Why do celebrities go into the Jungle?

Although I am not one of the 10 million people tuning into see minor celebrities and random politicians eat stick insects and roll around with bugs, even I can’t escape the countless headlines I see on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! and its contestants.

On Monday the newspaper stand shows me Helen Flanagan getting slagged off for being rubbish at Bush Tucker Trials and then on Tuesday she is slagged off for finally winning one – clearly just an excuse to print a picture of a blonde in a bikini…

(Ed: Guilty.)

So what does reality TV really do for celebrities except invite bad press and cockroaches into your life?

The idea of going into the jungle in order to gain respect seems laughable. However, for celebrities that lie at the Zebra end of the A-Z fame scale, the thought of getting people to see the “realâ€? them might entice them into reality TV. Well good luck with that.

Programmes such as I’m a Celebrity and Big Brother are mainly just a massive magnifying glass where the ridiculous stuff you say and do are edited in, whilst the clever but boring stuff is edited out. You are far more likely to lose any respect you might already have had: remember politician George Galloway acting like a giant cat…

For a better chance of gaining a tiny bit of respect try Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice where there are usually less shots of you in your underwear and more of you trying hard to actually demonstrate a talent!

Making a point?
Other than the simple “I can do it tooâ€?, I’m not sure there are many points that can be successfully made by doing reality TV, but celebs sometimes like to suggest this is a reason for participating.

MP Nadine Dorries caused political uproar when she decided to leave her constituents in the lurch and swing off to the jungle. Her reasoning was that she hoped to bring political issues to the masses that don’t normally give a damn. That’s all very well (if true), but I’m sure there is only so much yakking on about politics that ITV will actually air Nadine.

Perhaps the only point that may be successfully made is “I can make a massive fool out of myself for an ounce of fame and a sprinkling of cashâ€?.

Despite our contempt for it, a certain amount of fame is usually guaranteed through reality TV participation. If you are barely famous as it is, then popping over to Australia for a while, or twirling with sexy Latino dancer once or twice a week, doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

However, there is a difference between being famous and becoming infamous. When Jade Goody went back into the Big Brother house in 2007, as a bonafide celebrity this time, I’m sure she hoped to enhance her lagging fame. However, within days she’s being accused of racism and subjected to death threats whilst her effigy was burnt in India. Epic fail.

Money is the obvious and most likely reason. TV is the main source of income for your average celeb, and reality TV is perfect: there is the initial payment for taking part and then all the magazine deals that follow. Whether this is in fact a selling of their self-respect and dignity depends on ridiculousness of the celeb in question, and the media portrayal that follows them.

In this series of I’m a Celebrity, boxer David Haye got paid a reported £165,000. Getting made a complete fool of in front of millions of people is something Haye is used to after his embarrassing stint on Strictly Come Dancing against Wladimir Klitschko; but its probably much easier to swallow with cash like that flying about.

Easy money. Well, easy-ish.