Russell Watson: I turned down 'I'm A Celebrity' five times before finally saying yes

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·3 min read

Watch: Two late entries for this year’s I’m A Celebrity confirmed

Russell Watson has revealed that he had been asked to take part in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! six times before he finally agreed.

The opera singer, along with musical theatre actor Ruthie Henshall, are set to make a surprise arrival in the camp on Wednesday night’s show as they join the 10 other celebrity contestants on the ITV reality show, which this year is being filmed at Gwrych Castle in north Wales.

Watson, 53, told Metro.co.uk: “I’ve been asked six times. I got asked at the beginning of this year, before COVID, and I don’t know why, but this year it felt like a different challenge.

Russell Watson says he has turned down I'm A Celebrity five times. (ITV)
Russell Watson says he has previously turned down I'm A Celebrity five times. (ITV)

“I fancied doing something different. I’m known for my singing and being on stage and my classical repertoire, but I don’t think anybody has really got to know my personality really well.”

The new celebrity contestants’ arrival was supposed to be a surprise for the current camp mates. But after being told they would all be taking part in a trial called Stage Fright, Shane Richie seemed to know what the producers had planned, telling his fellow campmates: “Stage Fright – that’s R and R.”

Read more: I'm A Celebrity's Vernon Kay grabs eating trial by the balls

West End star Henshall said she thought it would be “a real hoot” to take part in the show, which sees celebrities doing things like being locked in confined spaces with snakes and made to eat sheep’s penis to earn meals.

Ruthie Henshall is excited to be taking part in the show in Wales. (ITV)
Ruthie Henshall is excited to be taking part in the show in Wales. (ITV)

And the 53-year-old actor is not bothered that the show is not being filmed in the exotic Australian jungle this year.

Read more: Shane Richie regales I’m A Celeb camp with tales of Tom Cruise friendship

She said: “I think it’s brilliant it’s in Wales. It’s brilliant that this British show, which is so loved by British audiences, has come home.

Vernon Kay, Beverley Callard, Sir Mo Farah CBE, Jessica Plummer, Shane Richie, Victoria Derbyshire, AJ Pritchard, Giovanna Fletcher, Hollie Arnold MBE and Jordan North in a promotional still for I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV)
Vernon Kay, Beverley Callard, Sir Mo Farah CBE, Jessica Plummer, Shane Richie, Victoria Derbyshire, AJ Pritchard, Giovanna Fletcher, Hollie Arnold MBE and Jordan North in a promotional still for I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV)

“How lovely, that a bunch of people in the UK are getting paid, all the people that it takes to put on this show. I think it’s just fantastic that we’re in the beautiful Welsh countryside.”

Henshall has starred in numerous hit musicals, including Cats, Chicago and Billy Elliot The Musical.

Tuesday night’s show saw hosts Ant and Dec inform the celebrities – who include Olympic athlete Sir Mo Farah, Corrie star Beverley Callard, TV presenter Vernon Kay and radio presenter Jordan North – that they would all be taking part in the next task.

In fact it will be Watson and Henshall taking on the duty of winning meals for the camp.

Watch: Find out which celebs are taking part I'm A Celeb 2020