I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2016.

Filed under : Reality

Who is Favourite for King of the Jungle in 2016?

As I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here 2016 reaches the sharp end, we thought it was time to air our views on this muckiest of reality TV shows.

I'm a celebrity get me out of here 2016 cast

I’m a celebrity get me out of here 2016 full cast

I’ve pretty much given up on “Reality TV”, as it contains hardly any traceable amounts of reality. Competitors are cast, coached and scripted in the extreme and edits are made until what goes to air bares no relation to what would really happen, had they been in a real competition anything like the one we are told is going on. I have just become totally sick of being lied to, manipulated and conned like that.

However, I’m a Celebrity offers something different. It certainly doesn’t offer many genuine celebrities. But its main appeal is not the competition, but an opportunity to see a different side of people that we have seen previously in the public eye and not in their usual role of acting, singing or playing sports.

This year’s batch produced some real unknowns, a few that had been out of the public view for quite a while and some sports people that we genuinely recognised.

Rumour has it that Shane Warne was paid two million dollars to appear in this season’s run, which may explain why so many unknowns were recruited for the supporting cast. So let’s take a look at who they are.


Courtney Hancock – Is an iron woman athlete, who I had never heard of before she appeared on the show and I am guessing that only followers of that particular sport would have done. She was obviously chosen to add a bit of youthful glamour, which she did. She seemed like a nice girl, but did not feature much in the nightly highlights show and was the first to be voted out.

Akmal Saleh Stand up comic

Akmal Saleh – Would have to count as one of the better known of this year’s bunch. He is a stand up comedian, who has appeared on numerous Australian variety and panel shows, as well as in films, sketches and worked as a radio host. In camp he was funny and had a positive and reflective outlook on jungle life and life in general. He was portrayed as being unhygienic and dirty, but I was surprised that he left so early.


Bonnie Lythgoe – A dancer, choreographer, director, television presenter and producer, who had rarely been seen on Australian screens. Apparently she was a judge on the Australian version of So You Think You Can Dance? Having appeared on another Channel 10 reality show seems to be the highest qualification for being a jungle celebrity. Bonnie came a across as a pleasant woman, who quickly befriended the others in the camp. I was surprised that she outlasted Akmal, but maybe that was part of the process of keeping the balance of the sexes even.


Dean Geyer – Initially I did not recognise Dean when he entered the camp and the fact that he has a South African accent lead me to believe that he may have been just a local that they had thrown in to make up the numbers. But gradually he vaguely looked familiar. He was in fact a finalist on Australian Idol ten years ago. He followed that up with a role in Neighbours and then moved to LA to score a regular spot on Glee, opposite Lea Michele. Dean kept a fairly low profile in the camp, but was regularly seen shirtless, showing off his chiselled bod. He proved a fierce competitor in the Tucker Trials, although he seemed to lack a sense of humour at times and his uninformed views on guns would put him firmly on the red neck side of the fence.

Val Lehman Prisoner

Val Lehman in her previous incarceration

Val Lehman – Was the star of the highly popular TV series Prisoner (Prisoner Cell Block H in some areas), from 1979 until 1983. The show would have to be Australian TV’s biggest export, after Neighbours and Home and Away. Val left at the height of the show’s success and although she has worked regularly since, she has never subsequently achieved those giddy heights of fame. In the jungle Val proved almost as grumpy and strong willed as Bea, her most famous character. She never liked the food, or some of the younger camp mates, but was a fearless competitor in all of the trials that she entered, even beating the younger and more physically fit Bonnie Lythgoe in a tug of war.


Jo Beth Taylor – Is best known for hosting Hey, Hey It’s Saturday and Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. She took a long break from TV and made her come back in another reality TV show, Dancing with the Stars. In camp Jo Beth clashed with Laurina Fleure, but bonded strongly with Bonnie Lythgoe and Anthony Callea. She seemed to miss home and her family more than any of the camp mates and heartily celebrated when she was voted out.


Laurina Fleure – Is a model, whose biggest claim to fame is appearing as a contestant on The Bachelor and protesting about being fed a dirty street pie. She has proven to be, as people from my mother’s era would say, a proper little madam. She spends an inordinate amount of time attending to her Nike eyebrows and suntan, despite all current advice on the dangers of skin cancer. She claims to meditate and think deeply, but this is often far outweighed by her vanity, nihilistic philosophy and dubious conversation choices. Laurina has been portrayed as the camp villain and appears to be the least popular with the others. I am surprised that she has lasted this long, but maybe that says more about the people voting, or the casting director’s decisions, than anything else.


