Despite whisking their contestants by private jet to beautiful Australia and paying them bags of gold, I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is widely considered one of the tougher reality gigs for our good old celebs. As well as the usual fights, dramas and bids for attention that are rife in reality shows, these lot also have to contend with showering on camera, sleeping amongst scary animals (no I absolutely don't mean John Lydon), and gorging on creepy crawlies. We'd never get that from Gregg Wallace on Celebrity MasterChef - at least not so far, anyway. (Should I patent the idea in case?)
But what seems to have escaped the attention of the show's producers is that they have a willing, cheaper and potentially much more entertaining alternative right under their nose. What's more, there's plenty of 'em to pick from, too. I may be slightly biased (or deluded) as I experience this alternate version every day of my existence, but I can't help wonder if the whole premise of a fancily produced show set yearly on the other side of the world is all that necessary, when right on our doorstep is:
I'm a Toddler Get Me Out of Here... no don't actually, I've changed my mind. No Mummy, I not want to get out of here! I do! I don't! Give me a biscuit!
(It's a working title)
And here are 10 reasons why:
1. Toddlers don't give a hoot what anyone else thinks of them so give a completely honest, no holds barred performance
2. Ditto to what they look like - dress 'em in a bikini top, wellies and a jaunty hat and they'll be golden. In fact, they'd probably choose it over anything comfortable and practical (madness)
3. Bushtucker trials would be a walk in the park - quite literally. I can't be the only one to have rescued a live worm from a peckish toddler who thinks he's found the perfect snack by the climbing frame, can I?
4. They are complete attention seekers so will ALWAYS perform for camera - with the exception of looking or smiling at it when you ask, naturally
5. They often refuse to sleep in their own beds anyway, so the jungle floor is likely to be no hardship at all, and you'll never hear them moaning about their back like a boring old celeb person
6. They have no care for danger, whatsoever. And after all, what has all the rope bridge training at soft play and the obsessive puddle jumping been for, if not a jungle obstacle course filled with dizzy heights and muddy adventures? Bring it!
7. They'll do anything for a treat, and if a kangaroo anus or two is what stands between them and some chocolate cake, you know they'll make the wise choice
8. They have tantrums and strops aplenty, so there's never a dull moment and always an abundance of major drama to entertain and shock the public, causing them to yell at the TV in outrage and reach for a voting device
9. They have zero loyalty and won't get bogged down with forming friendships and making connections. As the contestants get voted off, it just means less scrapping over toys (or amenities) and more sheep's eyes for them, sorted
10. They already consider themselves royalty - and demand we treat them as such. So it makes no difference whether they are crowned King or Queen of the Jungle, we'll get a completely real performance. They're genuinely not in it for the magazine and advertising deals, which almost makes them seem moral, doesn't it? Rest assured though, they're not... they're really not.
So ITV, do feel free to give me a shout if you need any further convincing. I'll have the toddler's bag packed and ready, biscuits and all.