I’m A Celebrity’s Arlene Phillips saw ghost of her mum ‘leaning across her bed’

She faced some dark days in I’m A Celebrity’s haunted castle – where the trials and bathroom facilities scared her more than ghosts and ghouls.

But now Dame Arlene Phillips is bringing light into people’s lives by teaching delivery drivers a routine to Morecambe and Wise’s Bring Me Sunshine to help them cheer up the lonely job.

The former Strictly judge had a brush with the paranormal in last year’s I’m A Celeb as she heard the voices of soldiers and children in spooky Gwrych Castle.

And campmate Richard Madeley entertained the group with ghost stories.

But Arlene, 78, says she reckons what people believe are ghosts are actually images they manifest themselves when they need them.

And she cites one experience of seeing her mother which was “so real her spirit could have been there”.

She says: “Ghosts are a need for someone to have something in their life at that moment.

"I was gutted when Richard couldn’t come back in because of the Covid rules – he had the most amazing ghost stories – however I don’t believe in ghosts.

"I believe you can experience what people think is a ghost but it is a half dream.

"It’s chilling to hear a story but it’s a manifestation. There was one half dream I had many years ago.

"My mother, who died when I was 15, was with me, leaning across the bed. It was so real within the moment her spirit could have been there."

Arlene’s toughest – and proudest – I’m A Celeb moment came in one of the dreaded Castle Trials. She says: “My stand-out moment was standing in a glass box with the snakes.

"I’m claustrophobic and terrified of snakes so really proud of that but the washing and bathing facilities were not pleasant.

"I made some good friends and we’ve got a cheery WhatsApp group."

For her latest project, Arlene has teamed up with food delivery service Wiltshire Farm Foods to teach drivers a routine to Morecambe and Wise’s famous cheery number.

She says: “Everyone is aware how lonely people have been with the pandemic.

“Teaching the moves to the drivers was one of the best days of my life.

"Instead of dropping the food and rushing off, Wiltshire Farm Foods have made it so drivers have time to spend chatting and deliver a song and dance.”

When Arlene was replaced by the younger Alesha Dixon on Strictly in 2008, the showbiz world was in uproar and it sparked an ageism row.

But the choreographer held her head high and is more in demand than ever – on February 20 she joins the Dancing On Ice panel as a guest judge.

Arlene adds: “They’ve found the perfect home for me on musical theatre week.

"I am delight-ed. I love judging and miss Strictly – it was a massive part of my life. It was sad when they let me go but in life you move on."

Arlene is also interested in getting involved with the next series of The Masked Dancer.

She adds: “I can recognise most people through their dance moves and have that knowledge tucked away.”

She has also choreographed a new production of Grease starring Peter Andre and is directing The Cher Show, which fellow Dancing On Ice judge and Strictly pro Oti Mabuse is choreographing.

Arlene says: “Peter is one of the nicest humans you could come across. I adore him. He’s such a hard worker.

"And I’ve always adored Oti so I’m sure we’ll be besties."

A musical of her own action-packed life story could be on the cards one day too.

Arlene says: “I have a great story to tell, a life of ups and downs and changes on a dime.”

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