stopped me.” Yeah. That’d do it. George is hilarious. He sounds like he’s still on Star Trek. He might think he is. I can’t wait until he starts setting his phaser to stun. Hopefully targetting Kilroy.
After a slap up meal and a comfy night for the Reds and an evening hungry and covered in creepy crawlies for the Yellows, it was time for another trial, with Dani and Carly going head to head in The Long Drop. This meant they had to unfasten Perspex boxes filled with creepy crawlies, themselves encased in a Perspex box hundreds of metres above the jungle. Looked easy, actually. Far less scary than visiting a long drop toilet, as the name implied.
Dani is wearing the jungle look well, coming over like Lara Croft. It helps to be tall, I feel. When my turn comes (and, as aforementioned, it definitely will) I fear I’ll look more like Jimmy Kranky.
Anyway, the yellow team lost, by a whisker (or antennae) and were cold, hungry and wet, since it had also started to piss it down. “What have the other camp got?” the Yellows wanted to know. “A double decker bus with two beds in it,” replied Carly. “Well I don’t think they’re having the full experience,” said Esther. Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.
Tonight (Monday’s) task is called Ice Cream Van and looks revolting; maggots in your Mr Whippy and whatnot. This time, the always sensible public got to vote for who they wanted to see tortured. So whom, from the yellow team, should suffer? Would it be the utterly repulsive Kilroy? Nope, it will be glamour model Nicola who, apart from being a No Frills Jordan, has done nothing to deserve such treatment.
For the Reds, inevitably, it was Joe, who had clearly not been warned that by proving himself immense entertainment he will be voted to do a trial every day for the next three weeks. For man who screams at a klaxon, I’m not sure what’ll he’ll do when he’s sees what’s about to pop up in his 99. But I shall be tuning in - ironically of course - to find out.
I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, 9pm, ITV1.