Last week, we learned that Mike Tindall has signed on to be a contestant on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, a popular (if lowbrow) show in the UK. What was very interesting about the announcement was that producers led with the fact that Tindall is “part of the royal family” and some kind of witness to royal happenings which they’re paying him to gossip about. If they led with “he’s a former rugby star and successful podcaster,” perhaps people wouldn’t have as much sh-t to say. But it’s clear that Tindall is “trading” on his connection to royalty and being married to Princess Anne’s daughter (and King Charles’s beloved niece). Well, it looks like there is some minor pushback from Buckingham Palace:
When the royal family first courted a primetime television audience, Cliff Richard, dressed as a leek, was chased by John Travolta; Tom Jones hurled fake hams at Toyah Willcox; Prince Edward threw a strop and Meatloaf almost had a fight with Prince Andrew after flirting with the Duchess of York. To say The Grand Knockout Tournament of 1987 — later dubbed “It’s a Royal Knockout” — was a PR disaster would be something of an understatement.
Now, 35 years on, Buckingham Palace is wondering whether fresh embarrassment could be heaped upon the Firm amid reports that Mike Tindall is to join the next series of I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!.
It is understood that Tindall, who is married to the King’s niece, Zara, 41, did not seek permission from Charles before agreeing to take part in a show where “bushtucker trials” often involve gorging on animal genitalia.
But with Tindall’s appearance likely to earn the couple, who do not receive public money, a six-figure payday, Palace courtiers may find that pleas to reconsider fall on deaf ears. Are the Tindalls, the “no-nonsense” royals, set to become the faces of a new, modern monarchy? Or could Tindall’s transition to TV star be as unsuccessful as Edward’s?
The former rugby player, a member of England’s 2003 World Cup-winning team, could pocket as much as £150,000 for taking part in I’m a Celebrity, according to experts. The show is returning to the Australian jungle for the first time since 2019, when Covid-19 restrictions forced production to move to a castle in Wales. Other famous names expected to join him include the singer Boy George, who could receive the show’s highest fee yet, and the DJ Chris Moyles.
Last year, to derision in some quarters, he told The Times “you always worry about money” and that Covid had put paid to some of his speaking gigs. “I was very fortunate that I had a couple of ambassadorial roles, so you know there’s money coming in, but sponsorships won’t last for ever,” he said. “You’ve got to plan . . . and what’s coming down the line in terms of school bills, fees to pay . . .” The couple have three children: two daughters, Mia, 8, and Lena, 4, and a son, Lucas, 1.
The rest of the piece is a surprisingly thorough examination of how often Zara and Mike trade on their royal connections, and how much money they’re making from their lucrative sponsorships, appearances, etc. Zara, like Mike, was a professional athlete, an equestrian and show-jumper. She has/had lucrative sponsorships because of that, although she plays those a bit closer to the chest. And that’s just the thing – Zara and Mike don’t have titles, they’re not working royals in any sense, they aren’t “publicly funded,” although they do live on Anne’s estate. Why would they need Charles’s permission to do anything? The most shocking thing about this is how little money Mike is getting for this reality show though – ONLY £150,000?? He’s going to sell out his wife’s family on a cheesy reality show for such a relatively paltry sum? Tasteless.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.