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Byline: Gordon Wallace and Bill Sinclair


Family's mud hut hell is no laughing matter

BEING a volunteer on new reality show Going Native would have me Going Nutty in about three minutes flat - especially if I was a woman.

Channel 4's cross between Castaway and Surviving The Iron Age has one difference to other fly-on-the-wall shows - only the women seem to work.

Lynn and Robert Nestor, along with their three young children, have agreed to swap their London home for a hut in Swaziland for 10 weeks.

From the beginning, it was clear it wouldn't be plain sailing. The people of the Shongwe community consider outsiders bad luck. During the Nestors' stay, any sick animals or children will be blamed on their presence.

To counter the "bad luck," the Shongwe sacrificed a goat. Back in London, the Nestors held their own "ceremony". It involved a few friends and lots of wine. Robert said everyone was "slaughtered".

You should have seen the goat, mate!

From the moment they arrived, it became clear there was no equality on the homestead.

Lynn rose at 4am to cook, clean, dress the kids and spend hours walking them to school. Then it was back home for more housework.

Ever insensitive, Rob never lifted a finger. Lynn meanwhile, was told that she must wear a long dress and head scarf in the stifling heat and she couldn't smoke, eat eggs or drink milk - apparently, they are all bloke things too.

When this brought Lynn to tears, Mr Sensitivity burst out laughing.

The children's lives weren't easy, either. At school, their teacher showed them the stick they would be beaten with if they misbehaved.

So are the Nestors nutty? I don't know.

What I do know is that when they get home, he's going to pay - big time.

Beeb's crowning glory


WE are most definitely amused. There are some things the BBC do really well and costume drama is one of them. Their latest offering, Victoria And Albert, had the lavish production you would expect, and as strong a cast with Victoria Hamilton as the queen, left, and Jonathan Firth as Albert.

But this had something more - humour.

I did not expect to chuckle at the famously austere royal couple but, as the young Queen tried to get someone to explain her wifely duties on the wedding night, you just had to smile at her Royal flush.


A long way down for famously fallen stars


THE path to fame can be a rocky one - and in this series we see what goes up must come down.

A conveyor belt of has-beens passed before our eyes, including Keith Harris and his cuddly Orville, Jeremy Beadle, Christopher Biggins and Timmy Mallet.

Keith and Orville did a gig in a tent at a Welsh university. What a foul mouth that dummy had - the furry one, that is.

It made for grim viewing and a warning to the up-and-coming celebrities that you'd better have real talent or it may be a short ride. But it's how the erstwhile stars handle the descent that's really fascinating.

Some such as Mallet and Terry Christian - remember The Word? - just fade away, while the likes of Sinitta cling on, hoping for a second bite of the cherry.

Then there was Joan Turner - from a Sixties TV singing icon to a bag lady in Los Angeles. Booze and good times dulled this old star. "Disney need voice-over people - I've still got the voice," she sang. Sunset Boulevard couldn't have been far away.

Wheel on the psychologists. You get addicted to recognition and any kind will do. When that's gone, all you're left with is panto.

While Kirk and Sulu "Klingon" to fame at Star Trek conventions, spare a thought for Jason Donovan. The ex-Neighbours star sings for his supper in a Luton pub at two quid a ticket.

But I'll leave you with the diminutive Don Estelle (pith helmet and all), from It Ain't Half Hot, Mum, crooning Whispering Grass live to an audience of two at a shopping mall near you.

Which sums up the indignity of it all.

Saddest has-beens in town


FIFTEEN minutes of fame is about quarter of an hour more than most so-called celebrities deserve.

Step forward Christopher Biggins, Keith Harris and Orville, Timmy Mallett, right, and the rest.

Fame is fleeting. The song said: "I'm going to live forever. I'm going to learn how to fly."

It should have added: "and then I'm going to learn how to crash and burn."

Faded celebs won't accept this and cling on for grim death to the last vestiges of stardom.

Big Brother's Darren and Nasty Nick turn up at every opening, premiere or birthday bash. And why are they famous?

They were on a show where one cheated and lost - and one didn't cheat and still lost.

Professional losers who are unable to go from Big Brother is watching you to no one is watching you.

One contributor even complained that we see far too much of attention-seeker Geri Halliwell.

Fair point - but the guy saying this was Boy George.

The same Boy George who appears on every Eighties nostalgia show on our screens. Who guested on the A-Team. Who admitted to playing Butlins. And who is so desperate for fame he does a show about washed-up hasbeens who are desperate for fame. Oh, the irony.

The most surreal moment came when Keith Harris said that he and Orville were before their time. This man spends his life with his hand up a duck's rear, while he talks out of his own. If that's the future of entertainment, I'm selling my telly.

Just as sad was Timmy Mallett, who said he understood public opinion was fickle. But perched, like a sacred relic, by his side was Mallett's Mallett. And how does he sign his name? A mallet wearing glasses.

The great thing about shows like this is they allow us to gloat at the arrogant soap stars who dreamt of Hollywood stardom - and ended up doing panto.

Nice Spice too good to be truel


Monday, ITV

IF your maths teacher says you're good at sports, it's a safe bet you can't count past 10 with your socks on.

So, when Emma Bunton's singing coach said she was good at dancing and acting, you know he meant "pass the ear plugs".

This edition of Carol Vorderman's Star Lives was a tribute to Baby Spice, above.

It featured all the Spice Girls, bar one. Geri Halliwell was nowhere to be seen - and it's not often you can say that.

Did she refuse? Had she been asked? Did Emma demand: "No one on the show who's thinner or blonder than me."

No, not Nicey Spice surely.

After seeing a video of herself at stage school, Emma said: "I was such a poser."

Was. Why was she speaking in the past tense?

Scary Spice came on to provide the unintentional laughs.

When Carol asked if they ever discussed failure, Scary's reply was: "It was an unforbidden thing we didn't talk about." What?

The guests said Baby was sugar and spice. No one mentioned the disastrous sales of the last Spice album. Or the fact that Emma's first solo single was kept off the No.1 spot by arch rival Geri.

Alien is out of this world


THE Health Education Board for Scotland's anti-smoking alien is a riot. But will kids take any notice?

He certainly appealed to me, with his purple body, big nose and even bigger belly.

In fact, I've been racking my brains trying to work out who he reminds me of.

And then it came to me.

Next Sunday morning, my bathroom mirror is for the bin.

THE latest craze for mobile phone users is downloading a personalised greeting from a celebrity. Mine would go like this: "Hi, I'm not in right now. I've just popped out for some liver, chianti and fava beans ... You will leave a message now, won't you?"

Gordon's Gaffe...

ACCORDING to one of Timothy Leary's closest friends, he spent the Sixties urging us to "turn on, turn in, drop out". No he didn't. "Turn on, tune in, drop out: is the phrase she was searching for. But by the end of the BBC2 Reputations programme, I wished I'd tuned out, turned in and dropped off.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 30, 2001
Previous Article:Big's better for Fergie.
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