Richard Madeley has said that his time on Channel 4 reality programme The Circle was “oppressive” but felt like “a holiday from Brexit”.
The 63-year-old TV presenter joined the series – which sees contestants living isolated from one another in separate apartments, communicating only via closed social media platform The Circle – last week, but was booted off on Tuesday night after completing his mission to antagonise his fellow contestants so much that they blocked him from the game.
Speaking about his time on the show he told Press Association: “I thought, as a journalist, and I write a weekly column, I need to keep up with the news, I’m interested by it. I thought I would find it difficult not knowing what was going on in the world and not talking to my friends and not having a chat with [my wife] Judy about stuff.”
He was wrong.
“Actually I found being cut off strangely liberating, it was a holiday from the real world, it was a holiday from f*****g Brexit, if nothing else.”
But he did struggle with one aspect of the show: being more or less incarcerated for a few days.
“The thing I found very difficult psychologically – and there was no way of getting around this – was the complete loss of freedom of movement,” he said. “When you are incarcerated for a week, you are completely locked in and I found that quite oppressive and quite depressing.
“I had to work quite hard psychologically to tell myself it was just a game and I would be coming out soon and it was all fine.”
Madeley falsely represented himself as a 27-year-old girl called “Judy,” an identity chosen by viewers. Upon his exit, he was given the opportunity to meet one of his fellow contestants and grant them immunity from the next blocking. He opted for 22-year-old Georgina from Nottingham, who has been open about living with Crohn’s disease during her time on the show.
“She’s very funny, she’s a real sassy northern girl and I liked her a lot,” Madeley said.
The Circle is on Channel 4 weeknights at 10pm