Former Crystal Palace, Arsenal and England football player, Ian Wright MBE, reveals he sought the advice of his friend and current King Of The Jungle, Harry Redknapp, after deliberating over whether to finally accept an offer to appear on this year’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
Ian - who is now one of TV’s best-known football pundits - says he has rejected countless approaches in the past because he felt there was too much jeopardy involved. But after being impressed by Harry’s efforts in the Jungle last year and seeing the camaraderie formed around the campfire, he decided he’d love to take part in what he describes as a ‘brilliant family entertainment show’.
“When I was first approached this year, we thought about it for ages as it is not something where you think ‘ah I will do that’,” reveals Ian, who is also
affectionately referred to as ‘Wrighty’.
“I have been asked to do it every year and every time, I have always thought I am definitely not doing that because there was more and more jeopardy
“But I think the last series was one of the best I have seen in respect of camaraderie.”
“Harry and I play golf together and we spoke about it. He had a really great time, it was a fantastic thing for him to do and he is still talking about it to this
“Now it does appeal to me at this particular time. I like the vibe, it is a really cool show and I am really intrigued.”
And the 56-year-old reckons that now he has signed on the dotted line, the ‘football fraternity’, especially fans of Tottenham Hotspur who are his former club’s biggest rivals, will be voting in their droves for him to take part in the trials.
“The football fraternity will be watching,” admits Ian.
“Not only do they want to see me do well but for the ones who may not be so keen on me will want to see me go through stuff that they would never
“And it’s the Spurs fans' opportunity to get me back! I’ve caused them so much heartache (in the past)!”
Readily admitting he will find the lack of technology and small food rations tough, Ian says he is going to miss being able to catch up on the
latest football games terribly.
“I am definitely going to miss football. I don’t think I have ever been in a situation where I have been that isolated from the game in my life.”
“I am also going to miss my family. I speak to my missus every day and it’s going to be a test.”
A very easy-going person, Ian says he will help around the camp as much as possible and try to make sure there are no major fallouts.
“I am not going in to be an entertainer or cook,” he stresses.
“But I will help where I can. I think things will happen naturally and you will deal with it.”
“Snakes, rats and creepy crawlies are also not the kind of thing I would have in my bedroom! Some of those things will make me squirm but I will deal with them when I am in there. And to be honest, I am trying not to think about it too much because if you do, you could tie yourself in knots!”
Swamped with work, Ian stresses going on the programme is not to boost his profile.
“I am in a position where everything is going really well,” he
“I’ve got some great things with football, England, the Premier League. I don’t need people to like me! Whenever I come out, I am working again.”
As for whether he thinks he can win or not he admits it would be the icing on the cake if he was crowned the winner.
Says Ian: “The prestige of becoming ‘King of the Jungle’ is great kudos. You
have seen how popular Harry has become but you can’t go in trying to win. People watch the show and they see different qualities in everyone that
they like or may not like…”
Phobias: Some of those things [snakes, rats and creepy crawlies] will make me
squirm but I will deal with them when I am in there!
Biggest misconception you want to
dispel in the Jungle: I am going in as me and I am not going in to try to be anything different.
Role in the camp: Help out with all the activities.
Miss most: Aside from my family, football.
Dream camper: Someone who has knowledge and wisdom.
Missing any special occasion: Football punditry work commitments.
Relationship status: Married.
I'm A Celebrity begins, Sunday 17 November 2019, on ITV/STV/UTV at 21:00.