AS the hosts of I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! I would have thought Ant and Dec would be bending over backwards to sign up talent for the show.
But one of the standout stars of the most recent ITV series — Vernon Kay — says the Geordie duo did the exact opposite.
Asked if he had any idea how hard the show would be, he revealed: “I knew because I’m quite good friends with Ant and Dec.
“We play golf on a regular basis. In previous years they’ve said, ‘Oh, it’s horrific, you don’t want to do what they’re doing’.”
I’m told Vernon was all but signed up for the 2019 edition of the show, but dropped out at the last minute, leaving bookers with a slight headache over who would replace him.
But in between that wobble and coming third in 2020, he clearly had a change of heart.
Vernon said: “I phoned Dec and he said, ‘Just go in and enjoy it. You know what’s coming, there’s cockroaches, there’s horrific things, but just go in and enjoy it’.
"I’m quite competitive. I don’t like walking away from a challenge and not feeling like I gave 100 per cent and that’s the attitude I went in there with.”
The Bolton-born star said his main concern was being stuck in the north Wales camp with a cast of hotheads.
Vernon told the Sweat, Snot & Tears podcast he wanted 12 people working together not pitted against each other.
He said: “I didn’t want any arguments or conflict or someone who was in here for ‘Look at me, look at me’, in there for more Instagram followers.
“We had some good debates, we had some really good, open conversations about everything.”
It was a perfect antidote to a dreadful year.
Denise hits out at rink judging
DENISE Van Outen has hit out at the Dancing On Ice judges, insisting they should be harder on contestants with prior experience.
She was forced out last month after hurting her shoulder but said Myleene Klass – who was eliminated first – and herself were judged too harshly, given they had never skated before.
She also claimed others had “advanced training” on the rink.
Denise called it “a million times harder” than Strictly Come Dancing, on which she was runner-up in 2012.
She told me: “I found it quite frustrating because I’d never done it before – and Myleene hadn’t either.
“We got quite low scores and were compared to others in the competition who had a lot of experience.
"That’s a bit difficult. I was like, ‘I can’t do any more, I only learned to skate two months ago’.”
Denise today releases her single On My Own in aid of the Make A Difference Trust.
She added: “A lot of people in the competition have trained a lot and had coaching but I think it’s quite obvious to see from home.
“You can see who’s had advanced training because they’re the ones doing all the tricks and lifts and skating on their own.
“We were two mums just giving it a go. It was like, ‘We’ve never done it before!’”
Gem deletes sex tape
GEMMA Collins revealed yesterday that she is vowing to delete her £1million sex tape after planning to sell it if she was skint.
I would like to start a crowdfund today to raise that money so someone else owns the copyright in case she changes her mind.
We’ve suffered enough in the last 12 months.
Son in no Harry to do Celeb
JAMIE Redknapp may have followed in dad Harry’s footballing footsteps but says he didn’t inherit his desire to appear in I’m A Celeb.
Harry was famously crowned king of the jungle in 2018.
Speaking on The Harry Redknapp Podcast, out now, Jamie said: “My agent said to me about going into the jungle, but how can you follow that?
“Dad absolutely smashed it out of the park.”
Jamie added: “I gotta be honest, I was nervous. I thought: ‘He’s bound to put his foot in it somewhere’.
“But he was brilliant and so natural. Everybody fell in love with him.”
Judi fed Bacon and coke
EVERYONE knows Richard Bacon was axed from Blue Peter in the Nineties over his drug use – except, it seems, comedian Judi Love.
The Loose Women star asked him why he got the boot when they appeared together on new Dave show Unforgivable.
Richard joked: “I got fired for punctuality because if you take a lot of coke, you’re always late for things.
“I got fired for taking drugs. They would shout, ‘That’s a wrap’ and I’d shout, ‘Where?’”
The show invites guests to reveal their most outrageous behaviour – and Jimmy Carr confessed he poured petrol in the shape of a giant willy on his school playing field before setting it alight.
He joked: “It’s a victimless crime. I recommend it to anyone.”
THE mansion that features in the opening episode of Netflix series Schitt’s Creek has been put on sale for almost £11million.
The French chateau-style pad in Toronto, Canada, is the former home of central characters the Rose family – before they lost all their money.
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