It’s that time of year again – nights begin drawing in, Christmas lights come on around the area and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! returns. But could a local boy be entering the jungle this month? Earlier this year, the bookies rated the chances of a certain gardener, TV host and author making it to the Outback. He’s not in the show’s starting line-up, but is Ilkley’s Alan Titchmarsh going on I’m a Celebrity? Let’s weigh up the evidence.
Who’s in the Starting Line-up?
It’s the usual mix of reality nobodies, soap stars, models and grumpy older folk, but no Titchmarsh yet. Headliners include boxer Amir Khan, Vanessa White from the Saturdays and Jennie McAlpine, who plays Fizz in Corrie.
Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley is clearly there in the hope he will become easily agitated and make some dramatic telly. The same goes for former footballer Dennis Wise. So, could the mild-mannered, former Nelson Road resident make a late entrance as the voice of reason amongst the chaos?
I’m a Celebrity Latecomers
There is a precedent for celebrities hitting the jungle in the week following the opening show. Last year, Homes Under the Hammer‘s Martin Roberts and radio presenter Danny Baker sauntered into proceedings on day five, although the latter was soon booted out. In 2015, eventual winner Vicky Pattison entered on day three with fellow reality star Ferne McCann.
Alan Titchmarsh Going on I’m a Celebrity – Is it Likely?
It’s worth pointing out that Titchmarsh has turned down a place on the show before. Here’s a clip of him talking about it on Good Morning Britain in 2014.
Admittedly, that suggests he isn’t interested, but the important takeaway is that he’s on the I’m a Celebrity producers’ radar, and what if the “enormous” sums on offer then are now “gargantuan”? He’s got Christmas to fund like everyone else.
In addition, the rumour mill is usually accurate, barring the ridiculous unattainable names churned out to garner publicity. No disrespect to Alan, but it’s unlikely they’d purposefully leak his name to gain some sexy headlines. In a similar vein, the bookmakers are rarely incorrect. You never seen them leaving the racecourse on a pushbike, as the saying goes.
Alan Titchmarsh’s Ilkley Roots
Titchmarsh was born in Ilkley in 1949 and grew up at 34 Nelson Road, between the railway and Hartley’s Auctioneers. He started his horticultural career with Ilkley Council, working as an apprentice gardener, before studying at Shipley Art and Technology Institute. It was as part of the Ilkley Players in the 1960s that a young Alan first stepped into the limelight.
He still considers the view form the Cow and Calf rocks to be the finest he has ever seen and has previously stated, “I grew up in this Dales town, and the view reminds me of how lucky I was to grow up in such a wonderful part of the country. Moors, woods and riverside were my childhood playground, and I cherish the time I spend there.”
Alan went on to present Gardener’s World and Ground Force, as well as a daytime chat show. Although he now lives on the Isle of Wight, Titchmarsh often returns to appear at the Ilkley Literature Festival to discuss his novels and told Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus newspaper that he is considering retiring to LS29.
Differences Between Ilkley and the Jungle
If Alan Titchmarsh does enter I’m a Celebrity, he’ll notice quite a few differences between life in Ilkley and an existence in the jungle. Here’s the breakdown:
In the I’m a Celebrity jungle, Alan will have to chow down on delicacies such as cockroach and kangaroo anus. In Ilkley, he could get himself a Fat Rascal from Bettys and wash it down with a cocktail at one of the town’s brand new bars.
- Ilkley wins.
In Oz, he’ll be thrust into the midst of a bunch of bickering egos. In this corner of West Yorkshire, we’re known to be some of the most friendly people in the world. We even allow Lancastrians into town (as long as they leave by curfew).
- Ilkley wins.
- Ilkley wins.
Australian wildlife is terrifyingly deadly and the contestants on the ITV show spend most of their time angering beasties by invading their home whilst looking for plastic stars to win meals. The worst you’ll find in Ilkley is a couple of escaped sheep slowing you down on the top road near the Cow and Calf.
- Ilkley wins.
Is Ilkley’s Alan Titchmarsh Going on I’m a Celebrity? Conclusion
Ilkley lad Titchmarsh seems a little level-headed for I’m a Celebrity, but he’s admitted being in the frame previously, so they could have now made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. After all, it’s a maximum of three week’s work and you transfer directly to a five-star hotel when you’re evicted. Also, the botanist in him must be intrigued by the plants of a different continent.
I just hope that, if Alan Titchmarsh going on I’m a Celebrity becomes a reality, Bettys backs him all the way by adding a witchetty grub sandwich to the menu.