Hurrah! Celebrity Coach Trip’s back on Channel 4 today at 5pm, ready to send a fresh bus-load of D-list stars out on a jaunt around Europe under the watchful eye of cheery tour guide Brendan Sheerin. Oh, how I envy you students, housewives and shift workers…
It’s a smashing TV format, combining the breathtaking scenery of a travelogue with all the thrills and spills of OK Magazine, in a competition that exists solely to pair up celebrities and encourage them to find fault with one another. But as it’s a British daytime show made on a budget, it also means that we get to catch up with a whole raft of performers, pundits and presenters who’ve been out of the spotlight for some time.
Indeed, some of them have been in the wilderness so long you might be left scratching your bonce wondering just who the heck they are. So, seeing as it’s a bumper cast for this series of the show, here’s our handy print-out-and-stick-on-the-fridge guide to this season’s Celebrity Coach Trip teams. All aboard!
Spencer Smith and Brian Belo
Famous for: Big Brother; allegedly creating The Only Way is Essex
Analysis: These BB alumni are such well-scrubbed and pleasant chaps that it’s hard to see anyone finding a bone to pick with them, especially Brian, who’s carved out something of a niche as the Nicest Man on Television. Good-natured banter and nice normal blokiness will doubtless be the order of the day from Bri and Spence.
Gary Cockerill and Phil Turner
Famous for: Being friends with Katie Price. And in Gary’s case, doing her hair
Likeability: 6/10; 0/10 if you’re Peter Andre (they don’t get on with him, apparently)
Analysis: With only OK readers and ITV2 viewers having even the faintest idea who these two fellows are, the majority of the British public will be getting their first impressions of Gaz and Phil entirely from this Coach Trip appearance. Expect lots of bleached-blond camp, with the possibility of some claws-out bitchiness if they take a dislike to anyone.
Lizzie Cundy and Emma B
Famous for: Modelling, being a footballer’s wife; modelling, Radio 1 broadcaster
Analysis: With both teammates having been models and/or lads’ mag pin-ups back in the day, Liz and Em’ll be providing the glamour for this series of CCT. Plus, with Lizzie Cundy being the original WAG and Emma B having spent the ‘90s and ‘00s at the coalface of national radio, they must have quite the fund of celebrity anecdotes to share too…
Michael Barrymore and Maurice Leonard
Famous for: TV presenter; TV producer
Analysis: Maurice, for the uninitiated, is Michael Barrymore’s TV producer, responsible for such telly gold as Kids Say the Funniest Things, which suggests that he’ll be leaning more on his personality than his achievements for the series. Barrymore, on the other hand, is possibly the most notorious of this series’ contestants, having livened up his stint on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 with a brilliant 20-minute slanging match with George Galloway. Hopefully there’ll be more of the same here. Expect off-the-wall behaviour from Barrymore and lord-knows-what from Leonard.
Lembit Opik and Alex Best
Famous for: Former Lib Dem MP and erstwhile squeeze of a Cheeky Girl; having been married to George Best
Analysis: Ah, good old Lembit, I do love seeing him on the box. Rather than getting a lot of directorships and earning whopping great sums of money out of politics, Lembit’s just happy to be performing in front of people, be they in the House of Commons or a bus shelter. And Alex is hardly what you’d call a wallflower either, having popped up on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here in 2004. Expect a great deal of attention-seeking from this pair, and doubtless something unexpected from Lembit. I’m still waiting for him to appear on telly toting an accordion.
John and Jenny McCririck
Famous for: Racing punditry, mild television misogyny; being a brow-beaten housewife
Likeability: 1/10; 7/10 if you’ve ever been interested in competitive facial hair growing
Analysis: John and his wife Jenny ‘the Booby’ have already paraded their bizarre relationship on Celebrity Wife Swap where we learned that John spends his days in bed, drinking champagne, smoking cigars and expecting her to wait on him hand and foot, which she inexplicably continues to do. Maybe she’s mesmerised by those luxurious sideburns warming his cheeks. In any case, expect un-PC comments every step of the way from John, and possibly a nervous breakdown from Jenny.
Helen Lederer and Sandra Dickinson
Famous for: TV sitcoms
Analysis: With both these ladies of laughter having popped up in TV programmes as diverse as Bottom, Girls on Top, 2point4 Children and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, hopefully we’ll get a smattering of vintage anecdotes and wry gags from the team. And looking at their competition, I think I’m probably justified in branding them the brains of the series too…
Stan and Andrea Boardman
Famous for: Stand-up comedy; TV presenting
Likeability: 2/10; even less if you’re German
Analysis: Good Lord, let’s hope the bus doesn’t stop in Germany on this trip as Stan’s repertoire of WW2-era anti-Jerry jokes mightn’t go down quite as well over there as they do in the working men’s clubs of Blighty. He’s famous as the man who embarrassed Des O’Connor by using the word Fokker in a routine again and again on live TV, while his daughter’s a veteran of light entertainment shows like Ready Steady Cook. Having been embroiled in a scandal for telling racist gags at an event in Leeds back in 2002, maybe Stan’s hoping to rehabilitate his public image on CCT.
Wagner and Stavros Flatley
Famous for: The X Factor; Britain’s Got Talent
Analysis: Expect outright wackiness from the get-go from these unlikely talent show stars. Wagner, who found fame as the long-haired Brazilian wild-man on last year’s X Factor is bizarre in his own way, but is eclipsed, both literally and metaphorically, by the portly Greek father and son Irish-dancing duo Stavros Flatley. Frankly, it’ll be interesting to see how these chaps all get on without a stage, a backing track, and flashing lights to keep them tethered…
So, that’s this year’s Celeb Coach Trip contestants, and what a bunch they are, eh? Who do you think will go the distance? Would you like to be onboard the bus with this galaxy of stars? Post a comment and let us know.