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Richard Madeley nearly turned down I'm A Celebrity 2021

The This Morning star almost didn't appear on I'm A Celebrity this year - so what changed his mind?

I'm A Celebrity 2021 contestant Richard Madeley
Published: Thursday, 18th November 2021 at 9:00 pm

TV presenter and journalist Richard Madeley will make his I'm A Celebrity 2021 debut this Sunday when the new series airs.

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Alongside the rest of the I'm A Celebrity 2021 line-up - which includes Naughty Boy, Snoochie Shy, Arlene Phillips and Frankie Bridge - Madeley will take on the infamous Bushtucker Trials at Gwrych Castle, where I'm A Celebrity is filmed.

However, the 65-year-old almost didn't appear on the ITV series this year.

Speaking to press including RadioTimes.com, Richard revealed he almost turned down appearing on I'm A Celebrity as he usually prefers to watch the show from home.

He said: "ITV call me and they say will I do it, and I always say 'Thanks, but no thanks' because I love watching it. It's a great show and I don't think I've ever missed a series. But, I've always said to them, 'I prefer to watch it than do it. Thanks very much.' And it goes away again."

This year, however, Richard thought it would be interesting to see what goes on from inside the castle.

He continued: "This year they phone up and I was about to use the same reply I've always given them and it's funny because a little lightbulb went on and I thought, hang on, let's think about this, because what's happened in the last 21 years since this thing started is that it's become part of the social fabric of the UK, isn't it?"

Speaking of how the show has transformed over the years, he added: "It's not just a television show, but it's a bit more and it's become a big event every year, as far as television goes. A lot of people talk about it, people have a lot of expectations for it, and they get quite excited about it. And the media gets quite worked up about it. So I kind of put my journalist hat on - and that's fundamentally what I am. That's how I started, as a reporter.

"I'm really quite curious to see what this show's like from the inside, rather than watching it from the outside and picking up this gauntlet from friends who've done it. My son-in-law, James Haskell, did it a few years ago, so I know quite a lot about the show, but not really what it's like to actually do it and to be in there with a bunch of strangers and not knowing what each day is going to bring. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe I'd quite enjoy it and it will be something to write about and talk about when I ultimately come out!"

While Richard is looking forward to taking on the castle, we can confirm that viewers won't be seeing his wife Judy Finnigan on the show anytime soon.

"I went and saw Judy, and I said they asked me to do it again and I hadn't said no," he added. "She didn't exactly do a kind of backhand springs of delight. But she did say, 'Well, you know what, I can see your point. I wouldn't dream of doing it, but I can see why you probably would get quite a kick out of it!"

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I’m a Celebrity returns to ITV on 21st November. Visit our Entertainment hub for more news and features, or find something to watch with our TV guide

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