Everything you don't need to know about tonight's 'I'm a' celebrities

As TV sends more 'stars' to the jungle, the co-author of a new A-Z of the famous helps us make sense of them
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The Independent Online

The "highlight" of the celebrity calendar is here again. Yes, virgin Australian jungle is about to be trampled over by himbos, bimbos and washed-up antiques experts.

As might be expected, the wildlife of the continent is in considerable disarray. Witchetty grubs are burrowing under rocks, terrified they are about to slip down Carol Thatcher's throat. Rats have fled the area in case they are placed in a coffin with Sid Owen. And a hyperactive dingo in the Southern Territory has had to be put down after becoming convinced it was Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

The great British viewing public, meanwhile, is settling down to a nice evening in front of the telly tonight at 9pm. An estimated 11 million will be watching closely, in the hope that David Dickinson gags on his Bushtucker. This is exactly what qualifies, these days, as Great Television. In the soon-to-be-published book The Dictionary of National Celebrity, "Great Television" is defined as "A term used only to describe what is intrusive and ugly". The example given in the book is Vanessa Feltz testing flatulence-free baked beans live on air, but it could also be applied to any of the antics about to commence in ITV's jungle venture.

Yet viewing figures may well again peak (or should that be trough?) at 17.5 million. Our celebrity fascination is still running at full throttle. Except some of the celebrities are anomalies, because nobody has heard of them. (Last year, Fran Cosgrave was a case in point. Was he a man? A woman? A love rat? A Corrie cracker? By the end of the show, no one was any the wiser.)

So here, Hermione Eyre, co-author of The Dictionary of National Celebrity (£9.99, Weidenfeld and Nicholson) written jointly with the late William Donaldson, best known for his alter-ego Henry Root) has written a guide to all the fresh horrors about to be unleashed on us by this year's forthcoming series of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! Forewarned is forearmed, after all.

ANTHONY COSTA (b. 1980) Insightful lad. "We were probably one of the ugliest boy bands in the pop world," he said of his former band Blue. Resembles Peter Andre, but without the charisma or the wit. Oh dear.

KIMBERLEY DAVIS (b. 1973) Token antipodean and 'Neighbours' nobody. So why did ITV executives decide to invite the gorgeous, flesh-baring, bikini-flaunting actress on the show? A mystery.

DAVID DICKINSON (b. 1941) Bric-a-brac salesman on TV's 'Bargain Hunt' and bottle-tanned buffoon. He is so weird that bookmakers William Hill are offering 7-1 that he'll be Liza Minnelli's next husband.

JENNY FROST (b. 1978) "Must dash. I'm off to buy the former Atomic Kitten's new solo single, 'Crash Landing'." You'll not hear that said. Perhaps eating kangaroo testicles will prove to be her true metier.

JILLY GOOLDEN (b. 1953) Fruity TV wine connoisseur. Assured and intelligent, she is only rated 16-1 to win 'I'm a Celebrity'. But she might stand a chance of success if, under pressure, she mentally unravels like a loo roll.

ELAINE LORDAN (b. 1966) The former 'EastEnders' actress is rarely seen without a B&H hanging from her lip. She's that glamorous. Career lowlight (prior to 'I'm a Celeb') 'Grange Hill' spin-off 'Tucker's Luck'.

SHEREE MURPHY (b. 1975) By twice turning down 'Through the Keyhole', the 'Emmerdale' star gave the impression she had some discernment. Now it seems more likely she simply had horrible wallpaper.

SID OWEN (b. 1973) Pug-faced 'EastEnders' actor. The Bobby De Niro of Chingford. Sid, better known as "Rickaaaay", Bianca's other half, is really called David Sutton. Keep up, readers, keep up.

JIMMY OSMOND (b. 1963) This child star was once a teeny troubadour. Now he looks like the runner-up in a Cliff Richard impersonator competition. A practising Moron, he has never yet conquered his dyslexia.

CAROL THATCHER (b. 1953) Styles herself "The Thatch". It is said that Carol always wanted her mother's attention. Presumably she feels she will finally get it if she eats live crabs out of a bucket on television.

ANT (ANTHONY McPARTLIN) & DEC (DECLAN DONNELLY) Both b. 1975) Geordie jokers with but one personality between the two of them. Even their mothers don't know which is which. Does it matter? It seems unlikely.