Unreality TV

by Rick Johansen

It’s time to unveil the candidates for this year’s series of I’m A Celebrity. Here we go, then:

  • Danielle Harold. Never heard of her.
  • Fred Sirieix. Not a scooby.
  • Grace Dent. She reviews restaurants I don’t go to in The Guardian, so I don’t bother to read them. What would be the point?
  • Jamie Lynn Spears. Described in the Huff Post as “TV star and sister of Britney Spears“. The second bit is true, but I am not familiar with her work.
  • Josie Gibson. Professional Bristolian who hosts This Morning. If she’s still there in a few years, I’ll probably learn more about her when I’m in a care home.
  • Marvin Humes. He’s in the boy band JLS, apparently. I’d have never known without reading the blurb.
  • Nella Rose. It says here, she is an “internet personality“. That’s some job. I’ve no idea who she is.
  • Nick Picard. He is in Hollyoaks, a show I have never seen, so our media paths have not crossed.
  • Sam Thompson. A “reality star“, apparently.
  • Nigel Farage. Where to begin? A far right racist, xenophobe and Little Englander, a sort of thoroughly modern (Oswald) Mosley, a man who has done more than anyone to divide and all but break Britain. An absolute wrong ‘un.

Full disclosure here. I have seen small excerpts from the show, but never more than that.  I’ll allow Wikipedia to describe the show’s premise:

The format sees a group of celebrities living together in extreme conditions with few creature comforts. Each member undertakes challenges to secure additional food and treats for the group, and to avoid being voted out by viewers during their stay, with the final episode’s votes nominating who wins a series.”

It is very important to recognise that millions (? – ed) of my readers watch this show, which last year ran to 22 episodes, and really enjoy it. I would describe the show, only on the basis of what I have read about it and seen in previews, as trash TV.  I say that not necessarily as a bad thing because from time to time I too have enjoyed trash TV and I am not going to trashing a person’s choice to watch trash TV. Celebrity unreality shows are not my thing, simple as that, and I won’t be watching this series, unless my brain falls out.

The involvement of Farage is, I feel, more than slightly troubling because of his toxic political views. And already there are plenty of people in my social media echo chamber who are calling for a boycott of the show, not least to concern advertisers who pay vast sums to plug their products between sessions of kangaroo anus eating. Some want ITV to change their minds and put pressure on them to axe Farage from “the jungle” before the show even starts. They are, of course, free to do that but I am not part of it. I would not watch I’m A Celebrity without Farage, never mind with him, and it’s really up to people to watch what they want, in the full understanding, I hope, that Farage is a very bad person indeed.

It could be that I am so out of touch with much of the modern media that actually the other contestants are superstars in their own right, that the rest of you know all about the celebrity careers of Nella Rose and Sam Thompson and it’s me that’s hopelessly out of touch, in which case, apologies for mildly taking the piss out of what I presumed to be their stature, or lack of it. More likely, I reckon, is that the producers spent the bulk of their budget on securing the services of Farage and were left with relative buttons to sign up the rest. I very much doubt, for example, that Jamie Lynn Spears is on the £1.5m Farage is reputed to be on.

If your bag is watching people eating “beach worms, bull’s tongues, the anus of various animals, vomit fruits, cooked pigs’ brains, various animal testicles, raw fish eyes, sheep eyes, blended rats or mice tails“, as it says on Wiki, then fair play to you. It’s not exactly new because back in the 1980’s the Japanese were already at it with their show Endurance, in which contestants would put themselves through pain and embarrassment and doing horrible things like eating a kangaroo’s penis. Is there any part of a kangaroo that can’t be eaten in the name of entertainment? If there is, I don’t want to know about it.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, the term ‘celebrity’ means “a famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.” Then, I guess, you could find yourself arguing about what is and isn’t being famous, but honestly, what’s the point, although I do struggle to see what the actual point of it is. Perhaps, it’s that “water cooler” moment, when people get together when they should be working saying things like “did you see that asshole eating an asshole last night“? But each to their own, I say. One person’s kangaroo’s penis is another person’s hearty meal.

Anyway, there’s enough to worry about without getting angry about who and what is on yet another TV unreality show. The trouble is that today so much of the bad stuff happened because of people like the nicotine stained man frog, Nigel Farage.

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