I’m A Celebrity 2009: interview with Stuart Manning

by Lisa McGarry


Stuart Manning admits he is such a neat freak he will be doing everything he can to keep his little corner of the rainforest spick and span.

He says: “I love tidy. Tidy is good, messy is bad. In my flat in London I have all my clothes – shirts, suits, jackets, jumpers – everything in order, and I Hoover once a week.”

If he finds himself in with a messy bunch of celebrities he won’t mind, though. “I’ll have my own little space where I’m sitting and chilling out and if that’s tidy I’m happy.”

Stuart says he won’t miss being cut off from the rest of the world and has already had a taste of isolation, camping with his Australian relatives in a remote part of Queensland.

He says: “Anything with a bit of adventure, I’m game. We go to a place called Stradbroke Island, which is just miles and miles of beaches and you drive along and park up in the bush and make a camp and stay there for a week, catching fish and living off the land, which I love.

“We had ants that made a beeline through our tent – in one side, out the other – crawling between myself and my cousin, so that wasn’t great, and you’re thinking they’re big ants …

“Not having your mobile phone, not having the internet, not being able to speak to everyone all the time was really nice, like going back to nature. The only horrible thing we had to do was empty the dunny, dig a big hole for everyone’s waste, which is not the most pleasant thing in the world.”

Stuart admits he has experienced the odd mild attack of nerves at the prospect of living in the infamous jungle camp with a group of strangers. “Obviously there are some nerves. I’ve never been in a jungle with a load of people I don’t know before so it should be interesting to say the least. I’ve never been in the rainforest but I’m looking forward to the experience, really looking forward to meeting who I’ll be with and just going with it. It’s something different and I’m never going to be asked to do it again.”

He hopes he will be safe in camp from the only phobia he admits to – a fear of the dentist.

He adds: “I have no fears or phobias, never have done. I suppose the dentist is my only phobia, I hate it. There’s not going to be any celebrity dentists out there, are there ..?”

He knows he is likely to go hungry at some point on camp rations and is getting his body used to the idea of having less food. “I have a very good appetite so I thought I’d better slow down. I’ve kind of cut down on what I’m eating, missing the odd breakfast, just in case there is a food shortage. I’m doing it sensibly, not fasting straight away, snacking every now and then, eating a little bit here, and there, just not as much as I used to.

“I’m not one of those people that gets really angry when I don’t have food so to be honest I think I’m going to be alright, not too many worries there.”

When it comes to the things he will miss most food is right up there at the top of the list – along with family. “It’s going to be weird not seeing my little god-daughter Annabella. She’s two months old and she’s phenomenal. I will definitely miss my roast dinners as well – I’m a big fan.

“I would like to pitch in and do some cooking. I think everyone should have a go. I’m sure we’re going to have a chef in there but I always love to cook, spaghetti bolognese, stuff like that. My signature dish is probably my roast lemon chicken.”

Stuart says he can’t wait to get into the jungle and tackle some of the challenges. “I definitely want to do a challenge so fingers crossed but we’ll just have to wait and see, nobody knows who else is going in or what their strengths are. I kind of want to give everything a go. If I get asked to do something I’m not going to wimp out, I’m just going to go for it and enjoy it.”

He is even determined to tackle the dreaded eating trials if he has to. “I’m going to try and eat something and just puke it up if I don’t like it. I think that’s what you’ve got to do really, just go for it and if you are sick keep going and try again.”

Stuart is a bit of a speed freak who loves to race motorbikes at up to 175mph, which has led to a fair few injuries. “I’ve dislocated my collar bone, cracked my heel, torn the tendons in my left hand, but apart from that no real mess-ups. When you’re on a track doing speeds you’re not allowed to do on the road its good fun – you just go for it hell for leather.”

For someone used to living life in the fast lane won’t the pace of jungle life prove frustrating?

He adds: “If there’s not much to do in camp I’m going to start exercising, see if some other people want to exercise, I don’t just want to sit there and do nothing. I might even go for a swim, we’ll have to see.”

Stuart hopes his straightforward attitude will help him fit in with his fellow campers. “I’m pretty happy, cheerful, easy-going, and I like to have fun. Once you’re a friend I make sure you’re very looked after. I’m normally good in a crisis, I keep level headed. Nothing really fazes me too much.

“I like people who are just happy, honest, have a good outlook. To be honest, nothing massively annoys me, we’ll just have to wait and see. If something does when I’m out there we’ll find out won’t we?

“To be honest I don’t want to get involved in any arguments. I’m sure there’s going to be people that are going to stress me out but I’m just going to step back and if two people have got in an argument I’m not going to step in anyone’s way. I’m not going t have a screaming match and call anyone stupid names. If they want to look like an idiot, let them.

“I’m just going to be honest with everyone. If someone gets on my nerves I’ll have a chat with them and say, ‘Listen, would you mind curbing it?’ I’m not going to hide away from anyone, not going to bitch behind anyone’s back, just be honest with everyone and say exactly what I think.“

When it comes to being on camera 24 hours a day Stuart isn’t worried – but he definitely won’t be baring all in the shower.

He says: “We all have to wash, keep ourselves clean, shower – everyone’s going to have to do exactly the same, so if at any point I have to take off my top or anything like that I’m sure that will be fine, but I’m definitely not taking off my underwear.”

His favourite celebrity from previous series is Janet Street-Porter. “She was just fun, quick-witted, which I liked. If people were being fussy she would just tell them to get on with it and stop being so wet, which I thought was good.”

And his least favourite jungle celebrity is David Van Day.

He adds “The last person I want to see come through the door would probably be someone like David Van Day. I just didn’t like the way he acted.”

Stuart has no fears about being able to sleep in the jungle, although he may keep some of the others awake.

He says: “I don’t mind the beds they have out there; they look quite comfortable. I can sleep anywhere, I fall asleep in a matter of seconds, so I’m sure I’ll sleep well. And I’m sure everyone else will know I sleep well because I snore. I grind my teeth as well, so that’s an interesting one, not normal.”

Lisa McGarry

Lisa has been watching reality TV for too long now. She won't do any housework unless 'Big Brother' announces it over the tannoy and everything she does has to be put to a public vote!