Guilty Pleasure: Mark Hedges On I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

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The Independent Online

It's 1977. I am at Radley College in Oxfordshire. And naturally like all public school boys I think the Sex Pistols are the best thing ever.

Everyone has a favourite. I'm for Johnny Rotten. He never disappoints. He even looks like my border terrier when she snarls. But best of all you could see he was clever. Punks weren't meant to be smart. That made the Sex Pistol so much funnier, so much cooler, so public school. Wind on several decades and I've forgotten Mr Rotten. It's now a life of foxhunting, fly-fishing and running the 50 magazines that make up IPC's Country and Leisure division. My music tastes have moved towards Bach and Mozart.

Out of the blue, Rotten appears in my newspapers because he is in some TV show called I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!. So I try to watch it and I'm instantly hooked like a trout on my little chalk stream.

It's a popcorn version of Lord of the Flies. Even, the frightful Jennie Bond turns out to be frightfully brave lying in a pit of rats. There's the toe-curling horror of Peter Andre wooing Jordan. It's brilliant. And then Rotten pops up with a lighted candle wedged on his head to celebrate a birthday as only Rotten could. I'm hooked.

Two years later and I still love the show, which has completed its fifth series. Lady Thatcher's daughter won the last one and they've sold versions of the show to the Americans and the Germans. But they'll never find another contestant like Rotten.

Mark Hedges is editor-in-chief of Country Life

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