Celebrity Coach Trip on Channel 4
21 January 2012
Channel 4's favourite tea-time show Coach Trip began its third Celebrity version on Monday 16th January, with Aisleyne as one of the star travellers.
She was paired with none other than her old sparring partner from BB7, Nikki Grahame, a combination guaranteed to provide entertainment to the viewers.
Which is more than can be said for some of the others, namely former MP (and "Major lover") Edwina Currie with her husband John Jones, ex-royal butler Paul Burrell (he looked after Princess Di, you know) and etiquette stickler Jean Broke-Smith, superannuated comedy duo Cannon and Ball, and former Eastenders Derek (Charlie Slater) Martin and John (Nasty Nick Cotton) Altman. Not forgetting of course Coach Trip's ever-present courier Brendan Sheerin
From the off it was clear that there was going to be generation-gap friction between Ash and Nikki and other more senior passengers. We know that Aisleyne has a deeply-ingrained sense of respect for older people, but that trait was to be severely tested by the attitudes of CERTAIN fellow-travellers. Yes you, Edwina and Jean.
The group started out from Trieste in Italy, and were introduced pair by pair. As Ash and Nikki approached the coach Jean demonstrated her ladylike character with the refined expression "It's two birds!", which pretty much set the tone for her (allegedly) well-mannered attitude to them for the rest of the trip.
As the coach set off for Ljubliana in Slovenia on the first leg of its two week journey Brendan encouraged the group to get to know each other. Paul asked Aisleyne if she had learned anything during her time on BB. "Yes, to know myself" was, unsurprisingly, her answer. Derek cut straight to the chase by asking Aisleyne to marry him! "How big's the ring?" was Ash's instant riposte.
The first activity saw the trippers "clowning around", dressed for the part in coloured wigs and crazy make-up. Aisleyne was one of the few who mastered the art of plate spinning. The afternoon was spent down on the farm, where the group had to set about mucking out the cowshed. This task was well outside a certain Camden girl's comfort zone, and as Nikki was at this point making uncharacteric efforts to keep herself under control, it was Aisleyne who supplied most of the histrionics. But it was early days yet, as it became clear that trouble was brewing.
At the end of the day the group gathered to cast their votes, and the generation gap became apparent as the votes against the girls mounted, resulting in Brendan awarding them the first yellow card of the trip.
Next morning the coach set off for Slovenia's second city Maribor where the morning was taken up by a competitive frisbee match, in which Mr Burrell threw his (not inconsiderable) weight around. The afternoon saw them at a dry-toboggan run, where speed-demon Aisleyne showed her mettle (or maybe she just forgot how the brake worked!).
In between all the activities, tensions had continued to build, with Nikki finding Jean particularly provoking, and Aisleyne and Edwina going head to head a number of times.
The second vote was now due, resulting in a tie between Ash/Nikki and Edwina/John. The other six had to confer to make a casting vote, with Aisleyne and Nikki facing an early departure if they received a second yellow card. Thanks to some emphatic lobbying from Derek to "give the girls at least another day" the yellow card went to Edwina and John, which they took with good grace. Not.
The third day saw the trippers in Croatian capital Zagreb, where the first activity was Judo practice. Aisleyne wondered how she could make her judo outfit look more fashionable. In contrast the next task was to learn how to bake a Croatian confection. This involved the beating of a lot of eggs, which Nikki seemed to find difficult, and comments from Jean finally proved to be the last straw provoking a full-scale tantrum, as only Ms Graham can. Aisleyne continued her egg-beating exertions, which for some reason caught the admiring gaze of some of the menfolk, before applying her best diplomatic skills to calm down Nikki.
When the group gathered for the day's vote, it soon became clear that it was going to get messy, as Nikki again exploded and decided to quit the stage, leaving Aisleyne somewhat in the lurch to face her peers alone, which she did with quiet dignity as inevitable early departure loomed. There was a particularly poignant moment when Derek became very emotional in delivering his verdict. He clearly liked Aisleyne, in a kindly uncle kind of way, and also seemed to have some kind of empathy for Nikki's vulnerabilities. Aisleyne gave him a warm and heartfelt hug.
The whole of Aisleyne's Balkan adventure can be viewed in the Videos section.
Celebrity Coach Trip