The latest season of the U.K. version of "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!" premiered on Britain's ITV this past Sunday. And considering its cast of quasi-celebs--most of whom, other than former it-girl actress Britt Ekland and 2009 "X Factor" finalist Stacey Solomon, won't be known to people on this side of the pond (or possibly even on that side)--it seems the British version of this series can't hold a candle to the most recent U.S. edition, which starred such reality luminaries as Janice Dickinson, Speidi, Sanjaya Malakar, and one of the (non-Alec) Baldwin brothers. However, there's one celebrity on "I'm A Celebrity U.K." that is sure to make the show one wild ride, and that's Shaun Ryder.
One of the maddest hatters of the 1990s' "Madchester" scene, this formerly drug-addicted Happy Mondays/Black Grape rabblerouser's entire life has played out like a not-ready-for-prime-time reality show. His past capers have included accidentally singing onstage with the wrong band (Simply Red) because he was too intoxicated to show up at the right club; poisoning pigeons just for the thrill of watching them drop dead from the sky (don't expect Shaun to appear on any Animal Planet shows any time soon, then); and getting banned from U.K. television's Channel 4 for swearing on-air.
Shaun actually made a solemn vow to refrain from using profanity on "I'm A Celebrity" because his seven young kids will be watching ("I'm a 48-year-old family man now," he nobly insisted), but he quickly broke that promise on episode 1, when a plane-jumping challenge caused him to lose his composure. If he keeps it up, he may lose his children's respect, but he'll surely gain ratings...and might even trump his dancing bandmate Bez's appearance on the U.K.'s "Celebrity Big Brother," or the equally mouthy John Lydon's star turn on "I'm A Celebrity U.K." a few seasons back.
Lydon only lasted 10 weeks on his respective show--which is about nine more weeks than anyone expected--but the Happy Mondays' Bez went all the way on "Big Brother" and won on finale night. Will Shaun last that long on "I'm A Celebrity"--and be able to refrain from being a potty-mouth in the process? We shall see, but it's sure to be a happy Sunday every week on ITV, as long as Shaun's around.
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- Britt Ekland