13 November 2009
Elvis Shackleton, Long Midnight Publishing's artisitc director, writes about the disappointing news that once again, Barney Thomson author Douglas Lindsay has been left off the short list for ITVs I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
On the face of it, they seem made for each other. I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here is a show where the definition of celebrity is stretched to its fullest, and where the line-up of the show has many tabloids asking, Yes, but where are the celebrities? Meanwhile Douglas Lindsay is an author who's been on TV once, a man of whom virtually no one has ever heard. Perfect IACGMOOH material, if ever there was, so it's understandable that people should be asking why this match made in heaven has failed to come off, yet again.
The show's producer, Malcom Fforbes-Pryce, expressed disappointment that Lindsay would not be joining the cast of unknowns and forgotten-abouts. 'It's a tragedy for British television,' said Fforbes-Pryce. 'The show needs that bit of enigmatic Scottish gloom. Ever since Fraser in Dad's Army, people expect most ensemble shows to have a miserable Scotsman muttering darkly about crap everything is. We're really disappointed.'
Fforbes-Pryce refused to be drawn on speculation that negotiations broke down over arguments about money, but show insiders claim that Lindsay was asking for approximately £2.7m per week, and a stipulation in his contract that there would be no stunts with Big Spiders; while the show were offering him nothing and in fact didn't even know that he exists as a human being, never mind as a celebrity. So far apart were their demands and conditions, it seems the two were destined never to meet in the middle.
This morning, speaking from his home in the south of France, Lindsay claimed to know nothing about the whole sorry affair. 'This is an outrage,' he said. 'I'm not sure why it's an outrage, but usually in press reports in Britain someone has to be outraged, and I think it's my turn. And in any case, I'm too busy in my role advising Lord Coe on how we can hold the 2012 Olympics a year earlier than planned, so that we can catch all the other countries off guard.'