I’m A Celebrity fans may have groaned in disbelief at the cheesy chat-up lines Mark Wright used to charm glamour model Emily Scott – but one viewer knew line for line what was coming next.
Best friend James “Arg” Argent has been the 24-year-old Essex lothario’s wingman since the pair met in their teens.
And Mark, who shot to fame on ITV2 reality show The Only Way Is Essex, sticks to such a rigid chat-up script that, watching back home in the UK, Arg was able mouth his best mate’s words as he delivered them.
Wedding singer Arg, 23, says: “I knew the second Emily walked in he’d try and charm her.
“I could see it in his eyes. He had this grin which comes out when he’s about to start flirting.
“From the minute I met him he’s always been the same – cocky, confident, good-looking and a major hit with the ladies.
“He just never fails, he’s never been turned down. His routine would be exactly the same with any girl he wanted to charm – he’s never intimidated.
“It wouldn’t matter whether it was Eva Mendes who had walked into the jungle, Mark doesn’t get intimidated. If Kate Middleton walked into a room, he’d try to pull her from Prince William.”
Arg continues: “Mark’s really superstitious – he’s got a bit of a routine whenever he needs to gather some courage together before making his move.
“He makes a weird symbol with his hands where he makes a cross sign with his fingers and then licks his thumbs. I don’t know where it came from but he’s done it whenever he’s nervous for as long as I can remember.
“Then he goes up to the girl, introduces himself, compliments her and flashes a smile. From the age of 15, when he met his first girlfriend, he has never, ever been knocked back by a woman.”
Mark’s growing fondness for Aussie star Emily, 28, has been the big talking point of this series.
The hit ITV1 show has had 11 million viewers on the edge of their seats waiting to see how the big romance would pan out after Mark bombarded the blonde with compliments and chat-up lines.
Mark has donated the red gilet from his I'm A Celebrity promo shoot to our Christmas appeal charity auction for Age UK on eBay. Click here to find out more and consider making a bid
Arg says: “When he first started chatting to Emily I knew where things were going.
“I can tell how much he likes her from the way he was talking to her and from his body language.”
Fortunately for the self-confessed mummy’s boy, his jungle romance has the seal of approval back in Essex.
Arg says: “Carol, Mark’s mum, would love him to bring Emily home after the show finishes.
“They are a close family and Carol really wants him to meet a nice girl. She’s the kind of mum where as long as Mark’s happy, she’s happy, too.
“It means a lot to Mark that his friends and family like his partner. I’m not sure whether he could be with someone they disapproved of. Fortunately, I’ve heard Carol likes Emily already from what she’s seen.
"When she visits I know they’ll all do everything they can to get to know her and make her feel at home.”
Nightclub promoter Mark insisted that he hadn’t gone into the jungle looking for love but he was instantly smitten by Emily. He will get his chance to woo her properly when she heads over to England in a couple of weeks.
“He’s secretly a big romantic,” insists Arg. “People misjudge him a bit – he genuinely tries his best to treat a woman right. On a first date he almost always goes for the same routine – a three-course meal and wine at a posh restaurant, a drink at a classy bar afterwards.
“He’ll probably wear his blue suit with a white shirt, arrange for a car to pick the girl up, and make sure she’s dropped off home afterwards.
“Believe it or not he never tries his luck too much on a first date, although the next date could be a different story.
“But Emily doesn’t need to worry, Mark is always a perfect gentleman on a date. He doesn’t have a little black book that he’s trying to fill. I’d love to meet Emily and I know if Mark brings her over he’ll want to introduce us. She’ll have a great time in Essex, Mark will make sure of that.”
But if Emily wants to keep the former Tottenham Hotspur apprentice’s attention, Arg warns that she’ll need to play a little hard to get.
He says: “Mark was always the best looking lad in school, great at football, he always got all the girls and a lot of the other lads wanted to be more like him.
“From the beginning he’s been popular and confident. But there is one way to get under Mark’s skin – ignore him.
“It happened with Lucy Mecklenburgh. He was texting her and she didn’t reply for days on end. It drove him mad.
“He’d be saying, ‘I don’t understand, what’s going on?’. He was totally hooked because he couldn’t quite work her out.
“If Emily doesn’t reply to his texts for a few days he’ll get so into her I can see him jumping in his car, going round to see her and asking her to marry him.”
Mark’s undeniable charm catapulted him to fame in TOWIE, which he recently quit amid rumours he has landed his own reality show. And that same combination of cheek and wit has also made him the bookies’ favourite to be crowned King of the Jungle tonight.
Emily got booted off the show four days ago and Mark may be shocked to learn she is already thinking about a long-term relationship – and starting a family.
She told I’m A Celebrity hosts Ant and Dec: “I like the intimacy of a relationship and the stability. I’m looking forward to kids.
“I was thinking about not being with someone at Christmas, too, but I’m looking forward to flying somewhere... like England.”
Arg says: “It probably wasn’t his plan but you never know. You can fall for someone overnight.”
And it wouldn’t be the first time that Mark had taken a spontaneous big step. He shocked TOWIE fans earlier this year when he unexpectedly popped the question to his on/off girlfriend Lauren Goodger.Mark and Lauren's engagement party
Arg says: “He hadn’t told a single person he was planning to do it.
“It was an amazing shock but he’s secretly a romantic, spontaneous, passionate person.”
Sadly, the engagement ended almost as quickly as it began and controversy followed after Lauren claimed to have had an abortion.
The round-the-clock flirting between Mark and Emily obviously irritated ex- fiancee Lauren, who brushed off the romance this week, saying: “Mark gets bored easily. It will be another one next week.”
But Arg hopes his pal’s stint on I’m A Celebrity has shown a different side to his personality. He says: “Sometimes Mark feels he has to be a tough guy but I know him – he is a very sensitive person. The jungle has shown that.
“He screamed like a little girl during one trial – people love that. I’m confident he’ll be the King of the Jungle.”
Then Arg can look forward to a reunion with his best mate - and a return to their favourite boys' nights, a hugely embarrassing secret he keeps from all ladyfriends.
Best mate Arg reveals: “Mark’s big secret is his lads’ sleepovers – he’ll be so embarrassed now his girlfriends have found out. We’ve always done them and the last was about a month ago.
“We share a bed and watch a movie – last time we saw the Disney film The Mighty Ducks on DVD.”