EASTENDERS star Shane Richie says taking part in I’m A Celebrity will pay his debts after lockdown left him skint.
The actor, 56, who plays Alfie Moon, says his financial situation got so bad he had to borrow money from friends and family.
He signed up for this year’s show in January, but managed to keep it a secret.
He revealed: “We were going to fit it around my other work as I was going on tour, doing a TV series and panto — but that all got cancelled in March.
“And now I am literally skint. You save money for a rainy day but you don’t expect the rainy day to last six months.
“Thankfully I’ve been able to borrow money from mates, my family and the bank and my wife is now very happy we can finally pay off the credit card!”
Shane, who has three children with second wife Christie Goddard and two with ex-wife Coleen Nolan, said: “We got the call in January and I agreed to do it because it was the 20th one. My kids were old enough to travel to Australia and they wanted to meet Ant and Dec. We were all really excited.”
But travel restrictions arising from the pandemic mean this year’s show will be filmed in Gwrych Castle in Wales.
Now Shane hopes the show will get him to slim down for his next role.
He said: “Six hundred calories a day is like a slice of cake on a Sunday. But I have got to go straight back in the West End to play a drag queen in a dress and so I will look great!”
His campmate, BBC news presenter Victoria Derbyshire, 52, says her battle with breast cancer has taught her to jump at any opportunity that comes her way.
She said: “Because of cancer, I know more than lots of people, life is short.
“I am now saying ‘yes’ to stuff I wouldn’t have done.”
BBC Radio 1 weekend host Jordan North, 30, says the thing he will miss most in camp is a pint of Guinness. He said: “I always have a little Friday Guinness and that is what I missed in lockdown.”
And Coronation Street star Beverley Callard, 63, who played Liz McDonald for 31 years, hinted she will ditch her trademark wonder bra after spending months at home following a hip operation.
“She said: “I think as I have played Liz for so long, people think I am quite glamorous.
“They do see me as Liz and I think they think I will be going in with a wonder bra on and a very short skirt.”
Meanwhile, ex-Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ Pritchard, 26, says the ITV show is better than the BBC, which he quit earlier this year.
AJ, still hoping to take part despite his Covid scare, said: “I was so excited to watch the return of Strictly this autumn but now I am going to be on an even better show.”
Ex-EastEnder Jessica Plummer, 28, says her family branded her “mental” for taking part.
She said: “My family are all like ‘Jess seriously, you are such a scaredy cat and precious about your luxuries, what are you signing up for?”