2 week (running august-september 2002) daily UK television show (a spin off from Survivor: UK) which left 8 (somewhat minor) celebrities in the Australian jungle to see how they coped... unlike Survivor which flopped in comparison with Big Brother, I'm a celebrity... gripped the nation sufficiently to make front page news several times. Whilst most British people would have been hard pressed to recognise all the "celebrities" before the show, this didn't seem to matter as the main focus was the arguments and the turbulent relationship between Tara and Darren.
Most of the celebrities complained of the lack of physical activity and the resultant psychological strain, but to honest, as with celebrity big brother, watching them crack up was far more entertaining than the various tasks imposed. Each day a "Bush Tucker Trial" presented the opportunity to win extra food for the group (which otherwise only had basic rations of rice to cope on)- in the first week the viewers voted for who would take the trial, then in the second week the celebs had to vote on it (whilst the public was busy deciding who should stay). The trials ranged from the tough (being buried alive for 15 minutes) to the comic (Christine Hamilton chasing pigs in an extremely muddy pen).
The celebrities, in order of elimination:
Uri Geller - Spoon bending mystic Uri vowed not to use his psychic powers whilst in the jungle, as it would give him an advantage (and cutlery was rather limited). It looks like they failed him completely, as after footage of him meditating and sending special birthday energy to Michael Jackson the presenters noted that he had the wrong day... and he also failed to stop himself getting evicted first. The general public became increasingly disgusted with his lust for the female participants which he made no effort to disguise.
Nigel Benn- the dark destroyer certainly created turmoil in the camp. Rows with Rhona weren't helped by Christine stabbing him in the back (as he felt) as she suggested to Rhona that Benn's religious stance inevtiably made him homophobic, which he strongly denied. His closest allies initially were Darren and Tara, but their rift placed him in an awkward position. Notable events include him being bitten by a snake during a Bush Tucker Trial, and comforting Tara when everyone else had had enough of her. Despite these, his fiery temper may have led to him being voted out early and the camp was certainly calmer once he left.
Darren Day- the third vote saw a third male out, leaving eventual winner Tony Blackburn as the only male in camp. By the time of this eviction the on-off relationship between Darren and Tara was most definitely off, with both vowing that they never wished to even speak to the other again. The public evidently sided with Tara on this one and so Darren had to go, although concerns over Tara's mental health led many to suggest that she should have left for her own protection. In the end, Darren leaving was enough to put Tara back on track and she made it all the way to the final. Sadly for Darren, the most memorable event was him falling off a rock, and the footage will probably haunt him for the rest of his career (the production team were quite happy to use it every day).
Rhona Cameron- the Scottish lesbian comedienne was the first woman to be voted off and probably the person to undergo the greatest personality change in the camp. In the first week she managed to get into arguments with virtually everyone, in particular Nigel, and constantly seemed to make gender-role an issue (usually complaining that no woman would get away with some of the actions by male participants) until Nigel observed that it cut both ways and if she was a man he'd have knocked her out by then. Claustrophobic Rhona had to endure 15 minutes buried alive as her Bush Tucker Trial and was (perhaps understandably) decidedly un-funny until the second week, when she seemed to lighten up considerably and throw herself into camp life rather than just moaning about it.
Nell McAndrew- bookies favourite to win, former real-world Lara Croft Nell seemed to plan on surviving by never speaking. Easily the quietest participant she managed to escape all the damaging arguments but didn't do enough to be voted into the final three. You could tell when she planned to speak on camera as she combed her hair back first (to stop it looking eerily like Christine Hamilton's) and any spontaneous comments tended to revolve around biscuits. Darren Day observed that "If she wears a bikini, she'll win", advice which she appears to have taken in the second week, as like Tara she abandoned the sensible clothes provided as there seemed to be a distinct shortage of bugs and snakes in camp.
Christine Hamilton- mother hen or battle axe? Christine probably wanted to win more than anyone else and certainly was prepared to throw herself in at the deep end, gaining a spectacular black eye in her second bush tucker trial whilst diving in a rock pool. Claimed that she didn't want to be bossy or take charge, she promptly did anyway and as a result clashed with some of the stronger personalities in the group.
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson - she came closest to walking (or more literally crawling) out as she had to be returned to the camp by a security guard after an extremely emotional breakdown over Darren. Thank god she didn't- the replacement waiting in the wings was Keith Chegwin. Her childlike manner (and tantrums) created problems with Rhona early on and she didn't seem in any way suited to jungle life, admitting that she couldn't cook at all (nor could Tony, which was problematic when they became the final two). She received the first bush tucker trial (being showered in bugs) and amazed all by getting the maximum possible reward, but it proved to be the mental rather than physical side which hit her hardest: "This is tougher than rehab. The people here are more screwed up". She seemed desperate for acceptance and attention from the group (or perhaps the public), leading to some frank revelations about her experiences with drugs.
Tony Blackburn- oldest of the group and a somewhat surprising winner, Tony was generally described as being a bit slow on the uptake but wasn't afraid to speak his mind once he'd reached an opinion- which fortunately was once the rows had generally blown over so he didn't get involved. In the second week he became obsessed with logs (daylogs, nightlogs and "happy mediums"- logtastic!) to the extent that a month's worth was burnt in two weeks and he stockpiled about 3 months worth, stripping the nearby river bare of them in the process. He even admitted to talking to them, although the whole obsession stemmed from Uri originally. Like Tara he seemed a bit unprepared, given his inexperience with both cookery and compasses (unfortunate given the daily orienteering tasks) but a fine performance in a head-to-head final bush tucker trial with Tara probably swung it for him, as voting was split 51/49 and changed hands several times during the 90 minute final show.
The show was designed to raise money for charity, with a slice of the money raised from the phone calls and text messages used to vote going to charities chosen by the celebrities themselves. The show was broadcast live from the jungle each evening (UK time- it was about 6AM local time) with Ant & Dec presenting on ITV1- additional material was broadcast immediately after on ITV2. Each 60 minute show covered the previous days events including the Bush Tucker Trial and treasure chest hunt (another way to get extra goods), although towards the end it was the phone numbers and character profiles which seemed to dominate to encourage voting. So good, even Prince Charles was watching, and if that's not enough, our very own RalphyK says: I was GLUED to this damn show for every single minute it was on. I wanted to see celebs going insane, and I got all that and more... Fascinating to see celebs being completely different to how I expected, too.