I’m A Celebrity 2012 has started with a cast of ten personalities. We take a look at their position in the betting to win the show and pick out the one contender who looks the best value tip to win.
The 32-year-old heavyweight boxing champion, David Haye (best price 10/1 including with Bet365) looks to be an interesting contender. He is fiercely competitive and ‘losing’ is the only phobia he has admitted to so far. The slight worry is that he is used to eating a lot and will be one of the first celebrities to feel the pinch when rations fall short.
He also says that he is very single minded and not necessarily the easiest person to live with. He won the very first trial but may not be the most sympathetic when his Crock Creek campmates fail to deliver. If he is hungry and grumpy there might be some animal aggression in the camp which has nothing to do with the local wildlife.
Former Dr Who of 25 years ago, Colin Baker (25/1 with Ladbrokes) is the oldest celebrity braving the jungle at 69. He is looking forward to shedding a few pounds. The whole camp will probably lose lots of weight if he is asked to partake in any trials involving physical activity. He is not just a little on the large side but looks a likely candidate for health problems. We can only hope that he will be exempted from the more demanding activities on age and health grounds.
His lack of fitness has already proved a liability for his team but he does have humour. He has not exactly been high profile recently and is understandably one of the outsiders in the betting.
Darts player extraordinaire, Eric Bristow (7/1 best with Bet365, Betfred & Coral) could do much better in the jungle than his odds suggest. At 55-years-old the Crafty Cockney is a heavy smoker and only went in because he knew that he could indulge in his major vice in the great Australian outdoors.
He says that he is not that bothered about food. If it runs short he can always have a fag instead. He does not anticipate any problems with bush tucker trials and reckons he is pretty level headed and easy to live with. I believe him and think he could do well – provided the cigarette supplies do not run short.
Made In Chelsea ‘star’, Hugo Taylor (20/1 Betfred) is a more highly strung type who expected to have a good cry and a bit of a breakdown at least once in the jungle. True to his word, he had one almost immediately. He was brave enough to volunteer for the first bush tucker trial and found himself against David Haye. He coped with the obligatory creepy crawlies better than expected but still lost. He obviously found the whole experience pretty traumatic and had a cry about it soon afterwards.
Taylor suffers from claustrophobia and is scared of spiders. So why did he agree to do I’m A Celebrity? We suspect he is not strapped for cash. He claims to be taking part because he wants the world to know that he can get on with people who are not from Chelsea.
Taylor may be a bit of a drama queen (even though he claims to be ‘straight’) and provide plenty of entertainment. At 26-years-old he is the right age (and gender) to do well but he seems to stand little chance of lifting the jungle crown. His upper class accent and privileged background are unlikely to endear him to the majority of the British public.
EastEnder Charlie Brooks (4/1 second favourite with SkyBet & BetVictor) should have a substantial fan base from her stint as ‘Janine’ in the soap. Charlie, 31, is a bit of an adventurer and a keen camper. She has done the odd bungee jump in the past too so she should not be phased by the obvious challenges of trials and life in the great outdoors. Whilst she says she would not enjoy being confined with rodents (who would?), Charlie has no particular phobias and seems much more likely to be suited to jungle living than many of her companions. She has warned people not to expect her to be the camp entertainer though. She likes her food and is much more likely to help with the cooking.
Coronation Street’s Helen Flanagan (12/1 SkyBet, Coral) is also braving the jungle. Now 22 years-old, she spent 12 years playing Rosie Webster before calling it a day in February this year. This is her first excursion into television since quitting. She has presumably been concentrating on indulging herself and her footballer boyfriend, Scott Sinclair in the meantime.
You have to wonder what Helen was expecting in the jungle. She has taken fake tan as her luxury item! She splashed out on new bikinis for the show and obviously enjoys showcasing her physical assets. We can expect some Gillian McKeith style drama from her (Gillian famously ‘collapsed’ in the middle of a trial in last year’s show). Helen allegedly suffers from panic attacks and probably wished she had chosen to wear waterproof mascara before tackling the rope bridge. She has a serious fear of heights and screams if she sees a spider. I hope they have the medics and eye make up remover on hand whenever she is asked to do anything remotely dangerous or unpleasant.
The 55 year-old Tory MP, Nadine Dorries (50/1 Coral), decided to abandon her Mid Bedfordshire constituents and forego the luxuries of life at Westminster for the joys of the jungle. She is the first serving Member of Parliament to take part in the show. She chose not to tell her bosses about her plans and has now been suspended from the party.
Dorries has not achieved much since becoming an MP in 2005 and is unlikely to get very far in I’m A Celebrity either. She has been ferociously attacked by the media and generated plenty of publicity for the show. Unfortunately she forgot to tell people that she would not be there to place her wreath on Remembrance Sunday. There are already calls for her to donate her £40K appearance money to the British Legion. She seems to be a shameless self publicist and is the rank outsider in the betting.
Unlike Nadine, actress Linda Robson (8/1 Betfred, BetVictor), best known for Birds of a Feather, has a genuine fan base to support her in the jungle. The 54-year-old was asked to take part last year but declined because her daughter had just become pregnant. She admits that she will struggle being out of touch with her family. Hypnosis has helped her to combat her fear of rodents but she admits that she will not go anywhere near a coffin. There is not usually more than one per series so she should be ok on that front.
She claims to be easy going and to have a strong sense of humour. Both should be valuable assets in the jungle. She is not going to be volunteering for cooking duties though. She came last on a celebrity version of ‘Come Dine With Me’. Mature women do not have a great record on I’m A Celebrity.
The Pussycat Dolls’, Ashley Roberts (33/1 generally including with Bet365 & SkyBet) made an encouraging start in the jungle. She took the lead in the initial hunt for the helicopter and it was not her fault that her team did not win. Colin Baker’s inability to keep up with the pace of the hike ruined their chances. Unlike Helen Flanagan, she coped reasonably well with her first night under the stars.
The American 31-year-old was completely horrified to hear that she would have to take her turn emptying the ‘dunny’. It does not sound as if she has done much research before agreeing to appear on the show. She hates rats and mice as well as enclosed spaces. Let’s hope she does not experience either in trials. She admits to loving her home comforts and beauty products. She is another outsider.
The favourite is Brian Conley (best at 9/4 with Ladbrokes). The 51 year-old comedian, singer and actor was apparently the highest paid male television personality in his prime. He is probably looking to raise his profile as he has mostly appeared on the stage and in pantomimes recently.
Conley wisely took steps to combat his fear of rodents prior to appearing on the show. He claims to be pretty solid on the phobia front now that his issue with rats has been resolved. He does not look like good value. He is a ‘has been’ who has not come across particularly well so far. I suspect he has an ego the size of a planet and would be inclined to watch him for a while before deciding if his position as favourite is justified.
Eric Bristow has appealed as a likeable chap who could go far. While Charlie Brooks is another who could get right to the end, our betting tip is to avail yourself of the 7/1 (Bet365, BetVictor, Betfred, Coral) about former darts player Bristow. At this stage, it looks much the best value in the I’m A Celebrity betting.