Entertainment TV Snakes alive! Bernard Tomic serves it up on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
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Snakes alive! Bernard Tomic serves it up on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

Bernard Tomic
Celebrity life: Bernard Tomic in the jungle. Photo: Channel 10
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As expected, the biggest name to land in the jungle for the 2018 season of Channel 10’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! was divisive tennis player Bernard Tomic.

The show may need some of his petulance in prime time, as the cast’s star quotient is mixed. On the show’s Sunday night premiere, the biggest actual celebrity was Tiffany Darwish, best known as American singer Tiffany who had a global hit in … 1987.

Before pulling on his tribal necklace, Tomic was last seen bombing out of the qualifying rounds at the Australian Open and saying he was off to “count my millions”.

Maybe he did it fast. Even as Roger Federer was taking on Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final at Melbourne Park, Tomic, 25, was playing a whole new ball game.

And his “millions” comment followed him all the way to the jungle.

“Can you lend me some money?” said The Wrong Girl actor Kerry Armstrong, greeting him.

After parachuting out of a helicopter with Armstrong, 60, and comedian Fiona O’Loughlin, 54, Tomic – who admitted he’s “sometimes a bit too honest” – copped more flak.

“It’s Tomic. He’s counting the cash,” shouted actor Peter Rowsthorn.

“I never really thought I’d see Bernard Tomic flying through the air. He’s normally driving a flash car past me at the bus stop,” said ex-AFL star Josh Gibson, 33.

Former Australia’s Next Top Model contestant Simone Holtznagel, 24, was even more brutal.

“I don’t go, ‘That’s Bernard Tomic the tennis player’,” she said on meeting him.

“I go, ‘That’s Bernard Tomic, the guy everyone thinks is a giant wanker’.”

He seemed determined to dispel that belief, chewing grass like he was at a hoe-down and staying calm when putting his hands into a case of striking snakes, which took swings at him.

Said Tomic, who copped “three or four bites, maybe five” and needed treatment from a medic: “Oh crap.”

While singer Shannon Noll, 42, was expecting “definitely a resort”, he adapted quickly to the more rudimentary camp lifestyle.

Palling up with Tiffany, 46, and ‘professional psychic’ and Real Housewives of Melbourne alum Jackie Gillies, Nollsy stamped himself as the Solo man of the piece.

He bombed fearlessly into a river and dragged his women companions into kayaks, then said “Nuh” when asked if he was scared of plunging his hands into a box of scorpions.

Gillies became the first person in the history of I’m A Celebrity to tell another contestant she could see a ghostly version of her father standing behind her.

After teetering out of her car in heels and a cocktail dress, Holtznagel switched into no-nonsense mode, calling Rowsthorn, 54, “Bretty” after his Kath & Kim character.

She was composed jumping off a giant bungee swing which nearly unmanned Gibson, who until his fears of heights and puddles were revealed, looked as suave as the bar owner from The Maltese Falcon rocking a panama and white outfit.

O’Loughlin was uncertain about the parachuting, but managed a joke: “If I don’t make it, I don’t want anyone saying she died doing what she loved.”

Now in its fourth season, the Australian version of the show – which combines isolation with physical hardship and drinking rat milkshakes – sees local stars competing for the title of king or queen of the jungle and $100,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice.

Past winners include ex-cricketer Freddie Flintoff, ex-AFL player Brendan Fevola and singer Casey Donovan.

Casting is everything, said executive producer Stephen Tate.

“You don’t want a camp full of alpha males. You’re not really looking to cast for conflict,” he told Fairfax Media.

“The environment creates all the conflict the show needs. So you’re actually looking to create a big family in the jungle.”

Next in: boxer Anthony Mundine, who will arrive on Monday. Reports say intruders will include two feuding stars, a “loud mouthed” TV celebrity and an author.

For his part, Tomic seemed cautiously pumped to show Australia a new side of his personality.

“It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be amazing.”

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