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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 16:52 GMT
Jungle rumble to Cerys comeback?
By Sian Harris
BBC News website

Cerys Matthews
Out of the jungle and into the spotlight for Cerys Matthews
Cerys Matthews might have sung "It's all over the front page" in trademark song Road Rage, but the same could not be said of her in recent years.

Until three weeks ago, that is, when the former Catatonia singer joined the gaggle of famous (and not so famous) faces in this year's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Set in the Australian jungle, the reality series has previously worked its career-reviving magic on many former contestants, from DJ Tony Blackburn to singer Peter Andre.

Initially tipped as the bookies' favourite to win, the singer, who was born in Cardiff and raised in Swansea, was just pipped to the final three when she was voted out of the show on Thursday.

Cerys Matthews
She was totally off the radar for many people. This has definitely put her back in the public eye
TV critic Rachel Roberts

However, a blossoming, and apparently mutual, affection for fellow contestant, former EastEnders actor Marc Bannerman, had already ensured the singer a plethora of headlines during her time Down Under.

Her rollercoaster career has ranged from the highs of an Ivor Novello award nomination and being named Coolest Person in Rock by Melody Maker readers at the "Cool Cymru" height of 1999, to the lows: an admission to a rehabilitation centre and the Catatonia split two years later.

Since then, things had fallen a little quieter, aside from a productive 2003, with the release of solo album Cock-A-Hoop, a Pembrokeshire wedding to Seth Riddle and the birth of Glenys Pearl y-Felin, the first of her two children.

Cerys Matthews at her wedding
The singer had a short-lived marriage to producer Seth Riddle

Last month, it was revealed that the 38-year-old, who had lived in Tennessee for five years, would be returning to Wales after divorcing her American producer husband.

So what impact will ITV's I'm a Celebrity... have on her career? Quite a lot, according to TV critic Rachel Roberts.

"I was a big Catatonia fan," she said. "She was totally off the radar for many people. This has definitely put her back in the public eye. I'll be interested to see what she does next.

"When Catatonia were at their height, she was huge, they were a big band at the time. It's been nice to see her."

Like previous reality romances such as I'm a Celebrity's Jordan and Peter Andre and Big Brother's Chantelle and Preston, her flirtations became the story of the series - and a target for the cynics.

Marc Bannerman
The romance side of things will do her the world of good and give her more oxygen of publicity if she's got the ability to plunder it
Publicist Mark Borkowski on her relationship with Marc Bannerman, above

"Some critics were carping on last week that is was all an act with Marc," said Ms Roberts, "But I don't think it was at all. What you see what you get with Cerys."

The potential sting in the tale is that the ex-EastEnder had a long-term girlfriend back home and Ms Roberts feared the Welsh star could be painted as "a bit of a home-wrecker."

But, as Ms Roberts pointed out, no publicity is bad publicity, and publicist Mark Borkowski believed the love angle would be the lifeblood of any potential comeback.

"It's like a soap opera - will they get together, will they not?" he said. "I can see weekly magazines wanting to buy that story... it will carry on in the tabloids and weekly media.

"Like Preston from Ordinary Boys and Jordan and Peter, romances do well... the romance side of things will do her the world of good and give her more oxygen of publicity if she's got the ability to plunder it."

While Ms Roberts believes I'm a Celebrity has exposed her to a whole new audience, Mr Borkowski holds a different view.

Catatonia
Cerys Matthews with Catatonia at their peak in the 1990s

"I always thought Catatonia and Cerys Matthews had a little bit more credibility. That's gone. She's made a statement that she's commercial by going on I'm a Celebrity."

Sentiments echoed by newspaper columnist Brian Reade, who in the Daily Mirror mourned her demise from "risky and clever with a sexy Welsh lilt" to "as rock'n'roll as Mavis Wilton."

When attempting to get the view from the lady herself, her publicist David Samuel informed us she was busy spending her time with the children, "chatting away in Welsh."

But, he added: "She absolutely loved the experience. She's still on a high and I thought she would be tired but she sounded just buzzed with the excitement of it all, seeing her family and kids."

A Welsh tour in February is next on the professional agenda, according to her publicist, who denied having the inside track on the future of any romance.

He said: "At the moment, she's just in a bit of a whirlwind and getting used to the outside world again. The calls she's made are to her mum and dad.

"I know she likes Marc, it's something she's got to get her head around."




SEE ALSO
Jungle showdown for final three
30 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Hopkins ousted from jungle show
23 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Bannerman voted off jungle show
22 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
Jailhouse rock for Cerys Matthews
02 Nov 07 |  South East Wales
Divorced Cerys returns to Wales
15 Oct 07 |  South West Wales

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