Keep your mouth shut in the madhouse

This week saw the first episode of ITV’s The Zoo, a behind-the-scenes, reality TV look at life at London Zoo, one of my favourite attractions in town.

Possibly, I was the only one of the three and a half million to tune in who thought we’d get to vote some of the animals out each week. Lenny the Lion would be roared off, Gerry the Giraffe would get it in the neck and Barry Bat would be battered to death for charity and fed with chips to the homeless on the Christmas special.

Sadly, those delights weren’t to be, but as in the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, the show has its share of natural crowd pleasers and unlikely, if creepy, heroes.

In the Anne Widdecombe role are spiders, working hard to win over a sceptical public. London Zoo’s spiders are mostly well behaved, we learn.

“The last thing we want is a spider suddenly running out,” said a keeper, as if his charges were a bunch of stroppy divas.

The monkeys are always the favourites and they’ve already inspired a great line.

“You learn one thing early on,” said a handler.

“And that’s never to look up with your mouth open.”

Sound advice Nick Clegg might have heeded when Dave Cameron made him swallow student fees.