The nation demands: don't let Janet out!

What the shrinks think: our Editor-at-Large is still sane - but there are fears for those subjected to her 'unique character'

Hopes rose last night for a British woman being held captive in a jungle by a consortium of business and media interests.

Hopes rose last night for a British woman being held captive in a jungle by a consortium of business and media interests.

A group of psychologists and therapists airlifted in by The Independent on Sunday was able to reassure Janet Street-Porter's friends, colleagues and readers - in response to whose telephone calls she has not been released - that she had so far survived with her sanity intact. Whether the same can be said of her fellow captives - three men subjected daily to her unique character and cooking - is another matter.

Relationships expert Jenni Trent Hughes says of Janet: "If someone could be capable of coming up with a strategy to win a reality show, I would say she could do it. Yes, she is being herself but I think she's also thinking about what she's doing. Because of her mental fortitude she has handled the mental/emotional pressures better than the others."

These pressures may indeed be beginning to tell on them. Already Desmond Morris, human behaviourist and author of The Naked Ape, is detecting worrying signs.

Forcing himself to watch the sometimes gruesome footage of I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, he said: "If you have seen video images of hostages, there is a total lack of body language there.They just sit. There is something really sinister about that. They are working on the principle that the less they do and the less emotion they show, the more chance they have of winning."

The film of the jungle drama is now believed to be entering its final stages. The shadowy group were at one time holding 11 people, but released seven of them by Saturday morning local time, following appeals from the public. In the next 48 hours the fate of the remaining foursome - comedian Joe Pasquale, editor-at-large of The Independent on Sunday Janet Street-Porter, former nightclub owner Fran Cosgrave, and ex-butler to Princess Diana, Paul Burrell - will be decided.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said of Janet: "She went in saying 'I am going to be me. I am going to be a vile bitch ... My rudeness is me being honest.' People make allowances for that. A very clever tactic."

Joe's smarts, she noted, were his gentle touch. "He has been able to nurture other creatures in that environment, not just people's egos."

Psychotherapist Phillip Hodson agreed, saying Joe was behaving like a "proper grown-up". He added: "Janet is behaving artificially by trying to tone herself down."

His analysis? "When joining a group under stress, individuals tend to default to childhood survival roleplays. Paul is an earnest pleaser. Fran a good egg. Joe a cheerful accommodator. Janet an acerbic critic.

"They probably suggest that deep inside Paul feels unempowered; Fran feels over-constrained; Joe does not feel lovable, and Janet feels inadequate. "


By 'Hell's Kitchen' survivor Al Murray

Style: "Can it!" barked Janet at the borderline loony Natalie Appleton. Immediately it became clear how she got the 'IoS' out on time every week.

Application: Janet has taken on her role as camp scavenger with ruthless efficiency, rifling through the possessions of deserters and evictees alike.

Evolutionary theory acted out: Some scientists say that humanity evolved in a matriarchal society, small tribes driven on by powerful, terrifying, purple-haired women, whose screeching cries would call all to the hearth. Until Janet's appearance, most regarded this as improbable tosh.

The breaking of Burrell: Royal flunky and patsy Paul Burrell has been broken on the Street-Porter wheel; soon he'll be renouncing the royals, cordon bleu cookery and show tunes just for a bowl of sweet rice.

Character, strength of: I'm a Celebrity ... is all about strength of character, and as far as I can tell Janet has been doing the personality equivalent of press ups, squat thrusts and tummy crunches.

Resistance to Fran Cosgrave's obvious charm: Fran has shown that he has an entirely over-developed flirting muscle. So far Janet has resisted. But I fear if Janet buckles, a pile of bones and a distinctive set of teeth piled by the fire ...

Books: Clearly she's been taking her literary editor's advice! Imagine that!?!

A plague on whingeing: It's fabulous to see someone for whom whingeing is a discomfort. If only there were more like her, we could turn this country around.

She's honest: Janet has let Sophie Anderton know what she thinks of her already. In a gentler time this might have been called ghastly, but in the jungle it's honesty.

She's a dreamer: Janet is one tough lady, and funnily enough she seems to expect the same toughness of models and actors.

Atonement: And so it came to pass that Janet Street-Porter was sent to the jungle to pay for her stint at BBC2. And those who had endured her scheduling did rejoice.

They're enjoying a couple of quiet weeks at the 'IoS': She seems to love it. She could stay ...couldn't she?

Al Murray's new DVD "'The Pub Landlord' ... And a Glass of White Wine for the Lady" is available now on Universal Video

Joe Pasquale

Phillip Hodson says: "Joe is able to appear unthreatening because deep down he has no real wish to threaten - a good marriage between his inner self and war-game tactics"


Phillip Hodson says: "Janet is against traditional values so attacks all that Paul represents, but then is partly disarmed by his passivity and so enjoys his company. Perhaps she longs for a pair of strong arms attached to a personal valet? Group therapy can do"

Paul Burrell

Jenni Trent Hughes says: "I think he just wanted a chance to prove that he isn't the monster that everyone has painted him to be, and I think out of anyone in this gaggle, he is the only one you can't fault for any of his behaviour"

Fran Cosgrave

Dr Linda says: "His tactic is very much about flying below the radar"

Phillip Hodson says: "His childhood survival roleplay comes across as that of a 'good egg'. Behind this lies a secret longing"

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