Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm A Celebrity is back...with z-listers galore...

Clear your diaries and take your phones off the hook, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here is back on our screens - and the stars of the show are more desperate than ever.

After weeks of backbiting, infighting, agents screaming 'more money', and whittled-down wishlists of names who have made more tabloids headlines than any other this year, a final ten have emerged.

Ingrid Tarrant turned down £150,000 to spend two weeks in the Australian jungle when she might have - ITV bosses had hoped - spill all on her marriage break-down. David Hasselhoff similarly refused £175,000 to speak of his.

Yet under-pressure ITV bosses still managed to come up with a pretty formidable list of misfits, oddballs, wannabees and has-beens. Perhaps most noteworthy among them are David Gest, the bizarre-looking and long-suffering former husband of Liza Minnelli, Lauren Booth, the outspoken sister-in-law of our own premier (most uncomfortably for Tony on the issue of invading Iraq), and every middle-aged man's dream date, former newsreader Jan Leeming.

Making up the 'totty' - as presenters Ant 'n' Dec will most probably refer to them - are former popstar Myleene Klass and Footballers' Wives actress Phina Oruche.

Male totty on the show might be assumed to include Jason Donovan, the former popstar, soapstar and West End star who also - quite significantly - dated Kylie Minogue who beat breast cancer this year.

Matt Willis from the boyband Busted will also provide a little eye-candy for female viewers, and he will no doubt - ITV bosses will again be hoping - speak about his precarious relationship with drink and recent spell at The Priory. Producers evidently rate Gest and Donovan the highest - they are both taking home £100,000 just to turn up.

Insiders say Gest has been told the stint on the show will 're-ignite his career' here in the UK. A guest appearance on a soap for him is also being negotiated.

Veteran comedienne and impersonator Faith Brown, flamboyant designer Scott Henshall and failed television presenter Toby Anstis make up the numbers.

But perhaps the most interesting - in the same way winner Carol Thatcher was last year - is Lauren Booth. Booth, a journalist and mother-of-two, claims not to know for sure whether Tony and Cherie knew that she was taking part in the series. She said: "I presume they know. And I am sure Tony will be saying 'eat maggots...eat maggots'."

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