A fair portion of Network Ten’s hopes for a decent showing in the television ratings in 2015 hangs on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, a show whose title is often shortened to simply Celebrity, partly for convenience and partly in the hope that if the word is said enough it will be true of all the contestants by the time they leave if not when they arrived.
Ten have chosen not to learn the lessons from the past, choosing to air the show five nights a week from February 1, in direct competition with My Kitchen Rules and The Block: Triple Threat.
Last year scheduling So You Think You Can Dance against The Block and MKR effectively killed the show before it began (as did pitting I Will Survive against The X Factor the year before).
As such, it is likely that more people will spend the next few weeks guessing who will appear on the show than will watch the actual series.
Celebrity is based on the UK format of the same name, which sees self-professed celebs taken to a jungle wilderness on the other side of the world and basically tortured (eat bugs, wear no make-up, that sort of thing) until they say the words “I’m a celebrity get me out of here!”
Former contestants on the British show include tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Olympic champion Linford Christie, Jason Donavon, Margaret Thatcher’s daughter, Carol, who won the fifth series of the show, and Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten.
Most of the ‘celebrities’ on the show are infamous or are famous for not much at all.
British glamour model Katie Price (formerly Jordan) and Australian pop star Peter Andre famously met on the show in 2004 and married the next year.
Diana, Princess of Wales’ controversial former butler Paul Burrell was runner up in series four in 2005.
The wilderness of the original is usually found in Far North Queensland. For the Australian edition the wannabe Andres are being sent to Africa.
In an effort to tease Australia, or possibly just tease out the short period in which the show is discussed, Ten are promising to keep the identities of their inaugural “celebrities” secret until the first episode airs. Which means their entire promotional campaign will consist of hints.
A few days ago, Ten’s ‘magical passport’ gave us 10 clues.
Not to miss out on a fleeting national pastime, here are our best guesses.
“A Four-Time Olympian”
Let’s assume this is likely to be a winter Olympian given Ten broadcast the Games from Sochi last year. Steven Bradbury qualifies and has previously appeared on Dancing With The Stars.
Zali Steggall also has four Olympics under her belt, however she’s a successful barrister, so let’s plump for Bradbury. Leisel Jones is the best guess for a summer Olympian but really it could be any number.
Our Guess: Steven Bradbury
“Legendary Test Cricketer”
Described also as “an Aussie Cricket icon” by the seductive Celebrity promo voice over, the show is betting a lot on this one. The rumour is it’s Shane Warne. There’s also a rumour that he’s the Bachelor this year. Let’s hope that’s true so we can see him swallow live bugs with the same mouth he hopes to kiss someone with, and then later in the year get confused and text some poor Bachelorette “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Into Her.”
Ok Warne has reportedly turned the show down and, in fact this is almost certainly Andrew Symonds, but Warne jokes are more fun … for now.
Our Guess: Shane Warne Andrew Symonds
“Gold Logie Nominee”
As Ten’s promo would hardly feign modesty, we can eliminate anyone who has actually won the Logie and also Carrie Bickmore who is already back on air with The Project.
A glance down the list of nominees reveals a few Ten alumni. What about Chrissie Swan, who is recently free of her radio commitments? Then there are a variety of Neighbours stars, which would make sense in the show’s 30th anniversary year. That could mean Ian Smith (Harold), Natalie Blair (Carmella), Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Izzy), Delta Goodrem (Nina) or Bruce Samazan (Mark).
Then again, maybe Bec Cartwright has begged for something to do while Lleyton’s playing tennis?
Our Guess: Chrissie Swan
“Hall of Fame AFL Superstar”
There are 185 players in the Hall of Fame, so it’s a sizeable pool. Of the big names, Wayne Carey has a contract with Seven, Gary Ablett keeps a very low profile, and Sam Newman would be a (terrifying but unmissable) surprise as he is welded to Nine.
Dermott Brereton once did Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice and presented on Getaway, while Anthony Koutoufides won Dancing With The Stars in 2006 and then was a Gladiator. So it’s probably a race between those two.
Our Guess: Anthony Koutoufides
“World Famous Actress”
The big fish. She is not only world famous but, we are told in big gold type, an “International Household Name” – so, obviously it’s Angelina Jolie.
The reality is this is probably Melissa Joan Hart. You know, from Sabrina The Teenage Witch. If you’re not sure that tag fits, the rest of the guest list is going to be a real shock. Hart has all but confirmed her presence in Africa for the show by following the Australian Celebrity account on Twitter, as well as a handful of Australian entertainment journalists. And if that’s not slam-dunk evidence, nothing is.
Our Guess: Melissa Joan Hart
One of the vague clues that will be used to justify anyone. Bert and Patti Newton have a legitimate claim to that title, but have officially begged off. Most other royalty, like Denise Drysdale, have won the Gold Logie.
The rumoured participants who Ten might try and shoe-horn into this category are Mark Holden, Ian “Dicko” Dickson and Vince Colosimo. If it’s genuine TV royalty, then our money is on Kerri-Anne Kennerley, as she’s game enough to take it on and still look good doing it.
Then again, perhaps it’s a late addition after the production team arrived in Africa to find that’s where Matt Newton has been hiding for the last few years.
Our Guess: Kerri-Anne Kennerley
The vaguest of them all. The likes of Alex Perry love television time, but aren’t going to do Africa. This is more likely to mean someone who is seen wearing fashion at the Birdcage and on red carpets.
We’re thinking a current or former Mrs Edelstein. It’s most likely the way to squeeze in the likes of Laurina Fleure, street pie non-eater from last year’s The Bachelor and also rumoured to be the centre-piece for this year’s The Bachelorette.
Our Guess: Laurina Fleure
This is Didier Cohen, surely. Celebrity Apprentice made him a celebrity, much to the surprise of nearly everyone. Then he was the coach on Australia’s Next Top Model in 2013.
Then he may or may not have dated Kelly Osbourne, who once hosted the UK version of this show. It’s Cohen. Nailed on.
Or else it’s one of the not-really-a-celebrities who once took a photo in Bali.
Our Guess: Didier Cohen
“Hot Young Comedian”
It’s pretty much a lock that this is Joel Creasey. No matter how familiar you are with his stuff (and he is definitely a big up-and-comer), do not say “who?” as he appears to be the official pop culture test for whether you are young or old.
Our Guess: Joel Creasey
“Kid’s TV Star”
Ben “from Brisbane” Zabel is a rumoured contender and we know Big Brother is watched by kids – but surely that doesn’t count? It’s otherwise a Hi-5 pensioner or a Wiggle. Let’s say Fely Irvine of Hi-5, The Voice and Tai Hara fame is a good bet.
Our Guess: Fely Irvine
Former Today showbiz gossip host, Richard Reid, is strongly linked with the show, but it’s hard to guess which category he qualifies for. TV royalty? Fashion icon? Basically, unless he was secretly the guy in the Humphrey B Bear suit all those years ago, Ten’s clues cast doubts on this theory.
That’s our best guess. Five guys, five girls, and some of them are even celebrities.
On Wednesday night on The Project, Julia Morris, one of the Celebrity co-hosts revealed the “code names” that are being used for the celebrities. See if any of these help you out:
The three code names that had been crossed out were Springbock (sic), Ariel and Kermit.