Rebecca Tyrrel: Who can be sure that Freddie Starr wouldn’t have gone on to supplant John, Paul or Georgein the Beatles?

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The Independent Online

Who knew that Liverpool's most legendary musical son might have been neither Lennon nor McCartney,but Freddie Starr?

Imagine. It isn't easy if you try, of course, especially if you grew up with Freddie's frenetic Adolf Hitler impersonations in the early 1970s. It is clearly, in imaginative terms, a long and winding road but persevere because it could have happened. A whole decade before Freddie broke through as a comic (at least that is what he called himself) he was an aspiring Liverpudlian musician with none other than Brian Epstein for his manager.

Who can say for sure that, but for the Rolodex confusion, the Starr recruited to become the allegedly hilarious moptop would have been Freddie rather than Ringo? And that he wouldn't have gone on to supplant John, Paul or George as the band's premier genius?

On the limited evidence of Freddie's only hit (a ballad called "It's You", which reached number nine in the charts in 1974) Mr Epstein was wise to abandon any ambition to turn Mr Starr into the alternate Lennon. Apart from anything else, the allegation that Freddie ate a hamster would have thoroughly upset Paul and Linda.

Which brings us to his participation this year in I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here!. Perhaps it was Freddie's vegetarianism (so he claims) that led to his violent allergic reaction after eating, among other things, a camel's toe in the first bush-tucker trial of the season. Having been a latecomer to the camp after medical insurance problems – he remains obese and a chain smoker despite undergoing a quadruple bypass less than a year ago – it was a classic case of Hello, Goodbye.

But still, please try to imagine that the man who split from his wife after taking part in Celebrity Wife Swap (Donna Starr made the mistake of warning her fellow contestant, Samantha Fox, that Freddie was something of a layabout and Freddie became cross and unforgiving) might have been a thoughtful, anti-war kind of chap, taking part in a peace protest 'bed-in' and penning with his new wife, "The Ballad of Freddie and Yoko".