Im A Celebs Richard Madeley insists hes fit as a fiddle and says hes gutted over early exit on ITV show

Richard Madeley returned to I’m A Celebrity on Friday's pre-recorded show to discuss his early exit from the ITV competition with hosts Ant and Dec.

It was announced on Thursday that the Good Morning Britain presenter, 65, had been forced to pull out of the show after he was taken to hospital in the morning.

Richard had fallen ill while staying on-set in Gwrych Castle at the ITV show’s North Wales location and due to breaking the Covid bubble with his visit to hospital, he had to leave the camp.

Speaking to hosts Ant and Dec on Friday's show, which was pre-recorded for the first time in the show's history due to the developing Storm Arwen, Richard insisted he is "fit as a fiddle".

The presenter pretended to remove a thermometer as he quipped: "I’ll just remove the thermometer… yes, still normal."

Richard continued: "I feel as fit as a fiddle and I am fit as a fiddle. And you know if it wasn’t for Covid I’d be back there sort of eating rice and beans.

"I had to leave… it’s a Covid situation. It’s still biting our bums isn’t it? What happened was, I had just a funny little turn quite sort of late in the morning.

"ITV are so good with duty of care. They were adamant. They said 'No, we have to make sure that you’re OK.' I said, 'But I am OK.' They said, ‘We have to make sure.’

"So I went to the local hospital – I was only in there for about an hour and a half – I was given really thorough checks and I was given a completely clean bill of health, I’m absolutely fine. No matter what you might have read, I’m absolutely fine."

He continued: "But I did hang on after I was discharged for about 20 minutes because I went to the canteen, seriously, and had a bacon butty.

"That was my first port of call for a bacon butty. And a huge cup of tea, it was amazing. I ate hospital food, exactly. I’m absolutely fine. As I say, if it wasn’t for Covid, I’d still be in the game. I’m gutted. I’m gutted, I really am."

Speaking about his experience, Richard said of whether it was what he expected: "Yes and no. The structure of the show I was really familiar with.

"But one of the reasons I wanted to do it, and I said yes this year as opposed to no all the years before, I was developing a real curiosity about what it’s like actually psychologically.

"I know what the games are like, I’ve done a few when I’ve been out on the ITV2 show in Australia. But I wanted to see what it was actually like, almost journalistically, in a nice way, from the inside. And that was a revelation.

"I learned that the psychological pressures on you… I mean the pressures you put us under when we went into The Clink, into the prison, I thought when you said you’re going to spend your first night in The Clink, I thought yeah that’s a funny gimmick for the cameras and for the audience…

"But no, we were properly in prison, we were locked in, huge gates and it was claustrophobic. That was the intention of the game, you had to make us feel as if we really were in prison and it worked.

"So I realised that the psychological pressure of that, and then the other Trials and the challenges that we were all going through and I was going through – I know it’s only television, but when you’re in it it’s real, it really is."

Talking about the toughest bit of the show, he added: "Night time, sleeping, because we had very thin mattresses, much thinner than in the top camp and not very warm sleeping bags.

"Really cheap, frankly, sleeping bags. And covered in straw, on the floor, very thin, it was freezing in there. We were always cold. We had to get all of our clothes out of our bag and put them over us to keep us warm at night."

To which Dec commented on how he didn't seem to be fazed much, to which Richard said: "In my experience, if you’re playing for meals for some starving colleagues, campmates rather, who haven’t had much more than beans and rice and there’s no salt in the beans and rice and there’s no pepper, no spices, nothing, it’s tasteless…

"I don’t have a phobia about cockroaches and spiders, and snacks and rats and things, I don’t want to eat lunch with them but they don’t bother me too much, but I don’t like them. When you’re going for stars for meals for starving mates, that’s all you think about and you don’t really notice it."

Talking about how disappointed he was over not being able to do another Trial, Richard said: "I meant it, I would long to have gone back and done it again."

Ending his interview, Richard said: "I’ll miss them all. Thanks for the opportunity. Thanks for asking me, I enjoyed it."

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues to air at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub every night.

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