If there’s one thing that 21st century television lacks, it’s a genuine nutbag.
So a round of applause, then, for the producers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! who have found us not just one to gaze at slack-jawed of an evening, but two.
They are known as ‘The Twins’ and they live alongside an entity known as ‘Mr Happy’. And no, they are not the nicknames of Ant, Dec or Holly Willoughbubbly.
The three nestle, it would appear from his pre-jungle promotional interviews, in Noel Edmond’s groin.
"No-one will be interested in seeing me in the shower," trilled the bearded 1990s relic. "I don’t think ITV’s ready for Mr Happy and The Twins."
Well, no. Nor are the 12million viewers, a good chunk of whom will be too young or drunk to recall who Noel is, was, or could possibly be.
So allow me to inform you.
Noel first shot to fame in the 1960s as a newsreader on Radio Luxembourg, which used an ancient means of broadcasting known as "mediumwave".
For younger readers, this relied on psychic mediums transmitting Beatles songs into the brains of teenagers using "waves" of rebellion against their parents.
It was feared such music and methods would bring about the end of civil society. Little did anyone realise it was Noel, and not the music, we needed to worry about.
He went on to join Radio 1 as understudy to breakfast DJ Kenny Everett, the 1969 equivalent of Greg James and about 87,000 times funnier and more interesting.
It was all a Cupid Stunt, of course
Noel went on to present the breakfast show for four years, and was also one of the main presenters of TV show Top of the Pops, which has since become renowned as the paedophile equivalent of catnip. Noel was, mercifully, not one of them.
During the late 1970s he became a presenter on an early version of Top Gear, where he pointed out the Fiat Strada was “positively ugly” and looked “like a young child wearing very unfortunate National Health specs”.
He was so dull that he made Jeremy Clarkson seem necessary.
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Unfortunately, as he was not prepared to be interestingly shouty, smash up caravans or grow a further two feet, Noel had to leave Top Gear.
He went on to present a number of popular TV programmes in the 1980s and 1990s, each of them increasingly detached from reality.
The Late, Late Breakfast show accidentally bumped off a bungee jumper, Telly Addicts featured the world’s most appalling sofas without anyone passing comment, and the Saturday Roadshow pretended it was in exotic locations while being filmed in Shepherd’s Bush.
But Noel was growing steadily more bonkers. He infected important people at the BBC with the same illness, and they agreed to let him broadcast a “house party” to the nation from an imaginary mansion in an imaginary town assisted by an enormous pink monster covered in yellow spots.
Is it me or is that the mansion from To The Manor Born?
(Image: News Group/REX/Shutterstock)
The show’s highlights included covering people in gunge and a death threat from now-convicted sex octopus and fellow DJ Dave Lee Travis. With hindsight, it gave I’m A Celebrity all its main ingredients.
The party ended in 1999. No-one checked on Noel for some years, and he came to believe that he should be in our living rooms forever. In 2005 he returned to our screens with Deal or No Deal, the British version of an interminably-dull Dutch guessing game which has since been used as a template for Brexit negotiations.
The show was enlivened only by unsubstantiated rumours the set was built one-third larger than real life by a vengeful set designer in order to make Noel look as small as possible.
That phone looks… larger than normal
(Image: NO FEE)
Noel really hit his bonkers stride in 2010, when he joined Rolf Harris and Bernard Manning to back a celebrity campaign against the Czechoslovakian drug scourge “Cake”.
He claimed this drug could over-stimulate a part of the brain called Shatner’s Bassoon and lead to people being knocked down by buses by interfering with their perception of the fourth dimension.
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In 2009 Noel was photographed driving in bus lanes in a secondhand London taxi cab whose mock hackney carriage licence plate on the rear indicated he believed other drivers were time bandits.
After members of the public tried to enter the cab he took to driving around with a fully-dressed shop dummy on the rear set as a pretend passenger. But the dummy developed a life of her own.
He called her Candice Cannes and in 2013 her track Are You Ready got to number 3 in the dance charts. She has 4,155 followers on Twitter, who are bombarded with anti-vaccination lunacy and tips on how your favourite songs can "regenerate your brain".
By sheer coincidence, Noel appears to think the same sort of things.
He has declared that he wants to buy the BBC, says you can “order” things from the cosmos after mistaking Amazon for a universal life force, and says his dead parents appear as two melon-sized orbs which can be seen only with digital imagery.
In 2013 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and chose to defeat it by spending 8 minutes a day sitting on an electromagnetic pad to promote "cellular resonance". He also had a picture of a tumour on his phone so he could say "bye bye" to it whenever it rang.
He drinks only "restructured water". He exercises slowly, in the dark. He claims to have given the kiss of life to a foal and driven his Ford GT40 at 186mph, at 4.30am, while naked.
The nudist angle to Swap Shop was never really explored
(Image: Internet Unknown)
In 2015 he claimed that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, death does not exist. He said that humans beings are “energy” rather than meat and bones, and that £2,000 on a tinfoil hat allegedly designed by NASA was an absolute bargain because it stopped "electrosmog" attacking your electromagnetic field.
“You cannot die. It’s been known for a very long time,” he added, without saying which zombie had told him about it.
More recently, he has spoken about filing a £60m lawsuit against Lloyds Bank over claims that his media firm was pushed into collapse a decade ago by fraudsters at HBOS, which Lloyds rescued at the height of the financial crisis.
The suit has yet to begin, although Noel has been keen to discuss it. His blog, a sanity graveyard built from defamation, capital letters and apostrophes bent out of shape, is a masterpiece of obsession. The fact it’s called ‘Noel World’ says much, but perhaps we should all be glad that so far ‘Mr Happy and The Twins’ have not featured in his public life.
Perhaps he is just an extended prank
Which brings us to the inevitable collision between Noel’s mental state and I’m A Celebrity, which is as likely to involve Mr Blobby gunging him as it will the sort of viewing figures that will make Simon Cowell sacrifice a kitten on a gold-plated altar.
An ex-girlfriend claims Noel takes 45 minutes to blow-dry his hair and beard before he goes out, which should make roughing it in the jungle a bit of a trauma. He’s supposedly phobic about water, has practiced eating worms, and says he’ll happily eat any testicle that has been drained first.
Perhaps most telling of all, he has taken to referring to himself in the third person. "I may be Marmite but there’s a hell of a lot of people that seem to like Noel’s version of Marmite," he says, hopefully not as a euphemism for draining the twins.
Marmite is a Victorian foodstuff which has been finding new fans for more than a century. Noel is only 50 years in – if he’s right, we have a lot more of this to come.
That’s fine. He adds to the gaiety of the nation. He just needs an allergy warning on his forehead: ‘May contain nuts’.
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