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I'm a Nonentity - a Trip to the Zoo

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The latest series of I'm a Celebrity lollops on, and beaming manchild Joey Essex seems to have won not only the public vote, but the affections of the press.

The MailOnline is particularly taken with him, pumping out a string of pieces about his supposed 'bromance' with Kian Egan.

The entertainment establishment is gearing up to deliver us another victorious village idiot, in the vein of series 11's Dougie Poynter, series 8's Joe Swash, or series 6's Matt Willis.

Perhaps it's just the jungle setting, but I'm a Celebrity seems to me the most zoo-like of all British reality properties.

Unlike Big Brother, where contestants' daily routines are laid out before us in a mundane way, I'm a Celebrity is designed to heighten our most animal behaviour for the delight of the crowd. It has no non-celebrity version.

There's no pretense of normality, no sense that we should identify with these people. They are exotic creatures brought low for our entertainment.

Of course, the zoo aspect works for the animals too, in this case. Like all zoos, I'm a Celebrity is set up to offer maximum exposure in the smallest possible time.

As I argued in my book the Fame Formula, the modern celebrity needs a spike of PR every 15 months to keep their public interested.

If you want to ensure a spike, you don't want to risk a slow burn, you want to be seen by as many as possible.

Let us not forget, though, the only real winners here are Ant and Dec and ITV. There's something about the Geordie pair which always strikes me as sinister.

It varies from series to series, but when there's some particularly dim-witted saps among the cast, they can look less like the ringmasters of the circus, and more like its sinister mustachioed owner, counting his guineas as his chained bears cavort for a rapt crowd.

It seems strange to be saying it of Joey Essex, a man whose fame originated on a similar, albeit less toxic, television format, but he is better than this.