Look out, here comes Janet! Elton warns of a rumble in the jungle

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The Independent Online

Some of the celebrities arrived by parachute; the rest on horseback. Television executives could have been excused if they had arrived at ITV's base camp in gold-plated limousines.

Some of the celebrities arrived by parachute; the rest on horseback. Television executives could have been excused if they had arrived at ITV's base camp in gold-plated limousines.

The fourth series of the television phenomenon that is I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here!, which begins broadcasting tonight for the next two weeks, is expected to be the most lucrative yet. It has already garnered more media attention than its predecessors. This time it will cash in further with merchandising tie-ins ranging from lottery scratchcards, the first ever associated with a television programme, to boardgames and even sweets.

I'm a Celebrity is the UK's most-watched reality show. Revenue from advertising airtime is likely to be around £35m. Yesterday, the ITV press machine was firing on all cylinders. The Independent on Sunday's very own I'm a Celebrity contestant, Janet Street-Porter, was given serious A-list backing by her good friend Sir Elton John.

The singer-songwriter, known for his own public spats, promised Street-Porter, the IoS's editor-at-large, would be providing much of the fireworks that has made the programme so hugely successful. The target of her ire will be the nation's perhaps least favourite butler, Paul Burrell, one-time confidant of Diana, Princess of Wales.

"I don't think she likes [Burrell] very much - you know that might be worth the price of admission," said Sir Elton in a transcript to be broadcast tonight.

Others would also come in for her sharp tongue, said Sir Elton: "Janet prefers men to women. I think it's the other women that have got to be more frightened than the men."

The competitors had their mettle tested for the first time yesterday as they headed to their jungle home. Half - Street-Porter, the former All Saints singer Natalie Appleton, Huggy Bear actor Antonio Fargas, the model Sophie Anderton and former Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson - were sent in on horseback. Comedian Joe Pasquale, nightclub boss Fran Cosgrave, the model Nancy Sorrell and Burrell - parachuted in from a light aircraft. The final competitor, the former East 17 singer Brian Harvey, was going in on foot later, after he was given extra time to decide whether he would continue on the show following the death of his grandmother. He chose to go on.

A dozen good reasons to keep JSP in the jungle

A squeaky voiced comic? A former pop star (or two)? A comedian's wife, a nightclub owner or a one-time butler? Nah. There's only one person to vote for in I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! The woman we want to keep in the jungle for the longest time, our very own Janet Street-Porter. And here are just a dozen reasons why you should vote JSP:

* Because she can talk the hind legs off a witchetty grub. "I never thought they'd find someone with a bigger gob than me!" Expert analysis from Jordan.

* Because she's brave. "What's the worst thing that people can say about me? That I've got a big mouth?"

* Because she hates reality television. "I would rather get stuck in a goldfish bowl than be stuck watching that." Now she's the goldfish.

* Because she had the chutzpah to change her mind and go on a show she called "the pathetic outpourings of a bunch of second-division achievers" with "all the appeal of last night's chicken pie reheated".

* Because we'll enjoy her chats with the hosts. "Ant and Dec, the two most anodyne men in popular culture ... a pair of irritatingly facile Geordies whose faces are permanently stretched in clown-like expressions of glee."

* Because she would "rather sleep with a cockroach than with any of that lot. I'd rather eat maggots than be nice to Paul Burrell."

* Because the Daily Star said: "Sorry, love, but we reckon the cockroach would turn you down."

* Because she has a brain. "Janet is so clever ... she and Sheila Ferguson are a post-menopausal duo, oozing wit, vivacity, foul tempers and obscenities in equal measure" - Vanessa Feltz.

* Because when she told her friend Sir Elton John she was going he "pissed himself laughing and said, 'I feel sorry for the other people. I don't care who they are. I feel the utmost sympathy.'"

* Because we've heard of her. "She is just about the most charismatic woman I have met in all my years in the media" - Dominik Diamond, the Daily Star.

* Because her career doesn't need relaunching. "When I turned 55 I decided I would Age With Attitude. Vote for me and strike a blow for crumblie power!"

* Because she says so. And because now you will see what we have to put up with.

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