Ainsley Harriott is the lead in a Christmas fight, but he had no idea he joined.
The contest he has unintentionally entered is the ‘Bookee reward,’ which was devised by a famous TV fan.
Nick Walker has developed a list of which celebs are making the most appearances on television throughout the holiday season, hence the smart name; he has posted a thorough spreadsheet on X, previously Twitter, and is regularly updating the statistics.
He’s even taken the effort to explain the rules to his followers so that we can all play along.
A celebrity receives one point for each appearance on a programme between December 23 and January 1. Repeats, talking head jobs, and being a regular host or contributor to the series earn no points. However, if it is a standalone or special that is unrelated to the main series, they only earn one point.
Noel Edmonds would earn one point for Noel’s Christmas Presents, but none if it was a Noel’s House Party Christmas special, as Nick graciously explained.
HO HO HO! The Bookee Prize is back
The contest to find the Celebrity Coincidentally Booked On The Most Christmas Telly
— Nick Walker (@nickw84) December 24, 2023
Ainsley, 66, has taken the top spot five days into the tournament. He’ll have another trophy to add to his already crowded cabinet (this is a metaphor, as there is no tangible medal that we are aware of), as he already won The Masked Singer.
He sang Holly Jolly Christmas by Michael Bublé while dressed as a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Judges Leona Lewis, Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora, Davina McCall, and Mo Gilligan had to identify who was hiding behind the mask, and they believed everyone from Jamie Oliver to Alan Titchmarsh was lurking behind it.
Ainsley has three points so far on Blankety Blank, Ainsley’s Festive Flavours, and the aforementioned ITV singing competition.
Multiple stars are close behind him, with a total of two. Comedian Katherine Ryan appeared on Blankety Blank as well as Big Fat Quiz of the Year, while singer Adam Lambert has performed on both Royal Carols: Together at Christmas and Britain Get Singing.
Tom Allen, AJ Odudu, Carol Vorderman, Katherine Jenkins, Roman Kemp, Aled Jones, Brian Conley, Gregory Porter, Jane McDonald, Keisha Buchanan, Kevin Bridges, Marisha Wallace, Mo Gilligan, Russell Watson, and Stephen Fry are also on two points.
There are a lot of stars who have only just begun with one – their agents need to work harder, or they will be getting coal for Christmas next year.
Historian Dan Snow, EastEnders actor Jamie Borthwick, and rugby player Danny Cipriani all got one for their Strictly Come Dancing efforts, while Pussycat Doll Kimberley Wyatt and RuPaul’s Drag Race competitor Kitty Scott-Claus made the list for their appearances on The Hit List. Last year’s joint victors, Jonathan and comedian Judi Love, have only one point apiece for Britain Gets Singing and The Wheel.
Over the next five days, we’ll see whether anybody can dethrone the King of Christmas TV – this is more suspenseful than Wimbledon!