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Arlene Phillips, 78, joins I’m A Celebrity but not all her family are happy about it

Strictly: Arlene Phillips discusses watching the show

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At 78, Dame Arlene Phillips will be I’m A Celebrity’s oldest ever contestant, but that has not stopped the former Strictly Come Dancing judge from signing up to the gruelling ITV show. While Arlene hopes entering the camp will give viewers the opportunity to get to know her true self, she’s admitted some of her family members have their reservations about her going on the programme. 

The choreographer has joked that her former Strictly colleague Craig Revel Horwood will think she’s crazing to be going on I’m A Celebrity. 

Arlene admitted her theatre peers will also be gobsmacked when they find out she is taking part.

She laughed: “Craig will say ‘Darling, are you mad?!’

“I still can’t believe I am doing it either but I love and admire everybody who has done the show, I admire their bravery and I have spoken to so many people who have done it.”

Arlene isn’t the only person who cannot believe she is entering the jungle as she explained her family is split on how they feel about her going on the show.

“I have never experienced anything like this before, but you only live once and it will be something so different,” she added.

“My family is very split though. It’s a 50/50 split in fact! Some say, ‘Totally don’t do it’ whilst others say, ‘Oh it will be fine’.

“Aside from my family, I will really miss my notepad and pencil. I’ve always got ideas spinning around!”

The contestants will be faced with taking part in the dreaded Bushtucker Trials to earn stars to feed their campmates. 

Over the years the trials have seen celebrities lying in coffins full of snakes, eating live insects and being covered by creepy crawlies. 

Arlene has admitted she’s not sure how she’ll cope with the challenges, but she’s insisted rationing won’t be a problem. 

“People going on I’m A Celebrity are making a choice to eat rice and beans,” she added. 

“And if they are lucky, they will eat a little bit more. Food is the least of my worries. 

“I am not afraid of being bored either as I do like to sit and think. 

“It is the trials and challenges that I am most worried about.”

Awarded a Damehood earlier this year, Arlene laughed when asked if she would like a new title ‘Queen of the Castle’.

“Winning isn’t something that I see in my sights,” she stressed. 

“The most deserving person in there should win. For me, it’s about gaining something from it and just getting through it all!”

Joining Arlene in the upcoming series is former BBC Breakfast host Louise Minchin, Olympic gold medalist Matty Lee, presenter Richard Madeley and Frankie Bridge.

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! lands on ITV on Sunday at 9pm. 

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