Jungle lessons in creeping, crawling and breeding

'I'm a Celebrity' has shone a light on the grooming habits and territory marking of the celebrity species. Its mating rituals are next
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The Independent Online

Anyone who says that reality TV is an empty format whose time has gone is going to be embarrassed after watching the first week in the new series of I'm a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here! Instead of the expected junk television, the programme is providing a healthy diet of educative information. Rather than squabbling it gives us anthropology. Instead of lightweights, learning. So many insights are coming out that viewers are going to have to start writing them down.

The subject of WAGs alone, could form the basis for a PhD. Last week we learned that every footballer's wife or girlfriend has an accent identical to all the others. In a sample of two on I'm a Celeb, 100 per cent claim as a party trick that they can put their legs behind their head. We found that fake breasts must do an awful lot of sweating, because no other body part requires quite so much soaping under a playful waterfall. We were told that "women who wear no mascara look like foetuses, and I'm not willing to look like a foetus in the jungle". Give that girl Nicola McLean a white coat and a pointy stick and she could come out of this with a degree in make-up technology and her own series on popular science. But don't expect to witness her in her natural habitat – even her fiancé, Peterborough United's Tom Williams, has never seen her without her bronzer. Joe Cole's missus, Carly Zucker, on the other hand, is already plotting her way out of the cauldron of fame: "If I don't like it," she explained, "I can just have a baby and go away."

Far more exciting, however, have been the insights into the species Politico politicus. Often found slithering about among the leaf mould and detritus of the jungle floor, this shy creature has revealed itself to scientists as never before. Witness the exuberant greeting between two politicos, Brian Paddick and Robert Kilroy-Silk, when early in the week Paddick snuffled warily into Kilroy's territory. "Sod off," bellowed the older male. Kilroys are notoriously suspicious, according to those who have studied them in the wild.

See also the astounding natural strength of the political male. In scenes filmed in captivity before the celebrities were released into the jungle, Paddick revealed that he had hired a personal trainer to prepare him for the Australian rutting season. Kilroy, placed in a tank with snakes, spiders, cockroaches, rats and biting ants, faced down all these predators. When a snake inadvertently wriggled between his trembling thighs, the sympathy of a nation went out to the snake. And, with his face crawling with cockroaches, it was the first time that a Kilroy anywhere was observed to keep his mouth shut for a full two minutes.

Among these revelations, other insights into the genus Celebrity could have gone unnoticed. Esther Rantzen's winter plumage includes black silk underwear from one of M&S's upmarket ranges. Contact with Joe Swash's bottom is not advisable before breakfast, unless you are a biting insect. Contrary to expectation, all of the people appearing live on national television 24 hours a day are without ego.

Tune in this week for more scientific discoveries from the Australian jungle. Let's hope not to witness mating behaviour before teatime.