Five’s Ritchie Neville has leapt from reserve to fully-fledged competitor on Channel 4’s The Jump after Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) pulled out due to injury. And the singer says he’s got to do well, otherwise going for a drink with his mates will be torture.
“There’s family watching, there’s friends watching, I don’t want to go out for a pint after the show and have my mates going, ‘Ooo you never went off the jump’. I’d never live that down. “You’ve just got to do it, you know? I’m not looking like a wuss on TV!”” jokes Ritchie.
But Ritchie’s certainly got his work cut out for him. Not only has he had less training than the other celebs due to commitments with 5ive, this is the first time he’s ever skied.
“The first time I skied was the 4th of January. The first time I did the jump I’m not sure I’ve ever been so scared in my life. So that’ll make good TV anyway,” Ritchie laughs.
Nevertheless, Ritchie’s not afraid to get stuck in.
“I don’t think you’re pushing it hard enough if you haven’t wiped out a good few times. I came crashing out of the slalom course. Caught the turn wrong and came flying out. Everyone was like, ‘Wow, that was such an epic fail’. So yeah, there’s been lots of tumbles.
“I fell at least three or four times on the same bend in speed skating yesterday. I swear someone buttered that bend!” Ritchie adds.
And for the first-time skier injury does play on his mind - especially as he’s hitting speeds of more than 100km speed skiing:
“If you think about what 100km feels like in a car, you wouldn’t throw yourself out of that car. And certainly, when I ride my motorbike, I wouldn’t want to come off of it. So it does sort of play on my mind then.”
Although, the pop star is still keen for the extra sleek gear they’ve been given.
Ritchie explains, “Our suits are definitely tight, definitely bright. I’m not really bothered. Apparently it’s more aerodynamic. So if it gives me more speed, bring it on!”
So, is he in it to win it? You bet he is.
“I would love very much to win it of course. I think anyone in it would love to win it.”
In fact, this could pave the way for more reality show appearances from Ritchie:
“Look, I love a challenge. I’m definitely open to learning new skills and challenging myself. I don’t want to eat a kangaroo b****ck. That’s not something that really appeals to me… with Strictly you are actually learning a complete new skill. So pros and cons. I’m not such a fan of the sequins, but I guess it’s ballroom dancing so you’ve got to embrace it!”
The Jump runs for ten nights from Sunday 26 January on Channel 4 and is hosted by Davina McCall and Alex Brooker