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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 15:17 GMT
I'm a celebrity... rwy'n dysgu Cymraeg*
Janet Street-Porter
Celebrity Welsh-learner Janet Street-Porter
Broadcaster and journalist Janet Street-Porter is among celebrities taking part in a new reality TV show - learning Welsh.

Street-Porter, who once claimed that the language was "ugly and ludicrous," is taking a crash course shown on S4C from Friday night.

Other celebrities spending a week at the Nant Gwrtheyrn National Language Centre include actress Ruth Madoc.

The programme Cariad@Iaith will carry live coverage and highlights.

Also in the women's house in the show is singer-songwriter Amy Wadge and paralympic athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Former singer with Eighties New Romantic band Visage Steve Strange from Newport, is in the men's house, joined by former One True Voice pop star Jamie Shaw and actor Bernard Latham, who plays Mr C in Hollyoaks.

Minority bashing

They will learn the basics of Welsh for six hours a day at the centre on the Llyn Peninsula, while the cameras will follow them day and night.

The celebrities will also be asked to perform tasks, in the manner of shows such as Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

Ms Street-Porter faced criticism from the Welsh pressure group Cymuned last Summer, after comments she made about the language ahead of a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

She was quoted in The Observer as saying about the Welsh language: "There are no words for anything invented after the Black Death."

Cymuned accused her of "institutionalised minority-bashing" and protested outside her show.

It's never too late to acquire a new skill
Janet Street-Porter

S4C said the celebrity version of the Welsh learners programme, cariad@iaith or Love4Language, had an interesting mix of people.

"This type of programming is quite popular at the moment but there is a cultural purpose to this show, introducing more people to Welsh and helping them learn about Welsh culture," said Huw Chiswell, commissioning editor, light entertainment.

Ms Street-Porter, whose mother was Welsh and who spent childhood holidays walking in north Wales, is quoted as saying, "I'm looking forward to learning Welsh. It's never too late to acquire a new skill."

Cymuned congratulated her on "being willing to re-assess her attitude".

Viewers can follow the series on a webcast and also vote for the celebrity they feel has made the greatest efforts to learn.

Cariad@Iaith is broadcast on S4C on Friday at 2025 GMT and at 2350 GMT on S4C Digidol.

* I'm a celebrity... I'm learning Welsh


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