When I saw Nigel taking a shower on I'm A Celeb, I though: Good God, it's my ... trends now

When I saw Nigel taking a shower on I'm A Celeb, I though: Good God, it's my ... trends now
When I saw Nigel taking a shower on I'm A Celeb, I though: Good God, it's my ... trends now

When I saw Nigel taking a shower on I'm A Celeb, I though: Good God, it's my ... trends now

We know his girlfriend thinks it's 'great'. 'If you've got it, flaunt it!' an unabashed 44-year-old Lauré Ferrari told the Mail yesterday.

But I can't help but wonder, as I settle down on Barbara Farage's cream leather sofa in her neat Orpington home, whether she was quite as relaxed to see her son Nigel's bottom on her television screen when he took a shower in the I'm A Celebrity jungle last week?

'When I first saw it, I did think: 'Good God, it's my oldest son's backside!',' Barbara tells me. 'That was a bit much . . . he's a former politician after all.'

Her eyes widen with shock, and then, all too rapidly, her face dissolves into a distinctively Faragian grin.

For once the initial surprise of the sight of her son's posterior had faded, Barbara — a flawlessly coiffed blonde in her late 80s — admits she was actually rather impressed with his physique.

Barbara Farage — a flawlessly coiffed blonde in her late 80s — admits she was actually rather impressed with her son Nigel's physique

Barbara Farage — a flawlessly coiffed blonde in her late 80s — admits she was actually rather impressed with her son Nigel's physique

Barbara has settled down each evening at 9pm with some trepidation to see what punishments will be inflicted on her son on ITV's I'm a Celebrity

Barbara has settled down each evening at 9pm with some trepidation to see what punishments will be inflicted on her son on ITV's I'm a Celebrity

Farage trying to unlock padlocks during a trial on I'm a Celebrity

Farage trying to unlock padlocks during a trial on I'm a Celebrity

ROLLERCOASTER SON: An 18-month-old Nigel Farage on the beach

ROLLERCOASTER SON: An 18-month-old Nigel Farage on the beach

'I thought how slim he was — but then he does eat well, he doesn't snack or have cakes. And, remember, Nigel will be 60 next April and considering the life he has led, with the worry he's always had, I thought he looked quite good.'

Every night at 9pm, Barbara, mother of one of the country's most controversial characters, has settled down with some trepidation to watch ITV's I'm A Celebrity, to see what punishments will be inflicted on her son.

It's proving to be a rollercoaster ride, even for this most resolute of matriarchs. Indeed, this week saw Nigel shout for mercy during a terrifying trial in which he was submerged in a tank of freezing water containing huge snakes — much to Barbara's concern.

'Obviously he struggled with [that trial]. I think it shows that he is human,' she says. 'He couldn't stand the cold water, he was never a strong swimmer. It was too much for him.'

One trial Barbara confesses to having rather enjoyed, however, was Nigel's drinking challenge with former boxer Tony Bellew. The pair had to down six pints of concoctions, including blended animal penises, something notorious bon viveur Nigel achieved with aplomb.

'Well, he coped with that,' says Barbara, chuckling. 'He [must have convinced himself] . . . this is ale!'

Meeting the convivial Barbara is, at times, rather unnerving. She has the same laugh as her famous son, and a facsimile of his grin lights up her face as we chat over tea and a plate of digestive biscuits.

Photographs of Nigel and her family adorn her study — she has three other children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Clearly, she is terribly proud of her eldest boy and his achievements.

He, in turn, adores her. A man never afraid to take on enemies forcefully in public, behind closed doors, Nigel is, says Barbara, a doting son.

'He always remembers my birthday,' she says. 'He brings me roses, and at Christmas he buys huge lilac ones. He is a good, attentive son and has never raised his voice to me in his life.'

It's fair to say, though, that Nigel has a rather chequered past when it comes to relationships with other women.

Twice married, first to Grainne Hayes with whom he has two sons, Sam and Tom, and then to German Kirsten Mehr, mother of his daughters Victoria and Isabelle, he has at times been dogged by accusations of infidelity. He is currently in a relationship with the much younger Lauré Ferrari.

Yet there is one woman to whom he has remained resolutely loyal, and who knows him best — his devoted mum.

Indeed, the longer we talk, the more it becomes clear where his intelligence — and deeply rebellious streak — comes from.

For while we know Farage to be a canny politician with the common touch, a man who blends a love of World War I history with the works of Charles Darwin, his mother is also a deeply cerebral, independent woman.

She keeps herself occupied by giving talks to the Woman's Institute on local and natural history topics, including Charles Darwin (the Victorian naturalist is a hero of the Farage family). She drives herself to her talks, and reads voraciously at home.

Barbara also shares the same look-at-me nature as her showman son. Her platinum blonde hair carries a chunky streak of pink — added, she says, by her hairdresser to perk her up after a stroke, and is now a fixture of her look.

Her manicured nails are artfully coated in a neat striped Shellac design, while her bright red dress is reminiscent of Coronation Street's Bet Lynch.

Nigel himself has described his mother as 'exceptionally glamorous' — so much so that, in her late 60s and early 70s, she performed a full 'Calendar Girls' homage, by stripping off and posing for fund-raising calendars, her dignity preserved by flowers and other items. Once, pink roses were painted over much of her body. It was all for a good cause, though — those calendars raised £42,000 for charity.

A rebellious non-conformist, with passionate opinions, a love of attention, and an acute intellect: mother is, then, rather like son.

Still, though, for all their similarities, Barbara admits life with Nigel is nothing short of tumultuous.

'He wins best news presenter on a Tuesday and then gets de-banked on a Thursday. He lifts our spirits on a Tuesday and then dampens them on a Thursday. It is a rollercoaster being his mother,' she admits.

His public profile has rewarded him with endless threats and vitriol, particularly from the Left after Brexit. Racism is often an accusation thrown at her son, something Barbara admits has been difficult to cope with.

Farage's public profile has rewarded him with endless threats and vitriol, particularly from the Left after Brexit. Mother Barbara admits that it has been difficult to cope with accusations of racism levelled at her son

Farage's public profile has rewarded him with endless threats and vitriol, particularly from the Left after Brexit. Mother Barbara admits that it has been difficult to cope with accusations of racism levelled at her son

Farage with fellow I'm a Celebrity contestant Nick Pollard

Farage with fellow I'm a Celebrity contestant Nick Pollard

Farage endures spiders crawling on his body during the In Too Deep bushtucker trial

Farage endures spiders crawling on his body during the In Too Deep bushtucker trial

Pictured: Nigel Farage aged 7 on a rocking horse in a garden

Pictured: Nigel Farage aged 7 on a rocking horse in a garden

Farage’s biographer, Michael Crick, recounts how at his first school, the boy would defend his mother against those who teased him for having divorced parents

Farage's biographer, Michael Crick, recounts how at his first school, the boy would defend his mother against those who teased him for having divorced parents

The topic has raised its head again in the jungle with his campmate Nella Rose — the 26-year-old-YouTube star of Congolese descent — accusing him of being 'anti-immigrant', claiming that 'you want us all gone'. Asked about Nella Rose, Barbara shoots straight back: 'Well, she wants publicity for herself . . . she wants publicity for her chat

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