Make them retch! Why I'm A Celebrity is the only reality TV for our times

Back in the early days of reality TV, it was enough to merely tune in and watch people exist. Take the first season of Big Brother: launched at the optimistic dawn of the new millennium, it featured benevolent tasks for its housemates that included learning how to throw a clay pot or mastering semaphore. Millions of us tuned in to see how these supposedly ordinary folk went about their days, from brushing their teeth to getting drunk, and it was addictive.

As the century has progressed, the world seems to have lost some of its reality and gained that of television’s. Take Donald Trump, transitioning from head of a fictional boardroom in The Apprentice to head of one of the most powerful nations on Earth. Or the sun-soaked “glamour” of the Love Island aesthetic seeping into everyday life – or at least everyday Instagram. It’s as if we no longer need reality TV to give us new insights into the ways we live now – we can just scroll through our Insta feed for that, or get our shocking viewing from the news. But there is one show that, somehow, still surpasses real life to give us the reality fix we crave: I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 28/11/19]