This year another desperate collection of has-beens, never-were’s and soap opera cast-offs have been flung into the Australian jungle to raise money for “charidee”, although we know it’s to get their faces back on the box and bank a nice Christmas bonus in the process. “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here”, now in it’s fifth incarnation, is one of the more entertaining Reality TV shows and is car crash television at it’s dumbed down best.
Where else can you see a moderately recognisable media personality covered in molasses and green ants, eating cockroaches and other “jungle delicacies” or dumped in a water tank surrounded by crocodiles and eels in a bid to rescue a flagging career?
While the show has audiences squirming as “that bird who used to be on telly” munches down another especially fattened up caterpillar to try and win meals for hungry camp-mates restricted to rations of rice and beans, there are also plenty of betting opportunities for armchair fanatics.
Here we will take a look at the runners and riders and how they have got on after the first few days spent in the jungle.
Best Price: 3/1 (Sporting Odds)
Played “Rickaaay Butcher” in Eastenders on and off since 1989 but has spent the last few years running his restaurant in France. He has been out of the media spotlight since his singing career failed to take off and admitted he was “bored” and jumped at the chance of appearing on the show. Ricky, sorry Sid, was immediately instilled as the bookie’s favourite to win as he appears to have the “everyman” quality that saw Phil Tufnell romp to victory in Series Two.
Best Price: 7/2 (Sporting Odds)
Another ex soap “star”, Sheree’s character, Emmerdale’s “Tricia Stokes” was killed off almost three years ago when a pub chimney fell on her head during an uncharacteristically violent storm, on Christmas Day of all days as rotten luck would have it. Since then she has been raising her young children and living the life of luxury thanks to footballer husband Harry Kewell’s £65,000 a week wage.
Her arrival in the jungle wasn’t the best and comparison’s to I’m A Celeb legend Natalie Appleton were drawn when she wasn’t keen on jumping out of an aeroplane into the camp. At least she wasn’t frightened of the trees. However, she redeemed herself magnificently by retrieving five stars during a live jungle task despite being scared stiff and remains one of the favourites to win.
Best Price: 11/2 (Tote Sport)
“Little” Jimmy Osmond became the youngest person to have a number one single with the annoying “Long Haired Lover From Liverpool” back in the 1970s. He has since become a successful property mogul but is still inflicting his brand of music onto the general public. He’s a difficult one to call. While he seems nice enough and undoubtedly has an enormous fan base, he comes across as a little, well, odd. Recent polls in the tabloid press rate him as favourite to win so the 11/2 price may shorten as the show progresses.
Best Price: 6/1 (Tote Sport)
The daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret and “famous” in her own right as a writer and broadcaster. Undoubtedly a “chip off the old block”, Carol has participated in two Jungle Trials so far and tackled them with relish. First she drove a kart across a ravine along a rope bridge and a few days later sat down to dinner with Jilly Goolden to enjoy a meal of grubs, cockroaches, fish eyes and finally a kangaroo’s testicle.
You get the impression that nothing will phase Carol during her stay in the jungle and the producers will have to come up with something rather nasty to put her off. She will have staying power in this competition but may not have enough of a fan base to lead her to victory.
TOMMY CANNON & BOBBY BALL
Best Prices 18/1 and 15/2 (both Bet365)
One day you have a hit TV show with millions of viewers and your own comic strip in “Look In” magazine and the next you are the faces of “Safestyle Windows” and doing gigs at Crown Hill Community Centre and the like. Ageing comedy duo Cannon and Ball were drafted into camp on Day Five, begging the question: “What’s the point?”
Latecomers never do well in Reality TV shows as they are subconsciously seen as “outsiders” and a threat to the already-formed group. Upon his arrival Ball wasted no time in “entertaining” the other campers with his “Rock on, Tommy” catchphrase and it seems inevitable they will do a task together with “hilarious consequences”. However, prices for them to win individually? Surely you can’t have one without the other?
Best Price: 10/1 (Sporting Odds)
The perma-tanned “Bargain Hunt” antiques expert best known for his “Cheap as Chips” and “Bobby Dazzler” catchphrases. Like Cannon & Ball, he seems a bit of a strange choice to go into the jungle but his stay may be a short one in any case. He wasn’t overly pleased to see the newcomers while the other campers embraced their arrival and he may find himself the first celebrity voted out.
Best Price: 22/1 (Bet365)
Jenny has become the third member of Atomic Kitten to try their hands at Reality TV, following Kerry Katona’s success who won the show in Series Three and Liz McLarnon’s stint in “Celebrity Love Island” during the summer. She has been paid more than any of the other campers to appear on the show with a reported fee of £100,000 being quoted in the press which is bound to cause some friction. While she appears pleasant and pretty enough to look she hasn’t had a chance to do anything to convince she can become the second Kitten to reign as “Queen of the Jungle”.
Best Price: 25/1 (Tote Sport)
Used to be in boyband “Blue” but unlike his three former band-mates, he doesn’t have a solo record deal – yet. He looked the odd one out during his band days and didn’t really cut it as a teen “heart throb”. His swarthy and permanently unshaven appearance made him look better suited to running a kebab shop than appearing on stage and hanging on bedroom walls in poster form. Another who seems nice enough but doesn’t have enough about him to stand out from the crowd.
Best Price: 50/1 (Tote Sport)
Jilly was famous for presenting “Food & Drink” on BBC2 for almost two decades and becoming the most recognised wine expert in the UK. However, she wouldn’t have come across anything like the grubs and kangaroo todger she downed when performing a joint task with Carol Thatcher. Her performance in that task will earn her respect and the 50/1 odds may be worth an interest and laid off at a shorter price as the competition progresses.
Best Price: 50/1 (Bet365)
Former “Neighbours” eye candy and ironically the first Australian to appear in the series. Good looking women never do well in the show and even though the permanently fresh-faced beauty gave her task her best shot on Day Two she may find herself voted out sooner rather than later.
The three bookies favourites arguably have the strongest cases to win the show. Sid Owen has been one of the most recognisable faces on TV over the past 15 years or so while if it came down to sheer voting power, Jimmy Osmond and his hoards of crazed fans would win it for him comfortably. However, I am inclined to back Sheree Murphy to become only the second Queen of the Jungle. She has a vulnerable quality about her that people will warm to while stubbornly refusing to wimp out of tasks even though it’s plain to see she isn’t enjoying one second of them. Another performance like her showing in the live task will see her 7/2 odds tumble.