Oh ITV, you ruined that then, didn’t you? One basic tweak of the eviction process – only giving us four choices because the camp had been split into two tribes – and there was Jimmy Bullard; the favourite to win, the constant entertainment, sitting with a bewildered Ant and Dec and headed for a meal that involved no rice, no beans and probably a large steak, as he was voted out of camp.
Jimmy Bullard was the first of this year’s class to leave the I’m A Celebrity 2014 jungle, mainly because he took the p*** out of his good mate Jake for having no discernible talent during an extreme-level ‘banter’ session and then whispers (well, tweets, this is 2014, we don’t actually SPEAK to each other about the telly) started to emerge involving the word ‘bullying’.
Jimmy told Good Morning Britain that the best person to ask about that is Jake, and he’s right: Jake will clearly spit his exit champagne out like it’s a chilled glass of pureed pig’s anus at the suggestion that what happened between them during a bored afternoon in camp was any form of bullying.
But by then it’ll be too late, because the interpretations have been made.
Like anyone whose popularity surges in the beginning, when the backlash came against Jimmy, it was severe, and so when ITV upped his odds of going by only placing the Wombats – Mel, Tinchy, Jimmy and Foggy – up for eviction, Jim was done for.
Given a standard I’m A Celebrity vote involving all of the campmates, is there any way such a strong character would have gone? Of course there isn’t.
Which is why ITV must be kicking themselves that what at the time felt like a twist to mix up an old format now seems like it was a way to kill a series dead.
That’s not an exaggeration. On shows like there is, there is an entertainment hub; the relationships that away from fights and dramas and Kendra from the Playboy mansion screaming swear words in Edwina Currie’s face, are interesting and funny enough on a daily basis to make us want to watch.
That was Jimmy’s speciality. Which is especially impressive since two weeks ago, he was about as well known to me as… well, anyone else who once played football for Hull City which frankly is not very well-known to me.
Jimmy created entertainment where there was none, made grumpy people laugh until their empty bellies hurt, and formed friendships so genuine that Foggy wept in his hammock when Jim exited.
I’m A Celebrity 2014 bounced back from Gemma Collins’ early exit, and from the sad loss of Craig Charles, but the gap left by Jimmy Bullard’s eviction is like that ravine that Michael Buerk high-wired across: gaping, obvious, and way, way too big to fill.
[I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jimmy Bullard Is First Celeb To Exit In Shock Jungle Vote]
[I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jake Quickenden's Girlfriend Finds Out She's Dumped Whilst Watching Show]
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