Now that I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is back on our screens, there is one stand-out character who is proving to be absolute TV gold! She’s already come out with some of the most memorable quotes ever including “nothing would induce me to do that,” and “what is a bollock?” Her name is Lady Colin Campbell, a 66 year writer and TV and radio personality. She is best known for writing two revealing biographies of Princess Diana, various royal scandals and a book on her own dysfunctional upper class Jamaican family. Yes, she was born in Jamaica. There is a lot more to lady C than meets the eye…
Born George William Ziadie to an upper class Jamaican family, she had ambiguous genitalia at birth and was wrongly labelled a boy. She was known as Georgie and did not have to confront her sexuality until puberty when her father sent her to an all-boys school. She was forced to stay there from ages 11-18 and was bullied relentlessly. Looking back, she said: “It was horrendous, like a glimpse of the bowels of hell.”
Around the age of 13 her body developed like a normal teenage girl’s and she found she was attracted to boys so contacted a gynaecologist. When her parents found out they dealt with it in the worst way possible. They sent her to hospital for three weeks where she was forcibly injected with male hormones which made her nipples shrink, her voice deepen and hair grow on her upper lip. If that’s not torture for a teenage girl I don’t know what is! She refused to continue with the treatment but her father would not accept that his ‘son’ was growing up a woman. She made him so ashamed that he even told her “the one solution to your problem is rat poison,” i.e. kill yourself.
Georgie somehow found it in her heart to forgive him and lived openly as a girl, moving to New York to study fashion and design. She began to go on dates with men and modelled.
When her grandmother learned about what her parents had done to her she was furious and gave Georgie $5,000 for corrective surgery. Recalling that moment, Georgie said: “No one ever faced the knife more eagerly than I.” At 21 the gender on her birth certificate was amended and her name changed to Georgia Arianna Ziadie.
So where does the ‘Lady Colin Campbell’ part come in then? Lady C gained her aristocratic title by marrying Colin Campbell in 1974, the younger brother of the 12th duke of Argyll. She told him her life story and they married after 5 days which was not enough time for her to realise that he was an alcoholic and a drug addict. After a bitter breakup, he told the tabloids that she was born a male, something she says she will resent until her dying day. “It was wildly inappropriate,” she told a journalist in 2013. Yeah, just a bit.
Georgia sued the papers successfully and went on to become a successful author and have a string of affairs but has never remarried. She did however adopt a pair of Russian twin boys named Misha and Dima who are now in their early twenties. She said: “I’m living proof that you can turn base metal into gold. Just because you’re born disabled doesn’t mean you have to end up living a terrible life!”
Fast forward to the jungle, and despite her eldest son telling her she was “too civilised” for the show, not a day goes past where Lady C doesn’t say something hilarious and memorable. The Disaster Chef bushtucker trial was a particular highlight: when Jorgie Porter squealed and squirmed when presented with egg vomelette and spaghetti bollocknese, Lady C calmly chowed down, complimenting the chef and asking if she could have a few specimens shipped over to the UK. She politely described the hairy camel lips as “al dente” and when she was presented with a crocodile anus she admitted: “it isn’t something I’d recommend, but then I’ve never liked arses.” After completing the bushtucker trial she refused to participate in the next one which involved washing a huge pile of dishes. So she’ll eat an anus but won’t wash the dishes.
Her language and opinions are not what the other contestants (and the TV audience) are used to hearing and she’s an entertaining reminder that an elite does exist in the UK. How nice of her to slum it with us!
She’s absolutely bonkers and eccentric, but you’ve got to love her. Not one of your five tiaras will help you in the jungle Lady C, good luck!
Catch I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here every night at 9pm on ITV.