The X Factor: Celebrity has promised 15 celebrities not known for their vocal talents – and they’ve certainly delivered in the shape of Martin Bashir.


The world-renowned journalist, known for his hard-hitting interviews with public figures from Michael Jackson to Princess Diana, admitted that he was so taken aback by the offer to do the show that he initially thought it was a scam.

“I thought it was some tabloid newspaper setting me up!” he told and other journalists. “After I realised that the person contacting me, it wasn’t a scam and I wasn’t being set up, I didn’t feel it was an opportunity I could walk away from.”

The 56-year-old also credited his late brother Tommy, who suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy until his death in 1991, as his inspiration.

Martin Bashir broadcasts live from London
Mark Allan/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“As we get older, we become more closed,” he said. “We have fewer friendships, relationships, we try fewer things. This has been such a fantastic thing for me as it’s forced me at almost the age of 57 to open up and try something I’ve never ever done before.

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“People like The Islanders are confident and infectious, but for grizzled old people like me I’m cynical and [I think] everyone’s going to slaughter me, it’s a disaster, I’m going to forget the words – we’ve got all this negativity, but then you think, give it a shot, what have you got to lose?”

Fans may also be surprised to learn that Bashir is a huge reggae fan – a little known secret, despite releasing reggae album Bass Lion in 2010.

“There is a reggae song that I’d love to sing, and was made very famous in the early 1970s,” he teased. “But no decision has been made yet, as we don’t know whether we’ll go through to the live shows.”


The X Factor: Celebrity launches Saturday at 8.35pm on ITV