Jungle triumph may be worth millions to 'Celebrity' McFadden
Wednesday 11 February 2004
Enduring two weeks in the close company of Jordan, Angie Best and Peter Andre, not to mention Lord Brocket's never-ending comedy act, may just have been worth it for the I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! winner, Kerry McFadden.
The humiliation of being defeated in the "Bucktucker Trials" and her very public homesickness will fade into the past as she counts the handsome profits that winning a reality television show can now bring. McFadden stands to earn up to £1m from endorsements and appearances.
"Gobsmacked" she may be, but as a former member of girl group Atomic Kitten, which ironically split up while she was in the Queensland jungle, she is well placed to capitalise on her success - perhaps even more so than cricketer Phil Tufnell, who created a career as pundit and commentator by winning the last I'm A Celebrity outing. Tony Blackburn, the first victor, has enjoyed a renaissance in his career.
McFadden is likely to find it easy to return to the top of the charts if she decides to relaunch her pop career. Jan Croxson at Princess Talent, which represents McFadden, said: "She's had an amazing experience. She wanted to test herself and she's done better than she ever imagined. Lots and lots of people have been telephoning. We have very exciting things to talk to Kerry about but I don't want to say any more until then."
She added: "I'd like Kerry to continue with presenting because she's very good at it. Kerry's a really good comedian and I'd like to see her do more acting." But she said the first thing McFadden would want to do to is to return to Ireland, to see her two children.
Max Clifford, the PR guru who has also advised her, said yesterday that she could easily make £2m if she accepted all the offers that came her way, but was more likely to be selective.
McFadden had seemed to turn her back on success and showbiz when she left Atomic Kitten, just before they first made No 1, for a life of domesticity with her husband, Bryan McFadden of boy band Westlife.
The other contestants are also likely to be able to capitalise on their appearances - indeed, it is likely to be the reason they went through the ordeal.
But while the world of showbiz and celebrity endorsements are a familiar environment for the McFaddens, figures like former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond and disgraced peer Lord Brocket are new recruits.
Lord Brocket, unknown to many beforehand but once tipped as the winner, is considering more than £1m worth of offers. They range from adverts for soap - after his efforts to soap down Alex Best's bottom - to presenting television shows on stately homes and becoming an after-dinner speaker.
Publishers are said to be vying for his autobiography, which will include his time in prison and in the jungle. The aristocrat is in Australia putting the finishing touches to a charity single, "Jungle Rock", which he is recording with fellow contestants Mike Read, Razor Ruddock and Peter Andre.
Sue Ayton,Bond's agent said the "telephone hadn't stopped ringing" since she came second on the show. "Cosmetics companies have been very interested - they want to know whether it was their products she was using in the jungle and whether it stayed on.
"She has had lots of different offers and it is too early to say what she will be doing."
Predictably, Jordan's story of life in the jungle and her dalliance with Andre appears to have been sold exclusively to every tabloid.
Reality shows have certainly proved lucrative - at least in the short term. Kate Lawler, who won Big Brother, is carving out a career as a television presenter while BB reject Jade Goody has become the darling of Heat and OK! magazine and has a best-selling fitness video.
And ITV was celebrating its best-ever figures for I'm A Celebrity. Average viewing figures of 14.1 million per night (a 54.5 per cent share) beat last year's 12.7 million, and the Pop Idol record of 13.3 million.
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