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Corrie Bruce is royally screwed.

Byline: KEVIN O'SULLIVAN

Down on Desperation Row forlorn former Corrie star Bruce Jones was lamenting his epic fall from grace... "I used to mix with royalty," he sighed. "Now I'm sat in the dole office."

Meanwhile, over in Berlin on her regal tour of Germany, I bet the Queen was thinking: "My son used to mix with Bruce Jones. Now I've got to find PS150million to repair Buckingham Palace."

We all have our problems. Somehow Her Maj manages to make ends meet. But life's a financial struggle for beer-swilling Bruce, who once earned PS100,000 a year playing Street legend Les Battersby.

Now subsisting on PS63 a week, he picked up a few extra quid to tell of his plight on the latest of Channel 5's many poverty porn specials Celebs On Benefits: Fame To Claim. Dazzling wordplay.

Whether the producers had the right to pluralise their brilliantly clever title is debatable.

RELIC Because the low-rent show's only other household name was - drum roll - Big Brother relic Lisa Appleton. Anyone? No, me neither.

After looking it up, I can exclusively remind you that Lisa entered TV's house of horror in 2008 shortly before fellow contestant Mario Marconi entered her. Unsuper Mario proposed on screen and the crappy couple's doomed marriage lasted two whole years.

These days poor Lisa (literally) lives alone in a "rat-infested hellhole" in her native Warrington where we learned that her bank account was in the black to the tune of 29p.

Defiant in her rock-bottom predicament, the forgotten 47-year-old insisted: "People say 'Oh, she thinks she's famous.' Well, I'm sorry, I am." No, Lisa, you were mildly famous for 15 minutes. Long, long ago.

There must be thousands of losers who were similarly conned by the reality telly lie. Wide-eyed innocents who actually believed that briefly appearing on some stupid programme was a surefire passport to endless glamour.

So quite why Celebs On Benefits resorted to featuring a noncelebrity unemployed teacher and a deluded little wannabe actor remains a mystery.

Luckily, Bruce was on hand to lift the downbeat proceedings with his tales of the good times.

When he met Prince Charles in 2000 he allegedly asked him if his mum enjoyed Coronation Street. HRH allegedly replied that she loved it. Mmm.

Of his decade at the top of the soap tree, Jones recalled: "I was mixing with the likes of Michael Douglas and Mike Tyson. I was getting mobbed. Now I'm on jobseekers' allowance.

That's some fall." Agreed. And there's a grim fascination about ex high-flyers who lose everything.

Watching brassic Bruce explode in frustrated rage after another fruitless visit to the DSS was undoubtedly compelling.

But it was also so sad and depressing that you wished that bloody Benefits Street hadn't spawned the horribly exploitative TV craze for gawping at the flat broke and the jobless.

In Warrington, lovely Lisa spent her welfare money on bread, bacon and tomatoes in order to vary her diet between bacon sandwiches... and bacon and tomato sandwiches.

And in North Wales, Bruce penned his evil fairy children's book and declared: "It might be another Harry Potter. You never know." Yes, I do.

Fired for drunkenly revealing storylines in the pub, he's not going back to Weatherfield.

But, ever the optimist, he insisted: "There's a TV series for me, I know there is." Yeah, it's called Celebs On Benefits... and you've just been on it.

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EPIC FALL Former star Bruce Jones
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2015
Words:574
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