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I’m a Celebrity 2023: Meet the contestants, from Sam Thompson to Nigel Farage

From soap stars, late arrivals and TV hosts, to one controversial ex-politician

Jacob Stolworthy,Ellie Muir
Saturday 09 December 2023 16:18 GMT
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I'm a Celebrity 2023 trailer

ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity is in full swing, with the final four remaining stars battling it out to be crowned King or Queen of the Jungle.

The new series launched on Sunday (19 November), with this year’s crop including soap actors, TV presenters and a controversial former politician-turned-GB News host.

They are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Lioness Jill Scott, who was crowned the show’s latest winner in December 2022.

Follow along with all updates from I’m a Celebrity at our live-blog here...

Below, we run through every single star who has entered – a left – the Australian jungle for the 21st series of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson on ‘I’m a Celebrity (ITV)

Sam Thompson, 31, is best known for appearing in the E4 constructed reality show Made in Chelsea, following which he gained followers on social media via comedy videos alongside his friend Pete Wicks.

Over the years, he’s made numerous appearances on entertainment shows, including Celebs Go Dating and Celebrity Big Brother, which he came third in, and he currently has his own stint on Hits Radio.

He also hosts the official Love Island podcast, and is the boyfriend of a former contestant on the ITV2 show, Zara McDermott, who was recently eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing.

Thompson described being on I’m a Celebrity as “a dream”, telling ITV: “It was an absolute resounding ‘yes’ when I got approached. In fact, they didn’t even need to ask! I am a huge fan of the show.”

He also predicted he will be undertaking plenty of Bushtucker Trials as his friends and family will vote for him to do so. “I think they will all be surprised when they find out I am doing this programme but they will definitely all vote for me to do a trial as they are all going to want to throw me under the bus every single time,” he said.

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Nigel Farage

(ITV/Shutterstock)

Nigel Farage, 59, is the controversial former leader of UKIP and the Brexit Party, which was later renamed Reform Britain. He currently has his own show on GB News.

Over the years, Farage has courted controversy, with many accusing him of sharing “racist” and “xenophobic” views. His appearance on the show comes one year after disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock finished third and, according to reports, Farage has been offered £1.5m to take part. This would make him the highest-ever paid contestant in I’m a Celebrity history.

Farage acknowledged that “millions hate” him, but told ITV he hopes to dispel public “misconceptions” that he is “mean spirited”. He said: “My crime was to stand against an establishment view and I was for many years the lone voice saying Europe wasn’t where we should be, so I have been a little bit demonised. I am hoping those who hate me might hate me a little bit less afterwards. But it’s a gamble.”

He continued: “And the idea that somehow the things I represent – mean-spirited, small-minded, nasty, the ‘little Englander’ – all those accusations that have been flung at me over the years just aren’t true. If we can dispel some of those misconceptions, then that will be a good thing too.”

However, Farage said he is concerned about his fellow campmates’s “perception”, telling the channel: “They will go in with their preconceived ideas and it might be a little bit frosty – we will just have to see. I can’t pretend to be anyone other than who I am, I never have.”

Farage said he “understands” why Hancock signed up to the show”, stating: “He went in there with his reputation on the floor.” The former politician said said wanted to be on the show so he could “test himself” by entering the jungle, stating: “Maybe I will discover who I really am.”

Josie Gibson

Josie Gibson on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (ITV)

Josie Gibson, 38, shot to fame after winning Big Brother in 2010, following which she became a TV presenter. She is best known as being one of the regular co-hosts of ITV daytime show This Morning.

She said she is “feeling anxious” about her appearance on the show, telling ITV: “I keep thinking, ‘S***, I am actually doing this’. I know I have taken on challenges for This Morning in the past but I don’t know if I’ve taken on too much here. It’s all becoming very real.”

Gibson is “dreading the insects” most but said she can overcome this fear as she wants to “learn new things about” herself.

The mother-of-one also said “it’s going to be tough” as she is “worried about not having any contact with” her son Reggie, but said the support of her This Morning colleagues, including former contestant Alison Hammond, has been helpful.

She said Alison Hammond, who took part in 2010, has also given her plenty of advice.

“She has told me to try my hardest. Everyone at This Morning says I am going to love it. In fact, they are the ones who have really enticed me to do it! They are very supportive and I am going to miss them all.”

Tony Bellew

Tony Bellew (ITV / screengrab)

Bellew, 40, is a former WBC cruiserweight champion from Liverpool. Though he’s had an impressive boxing career, you may know him best when he portrayed the fictional WBC Light Heavyweight Champion boxer Ricky Conlan in the Rocky spin-off film series Creed and Creed III.

Bellow’s character, Conlan, is the first major British character in Rocky/Creed franchise. In the film, he puts his title on the line to go up against Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, in the ring.

He made his professional boxing debut in 2007 and in 2010, became the Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion until 2014.

Bellew announced his retirement in the ring following his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in 2018. He retired with a record of 30 wins from 34 professional bouts. However, since retiring from the ring, Bellew has been dabbling in TV appearances.

In 2020, Bellew took part in the Channel 4 reality TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins and in 2021, he joined the UK commentary team for DAZN, contributing to their boxing coverage. He will join the 2023 cast of I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! as a camp leader as he takes on a coach role during group trials.

Bellew told ITV before entering the jungle that is was actually his wife that convinced him to take part in the reality TV competition.

“This is going to be very hard and I am apprehensive. I had to think long and hard about doing it because it is so out of my comfort zone and it was my missus who talked me around to doing it,” he said.

He added that “most things” frighten him, but he hopes his time in the jungle will allow him to overcome his fears.

Joining Frankie Dettori as a late entry, he says one of the first things he hopes to do is to inject some fun into camp life.

