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Keith serves olive oil with his breadline.

IT was hard to judge who was the more nonplussed when a quintet of low-rung celebrities descended on four struggling families in Leeds.

7 Days on the Breadline (ITV1, 9pm) is the latest twist on the celebs roughing it format. A sort of I'm A Celebrity with added rats.

"Maybe we'll get David Beckham, chortled fast-living pensioner Christine. Disappointment was in store.

Squinting through her nets and spying Trinny Woodall tottering out of a taxi Christine admitted: "I don't know who she is." Even when Trinny introduced herself, Christine was in the dark. "I still don't know yer face, love," she apologised.

So Trinny elaborated. "Yuh, I do a TV show in fashion. In England."

Oh poor trust fund Trinny.

Faced with sagging velour couch and fading wallpaper she could only assume one thing - she'd arrived in a far away land. In fact it was unvarnished, unmonied old age. Which to Knightsbridge-trotting Trinny must have seemed as foreign as Fiji.

7 Days on the Breadline, sees our celebs, who also include Austin Healy and Mel B, experience life on a sink estate for a week. Celebs get exposure, TV salves its social conscience. But what was in it for the families? TV cameras poked voyeuristically into every cranny of their domestic lives.

"Rats come out from under here," mum-of-six Michaela cheerfully announced to an ashen-faced Keith Allen, pointing under the sink. "We smack em with spades, cut the heads off and bury them outside in the rat graveyard."

Graffiti defaced the bedroom walls and kids slept on stained bare mattresses.

Their lives were caught in a tangle of gambling, drug use, dropping out and crushing sense of apathy. The celebs were woefully out of their depth. To be fair to them - with the possible exception of Trinny - 7 Days wasn't quite the patronising car crash I'd expected.

Keith Allen produced pink plonk, deli meats and olive oil, and carved out some family time making pizza and Mel conjured up a gym pass and a celebrity car wash. They tried.

But when the tearful goodbyes are waved (no shots of them actually bedding down among the rats and Rizlas, interestingly) and they're blabbing on about how much their experience has changed them - will anything have changed on the estate? I doubt it somehow.


TOUGH GIG: Keith Aleen in 7 Days on the Breadline
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2009
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