On 06 November 2006, David Gest went into the outback of Australia for the ITV1 reality show “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!” For three weeks, more than ten million people watched each night as David became the national hero of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. According to Tony Parsons of “The Daily Mirror” in London on 20 November 2006: “There is increasing evidence that appearing on a show like “I’m A Celebrity…. Get Me Out Of Here!” is not a career’s death certificate but the kiss of life. David Gest has changed everything. Before this series began, Liza Minnelli’s ex was talked about as the biggest reptile in the jungle. But after one spirited bush tucker trial and a few pithy one-liners (“Weren’t you at my wedding?” he said to a baby crocodile trying to swim into his pants), Gest is suddenly the nation’s sweetheart.” Sara Nathan of “The Sun” in London went on to say on 25 November 2006: “DAVID GEST: Everyone thought he might be a Hollywood fruit cake. He has turned out to be fantastic and charming and everyone loves him.” David Chater & James Jackson of “The Times” in London also confirmed on 25 November 2006: “… David Gest, who has been a revelation – presumably we can expect to see much more of him on our screens in the future whether he wins or not.”
It was all summed up by John Walsh of “The Observer” on Sunday 19 November 2006: “The multimillionaire American showbiz impresario might indeed be a little flummoxed to discover what he has become since the new series of “I’m A Celebrity….Get Me Out Of Here!” He is now easily the most talked about element in the television show. Where two or three Britons gather by a water cooler, their talk is of Gest’s oddball charm, his bracingly direct one-liners, his pop world anecdotes, his laconic valour in the face of creepy-crawlies. Critics have queued up to abuse him. But as they did, against all the odds, he began to grow on people. His bush tucker trial was a turning point. To win star tokens to secure the jungle dwellers dinner, Gest had to stand in a kind of glass phone-box, opening 10 valves which sent jungle water – along with a horrible collection of serpents, water spiders and fanged predators – gushing all over him. As the water reached his neck, he calmly collected six tokens and emerged with a spider the size of a wheel brace on his head. Advised of its presence, Gest simply plucked it off like a skull cap and tossed it away, cool as a breeze. The lessons to be learnt from this swing are simple. One, Gest is a natural star because he’s rich enough, and sufficiently connected to genuine celebrity, not to care what people think of him. Two, the British public simply loves an oddball. And three, they’ll forgive anything – your ugliness and vanity, your dyed hair and American wackiness – provided you tell good stories.” In 2011, Digital Spy News Network took a poll of the UK’s top ten greatest “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!” contestants from the first ten years. David Gest was voted the number five favourite contestant in the show’s history by the UK public. They stated, ‘Dean Gaffney had bigger screams, Mylene Klass looked better in a bikini and Matt Willis pinned him to the title, but David Gest proved to be your favourite contestant from Series 6. The jack-of-all-trades entertainer was a quirky character whose celeb tales and unusual jungle antics (including a bromance with Willis) won him many fans.’ Even in 2012, Gest is still loved everywhere he goes by the UK public.
Following I’m A Celebrity….Get Me Out Of Here!, Gest became the first American to have three prime-time television series all on the air at the same time: “This Is David Gest”, “Grease is the Word” and “Greased Lightnin’”.
Gest went on to offer viewers a rare insight into his multimillionaire lifestyle in ITV1’s top rated “This Is David Gest”, with cameras following the music impresario as he adapted to British notoriety. The show sealed Gest’s status as a household name throughout the UK, becoming the highest watched programme in its prime-time slot.
Gest drew on his extensive experience within the music industry to take a guest judging spot on another ratings-winning reality spectacular, “Soapstar Superstar” in January 2007. His acerbic comments and brutal honesty led to him taking a permanent judging position on “Grease is the Word”, a nationwide search to find a couple to take lead roles in the stage adaptation of the 1970’s classic movie “Grease”. It was Simon Cowell’s idea to star Gest in “Grease is the Word”. Cowell became a huge fan while watching Gest on “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!” Alongside stage producer David Ian, 80’s song stylist Sinitta and choreographer Brian Friedman, Gest eventually oversaw Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden on their transition from amateur performers into West End leading stars.
David was admitted to hospital in December 2007. He had respiratory problems after completing panto with Jamie Winston, Ray Winston and Alfie Allen in an adaptation of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol” renamed “A Twisted Carol”. His tour was pushed back to January 2009 to ensure David made a full recovery before taking to the stage again. Highlights from the live tour were previewed to audiences throughout the UK when Gest hosted Channel 4’s entertainment extravaganza “The Friday Night Project” in September 2007. “Heat” magazine called Gest one of the best hosts in the series’ history.
“He has his own style and way of producing that reminds one of a Ziegfeld spectacular. He only does things in a big way and that’s why his events are always a huge success,” stated superstars Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson about their friend David Gest. Among those who concurred with this statement are Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Russell, Kirk Douglas, Usher, Sophia Loren, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Michael Bolton, Barry Bonds and an endless list of others. Mr. Gest has the distinction of producing the highest rated musical special in television history, “Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration”, The Solo Years, which was seen by 44 million people, with one of every four households in the United States watching the show. In addition to producing international concert spectaculars and television specials throughout the world, Mr. Gest produced the “American Cinema Awards” for eleven years and the “International Achievement In Arts Awards” for four years. To date, Mr. Gest has produced more than one hundred shows throughout the world. He has also raised millions upon millions of dollars for various charities. He has appeared on the covers of magazines and newspapers throughout the world.