Royal ex, opera singer and Paralympian revealed as latest I'm A Celeb contestants as line-up takes shape10/23/2020
THE Sun can today unmask the latest stars who have signed up for this year’s I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here castle.
They include actress, singer and dancer Ruthie Henshall, operatic tenor Russell Watson and Paralympian Hollie Arnold.
West End veteran Ruthie, 53, is a former lover of Prince Edward. She was often smuggled into Buckingham Palace during their relationship.
A TV insider said: “Ruthie is a particularly exciting signing for I’m A Celebrity as viewers will want to see if she divulges any gossip on her relationship with Prince Edward.
“They’ll be hoping she lets slip some juicy information on her posh ex during cosy, intimate chats round the campfire.”
Ruthie has admitted she dated the Prince — now 56 and married to Sophie, Countess of Wessex — in the early 1990s “solidly for a couple of years, but on and off for five”.
Speaking on Desert Island Discs in 2008 she said: “It always made me laugh, I’d sort of say ‘I’m going to my boyfriend’s tonight’. Nobody knew who he was.
“It was very exciting, but I genuinely fell in love with him.”
“I think I had hopes that we could walk on in our relationship but really and truthfully I think I was very aware that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do for a living if I’d have stayed with him.
“And there was nothing, at that stage, that was more important than what I did.”
Ruthie, who has starred in Chicago, Oliver! and Miss Saigon, was one of the stars rumoured to be joining the show.
But that was confirmed yesterday when she joined Hollie, 26, and Russell, 53, a secret photoshoot in Kensal Green, North West London.
The celebs arrived in blacked-out motors to avoid being recognised.
Their faces were also partially hidden by masks — but Russell gave the game away by carrying a suit bag with his name on it.
They were photographed in this year’s official outfits before they go into two weeks of self-isolation in a hotel ahead of entering Gwrych Castle, in Abergele, North Wales.
The show is being filmed there after coronavirus prevented ITV from being able to go to the usual set in Australia.
It starts filming in three weeks and will see one star named King or Queen of the Castle rather than the jungle.
Russell’s appearance in the show comes after he fought off a near-fatal brain tumour in 2007, which required emergency surgery and an extensive rehabilitation programme.
They were joined by BBC news host Victoria Derbyshire, 52, who The Sun reported yesterday had become the fifth official signing for the show, presented by Ant and Dec.
Also at the shoot were former Strictly Come Dancing pro AJ Pritchard, 25, ex-Family Fortunes host Vernon Kay, 46, Coronation Street legend Beverley Callard, 63, and EastEnders actress Jessica Plummer, 28.
A TV insider said: “This year’s collection of celebrity contestants are shaping up to be nothing if not eclectic, with the latest signings.”
The Sun revealed yesterday that producers had been using code names to describe the stars taking part in order to minimise the risk of their identities being discovered.
One of the codenames was Spear which was probably used to describe javelin-thrower Hollie.
The codename Sherlock is believed to have been given to Russell — as the fictitious detective’s sidekick was Dr Watson.
A total of ten celebrities are expected to take part in this year’s I’m A Celebrity, but it remains to be seen how many of them bosses place in the castle from the beginning.
The show is celebrating its 20th series this year. It started in 2002 but had two series in 2004.
The first series saw just eight campmates in the jungle.
Since then half the shows, including last year’s, have included a dozen stars.
But the final number often varies between ten and 13.
The sprawling complex of rooms and facilities now inside the castle will easily accommodate any number of contestants.
As The Sun revealed yesterday, ITV has been working night and day to transform the previously derelict, 200-year-old landmark into a set.
Like the Australian version, it will include the central camp fire congregation area as well as an outside toilet, task areas and bush telegraph.
But because this series is in chilly Britain, the celebrities look set to sleep in a covered, heated space.
The show will start on November 15.
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