Controversy equals ratings for reality TV – but is having two toxic provocateurs in the jungle just a little too real for viewers?
That’s certainly the buzz from fans of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, who are incensed by the antics of serial TV pests Lisa and David Oldfield.
Judging by the backlash on social media, viewers want them gone ASAP. And it’s hard to disagree after last night’s episode, which saw David aggressively pontificating about his decision to circumcise his young sons.
While there's nothing wrong with being in favor of the snip if you feel you've done your research, it's all about the delivery. David didn't take any cues from those who were forced to listen to him take the pulpit, and he simply proceeded to let fly in a manner that many saw as arrogant, abrasive and downright rude.
I wonder what his kids thought about his choice of subject matter, as he addressed the nation on what should probably remain a family discussion. Less unclear was the reaction of the Oldfields’ campmates, with Paul Burrell left visibly horrified by the berating he took from Pauline Hanson’s onetime close confidant.
The others were equally unimpressed, with Josh Gibson calling David ‘a d**khead’ and the normally mild-mannered Peter Rowsthorn saying of the often-warring couple, ‘They're both idiots.’
Twitter lit up with messages like, ‘Don't vote the Oldfields into trials. Don't give them any attention at all. Ignore them’.
I’m A Celebrity has already had one very close call this year, after the dubious decision to cast Anthony Mundine – whose disturbing past comments on 9/11 and the role of women, and that seemingly approving discussion of capital punishment for gays, left many viewers fuming and feeling alienated. Thankfully he ended up being a spectacular quitter, and stopped being a problem for viewers who simply wanted to tune in for a bit of silly, light entertainment.
Yes, reality TV needs a bit of conflict to make it interesting. But there’s a fine line between the thrill of watching some sparks fly, and being forced to endure two toxic personalities polluting what was once a light-hearted bit of fun.
Should the Oldfields go? Judging by last night’s episode the answer is an emphatic yes. But they still have the chance to redeem themselves on tonight’s challenge... let’s see whether they have what it takes.