The Sun has reported that the onetime landlord of The Queen Vic will go into quarantine for two weeks ahead of the start of I’m a Celebrity in November.
The ever-popular star, 56, has played Alfie Moon on the BBC One soap in three stints between 2002 and 2019 and also appeared in a spin-off series Kat & Alfie: Redwater, co-starring Jessie Wallace.
His appearance on I’m a Celebrity would be a big drawcard for the long-running ITV series.
An insider told The Sun: “ITV have always wanted Shane for the jungle but with panto not happening this year and other work opportunities less likely, he decided this was the time to take the plunge. Going to North Wales is less of a huge commitment than flying halfway across the world, too, so he jumped at the chance.
“He’s already being talked about by production as an early favourite as he’s such a likeable bloke and known to millions of soap fans. ITV are delighted they’ve managed to convince him to take part.”
Richie’s appearance will add to the ever-growing list of EastEnders stars who have appeared on I’m a Celebrity, including three past winners: Charlie Brooks (2012), Joe Swash (2009) and the reigning queen of the jungle Jacqueline Jossa.
The tabloid also reports that recent EastEnders star Jessica Plummer (Chantelle Atkins) will be among the contestants when I’m a Celebrity season 20 debuts.
We have contacted I’m a Celebrity about the story and will update as more information becomes available.