November 25, 2012
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Panto producers have been watching anxiously as Doctor Who actor Colin Baker subsists on a diet of rice and beans in the Australian outback.
Colin Baker as Nurse Nelly
Sometime Clive Conway Productions speaker Baker was delighted when he was offered the chance to compete in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, telling friends that he hoped to lose a stone in weight.
“I am a rather large gentleman and I adore my food,” said the roly-poly actor. “I could give up booze with a drop of a hat but food, my gosh there is not even a fridge I can raid in the middle of the night!”
But now it looks as though Baker who, win or lose, is due in Bournemouth on December 8 to star as dame Nurse Nelly in Sleeping Beauty at the town’s Pavilion Theatre, may have lost even more weight than he planned.
An insider tells me that the costume department fear that Nelly may have dropped at least a couple of dress sizes. In other words Colin’s antics in the jungle have had them quite literally in stitches.
He has dealt with surprising ease with the privations of jungle living but then as the flamboyant sixth Doctor Who back in the 1980s he had daleks and cybermen to contend with. Colin has brought a certain eccentric style to the jungle with him too. Though it should be noted that the ritual of other contestants rubbing his “magic belly” for luck before facing a jungle ordeal seems to have worn off. And that may just be because as his mighty stomach has gradually decreased in size it has somehow seemed less magical.
Whatever the reason, it may soon all be over for this son of Gallifrey. Tonight’s I’m A Celebrity… will find Colin going head to head with former darts champion Eric Bristow in bug-ridden bushtucker trial. Winner takes all. Loser gets an eviction notice and a one-way ticket back to Blighty, In Colin’s case he’ll be straight into knockabout panto mode facing Su Pollard as the hiss-boo villain.
November 19, 2012
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From Zero to Hero screamed the headlines after terrified jungle celebrity Helen ‘Flapagain’ Flanagan put on a brave face and brought home the metaphorical bacon for her starving I’m a Celebrity… campmates.
Almost from the moment she arrived in the Australian jungle, the former Corrie actress had established herself as a panic-stricken drama queen prone to throwing in the towel at the first sign of a creep-crawly.
Having spent days earning precisely no meals for her desperate chums, last night something extraordinary happened. Helen finally found the courage to win some food for the camp, sticking her hands into a box of cockroaches and tackling tasks involving snakes and rats without flinching.
OK she did go into a classic flap when they showered her with gunk and bugs but basically she has now baffled everyone. What was going on before? Was she acting? Was she attention seeking? Has she undergone a personality change?
Or perhaps it’s just gamesmanship. Who knows? It certainly makes for an intriguing if rather cruel spectator sport though. Rather like the kind of programmes Clive James used to ridicule on Japanese TV 20 years ago. I might actually get quite annoyed about it if it wasn’t for fact that Helen volunteered for the job, is being paid handsomely for it and can walk out anytime she wants…and no one has to watch any of it except perhaps all those MPs from all parties who are probably on a three line whip to keep the Right Honourable Nadine Dorries, Member of Parliament from Mid Bedfordshire, well and truly in the jungle.
The row about her abandoning both her constituents and her Commons duties has taken an intriguing turn with her daughter claiming that she was given permission to join the programme by none other than former Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.
He denies this. Although one wonders whether it would have been unreasonable if he had reached the conclusion that Dorries, who famously accused David Cameron and George Osborne of being “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk”, might enjoy slumming it for a while with the jungle plebs.
Back to Helen though. So far she has admitted that she’s afraid of the dark and can’t go to sleep at home unless Harry Potter is playing in the background. She’s even became hysterical after finding a twig in her hair. If you reckon the great outdoors really isn’t her thing then you are not wrong. Even her granddad has told the press: “She’s never really been in the garden, so taking on the Australian jungle is a huge challenge for her.”