Crikey Moses! Stanley Johnson has been cast as the token pensioner in the new series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! At 77, he will be 27 years older than the next oldest person in the jungle-based reality show, 50-year-old ex-footballer Dennis Wise. He cheerfully admits he has never watched the programme before, which comes as no surprise. If he had known what he was letting himself in for, would he have signed up?
I don’t just mean the routine indignities, such as chewing on turkey testicles or washing down a plate of live cockroaches with a beaker of blended emu liver. Or the discomfort of enduring a three-week camping holiday in an inhospitable environment with few mod cons and not enough food. I don’t even mean having to disrobe and bathe in front of a bevy of beautiful girls strutting around in their bikinis.
No, I’m thinking of the mental challenges, like the complete absence of intelligent conversation. Poor Stanners will be unable to join in when his jungle companions, like Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, talk about who their favourite reality stars are. That wouldn’t be so bad if the ex-Conservative MEP and author of 26 books was able to catch up on his reading. But as Stanley will discover, books are verboten in the jungle.
There will also be the minefield of racial and sexual politics to get through. How will Boris’s dad avoid saying anything inflammatory? One of the striking things about orange-skinned, muscle-bound D-list celebrities is that while they may be unable to tell you who the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is — ‘Is it Prince Charles?’ — they all have PhDs in political correctness. Stanley will find his encyclopaedic knowledge of the environmental policies of the European Union will provide him with no respite here.