Kate Livingstone: Give me a rumba not a rumpus

Ray Burmiston/BBC
Ray Burmiston/BBC

I sort of came late to the party but this was probably the first year that I took an active interest in I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.

In the past I’ve watched bits of episodes, usually in the latter stages of the three-week series when people are leaving. However, people chewing on bugs or being covered in snakes, creepy crawlies and heaven knows what else have kind of repulsed me.

But for some reason – perhaps I was too tired to even use the remote control to tune out – I saw the first episode this year and sort of got hooked. I’ve always liked Kate Garraway and that nice Irish girl Nadine from Girls Aloud, I felt maternal towards Roman Kemp – nothing to do with his dad being my heart-throb several years ago – and Caitlyn Jenner had so many stories to tell.

It didn’t mean that I didn’t close my eyes when the contestants were having to go through all those horrible trials, even if we have been assured that no live insects were eaten this year. Ugh!

But one thing I did find hard to stomach was people complaining that this year’s competition was “boring” because there was so little animosity between the contestants.

Okay there were a few times when former footballer Ian Wright and comedian Andrew Maxwell got a bit fractious but they always seemed to make up with a man hug.

It seems that if people aren’t yelling at each other or throwing a strop then it doesn’t make good television.

Why is it that so many of us are fascinated by people yelling and being really nasty to one and other?

As I said, I’m not really a fan of these types of shows where you are getting a glimpse of groups of people living in, let’s be honest, unnatural circumstances.

All these year’s ago when Big Brother first aired and people at work would be avidly talking about the previous night’s episode as they had their morning tea break didn’t include me.

It just seemed all so staged and unnatural.

And it never ceased to amaze me how many of us don’t realise that we are only watching a one hour programme whereas these people are being filmed 24/7 and we are only seeing the edited version that the show’s producer wants us to see.

Even I know that they are going to screen the ‘best’ bits to keep their ratings up.

No I’m afraid that my viewing these days is definitely not any programme where I think people are being encouraged to get stroppy and yell at each other.

Give me an episode of Strictly Come Dancing or the Great British Bake Off any day.

Here, if you follow the series, then you can watch the contestants ‘grow’ as they improve their skills, whether it be on the dance floor or in the kitchen.

So this weekend, in between writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents, you’ll find me on the couch getting ready for the Strictly final.

And I’m hoping that I will be able to raise a glass to toast a victory by my favourite pair who I’ve been cheering on from Day One.

Who’s that you ask? Why Anton and Emma of course.

Despite being on the show since 2004, he’s never been a winner and I hope that changes in 2019!