Havana Brown – Was another total unknown to me before she appeared in camp. She is a DJ who apparently had a huge hit with her single We Run The Night and several others. She has also appeared in a dozen episodes of Neighbours, back in 2000, when she was 15. She is a very attractive girl and Shane Warne has taken a real shine to her. She claims to do no exercise, but has a very impressive mid-section. She keeps a fairly low profile, but is very popular with the other camp mates and will eat almost anything in the Tucker Trial challenges.


Anthony Callea – Was runner-up in the 2004 season of Australian Idol. He followed that up with his debut single, The Prayer, which became the fastest-selling single by an Australian artist and stayed at number one for five weeks. There was much speculation about his sexuality during his Australian Idol run, with many teenage girls fervently denying that he could be gay. Today there is no doubt; Anthony married his partner, Tim, in New Zealand in 2014. Anthony has proven very popular with most of the camp mates, with the notable exception of Laurina. Most interestingly, he has bonded strongly with Brendan Fevola. Although they have a common Italian ancestry, I would have thought that they move in very different circles in the real world, but this has proven no barrier to their friendship. Anthony may be very small, but he has demonstrated a wiriness and determination, beyond expectation, in all of the challenges he has been given.


Brendan Fevola – Played 204 AFL games for the Carlton and Brisbane Lions football clubs. During this time he won two Coleman Medals for the highest goal scorer for the season and was named in the All Australian Team three times. Unfortunately, he became just as famous for his off field exploits, which often involved drinking, gambling womanising and other unsavoury behaviour. One of his most regrettable choices was, during an extramarital fling, taking a nude photograph of the model Lara Bingle, when she clearly didn’t want it taken and then distributed it to his mates, via whom it found its way into the mass media. But Brendan has done a lot of work on himself since then, including rehab and therapy. He reunited with his wife and is totally devoted to his children. Brendan still has a tendency towards petulance, but has been popular in the jungle and seems to have enjoyed the adventure more than anyone.


Shane Warne – The Sheikh of Tweek, The King of Spin, Spin King, Warnie, Warney,Warney! Shane is Australia’s highest ever wicket taker in cricket and played throughout Australia’s domination of world cricket during the 90’s and noughties, ensuring that position with his own massive contributions. But he has many parallels with Brendan Fevola. Most of Shane’s indiscretions have involved women and he practically invented the phenomenon known as sexting. His opinions are sometimes oafish and ill informed. On the show he has disrespected, his former Australian captain, Steve Waugh and had a dig at Steve’s twin brother Mark. He has stated that he does not believe in evolution and if man came from apes, why are there still apes? He regularly professes his love and dedication for his children on the show, which I have no doubt is genuine, but you always feel that he is not far from his next poor decision. Like Brendan, he is also still prone to petulance, but he has also shown excellent leadership and diplomacy.

Paul Harragon The Chief

Paul Harragon – The Chief, is a legend of Rugby League, claiming an inaugural premiership for the Newcastle Knights, as captain, in 1997. Paul also represented NSW 20 times in State of Origin and played for Australia in 17 tests. After he retired from Rugby League, he had a successful media career, most famously as co-host on the NRL version of The Footy Show. The Chief has given us no surprises in the jungle. He comes across as a fierce competitor, but a genuinely nice guy, polite, generous and interested in other people’s welfare. If there is any justice in the world, he will finish as number one this year.

All three of the famous sportsmen have demonstrated the qualities that team sports teach people, having a red hot go, supporting and encouraging your team mates, motivating them when the chips are down. For this reason I believe that they will be the final three, in sports mad Australia.

If the fame craving, without substance, personality of Laurina prevails, it will be a sad reflection on the voters and modern attitudes.

While there are elements of the show that I find totally unsavoury, the constant forced consumption of items that your body tells you shouldn’t be eaten and the regular covering of the competitors in the same obscene gunk, the hosts of the show are excellent, in my opinion. For a man who did all of his training in veterinary science, Chris Brown makes a superb presenter. He is obviously easy on the eye for the ladies, but he also has great chemistry with Julia Morris.

Julia is simply one of Australia’s funniest women. There has been much condemnation of the ‘canned’ laughter at her jokes. But, to be honest, I never noticed it until it was pointed out and without it, things would sound pretty flat, with just crickets to respond.

It may be true that some of the rats, snakes and lizards featured have now appeared on television more than many of the celebrities had before they went into the jungle. But I think the show has been a success and would welcome it back, with a little less grossness and animal cruelty, next year, as long as Paul Harragon wins. Chief! Chief! Chief!

By Max Power

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