“It’s a big job to jolly everyone up but I will arrive, talk to people and see who I get on with,” Bellew said. “I would like to think I will get on with everyone as I don’t think there is a type of person I haven’t encountered before from the background.”

Jamie Lynn Spears – WALKED

Jamie Lynn Spears (I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, ITV)

Jamie Lynn Spears, 32, is an American actor who starred in Nickelodeon series Zoey 101 – but she’s mostly known as being the sister of singer Britney Spears.

Jamie Lynn has found herself in the headlines in the past decade due to a rivalry with her sister, who spoke out against her after being freed from her conservatorship in 2021.

She released a bestselling memoir, which led to Britney accusing her of “making money” off her name, and it’s because of this that Jamie Lynn believes people have “every misconception you can have” about her. Jamie Lynn told ITV that I’m a Celebrity “will be a nice way for people to see the real me”.

She said: “This is an opportunity to be myself and do something really cool and have some awesome experiences in the meantime.”

While she didn’t namecheck Britney, she said she got the “all-clear” from her family about signing up to the show, revealing she discussed her appearance “over with my family and my kids to make sure they were OK about me being gone for this amount of time”.

She said she would remain thick skinned in the jungle, stating: “I think my best quality is the fact that it takes a lot to hurt my feelings. Unless you are my children or my immediate family, nothing is going to hurt me. I can take a lot of s***and it doesn’t get me down, so I really think it’s a good quality to have in a place where a lot of stuff is thrown at you!”

Grace Dent – WALKED

Grace Dent on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (ITV)

Grace Dent is a broadcaster, author and food critic, who has written restaurant articles for The Guardian and Evening Standard. She has also appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef UK.

Dent, who has previously been very critical of I’m a Celebrity, said her fellow food critics ”will be absolutely amazed that I have agreed to do this”.

However, while being filled “with a real sense of dread”, Dent said she signed onto the show having undergone “a really difficult time over the last four or five years”.

She told ITV: “My dad had dementia, I cared for him and I lost him. Mum had cancer and I lost her. I think that this has made me very strong and resilient. This is going to be a big challenge and now I am older, life is for living and it’s one of the reasons why I said yes.”

Dent said that she is fully prepared to be forced to endure an eating challenge, stating: “I know they are going to give me an eating trial and I am dreading putting even worse things in my mouth than I have in the past in fancy restaurants! I think I will be writing very stiff columns about the jungle food when I come out!

She also said she will be the cook in the camp despite facing obstacles. “What makes food is herbs and spices and I am not going to have any ingredients. I don’t know how you are going to make an alligator’s foot taste delicious if there are no spices. I can already imagine the dinner I am going to have the moment I get out. I am going to go to a really fancy restaurant and have something delicious, wearing a lovely dress.”

Marvin Humes – finished fifth

Marvin Humes on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (ITV)

Marvin Humes, 38, originally found fame as part of boyband JLS on The X Factor in 2008, with the group finishing in second place. After splitting in 2013, the band reformed in 2019 and have just completed a tour.

Over the past decade, Humes has also flexed his presenting muscles on the radio (Capital) and alongside his wife, Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes, on TV; together, the pair have hosted episodes of This Morning as well as music game show The Hit List on BBC One. He also hosted The Voice UK from 2014 to 2016.

Humes told ITV that Rochelle did not believe him when he told her he was appearing on I’m a Celebrity. “When I first told Rochelle, she thought I was doing a prank on her,” he said, adding: “She thought I was nuts and she still can’t believe I’m doing it!

“This is the most daring thing I have ever done and I have never challenged myself this way before. It’s one million per cent harder than performing on stage and I woke up with knots in my stomach this morning thinking about it.”

However, he said he had no choice but to say yes to ITV bosses as the show “has been on my bucket list for years”.

Humes said his JLS bandmates “are not going to believe it” considering the fact that 10 years ago, when they were meant to do a skydive as part of a documentary, he was the only one who “pulled out”.

“The other three did the skydive and so I know they are going to say: ‘Marv how are you going to do this show when you might have to skydive?!’”

He continued: “Most people know me for being a quarter of JLS but there is a lot more to me. I’ve not put myself out there like this before and I know I will want to try and win as many stars as possible for my campmates and my family watching. I would never have said ‘yes’ if I wasn’t a team player.”

Danielle Harold – finished sixth

Danielle Harold on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (ITV)

Actor Danielle Harold, 31, is entering the jungle after having left EastEnders earlier this year. The actor joined the BBC soap as Lola Pearce-Brown in 2011, and her exit storyline, which saw the character die of a brian tumour, was lauded by critics. Harold won Best Serial Drama Performance at the National Television Awards for her efforts.

Harold said she is excited for viewers to see beyond Lola, stating: “It’s definitely going to be nice to be myself and just have fun. The parts I have been playing have involved heavy stuff and to just be me is exciting.”

Addressing her success at the NTAs, Harold said: “It’s been a crazy, crazy year and so why not top it off with the craziest thing ever by doing this?! It’s definitely a shock to the system and I am both excited and nervous. This is so much tougher than anything or any role I have ever done before as it is all so new.”

Harold said she might be “a little bit ditzy” but she is “definitely not the dumb blonde of, ‘Oh look she won’t want to get involved or do that’. In fact, that is the opposite to me.”

Nick Pickard – finished seventh

Nick Pickard on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (ITV)

Soap royalty Nick Pickard, 48, has played Tony Hutchinson on Channel 4 series Hollyoaks since it first began in 1995. He is the soap’s longest-serving cast member and in 2017, was honoured with the British Soap Award for Outstanding Achievement.

He’s appeared on a small number of TV shows over the year, including Celebrity MasterChef and Celebrity Pointless, but I’m a Celebrity will be the actor’s highest-profile appointment away from Hollyoaks.

He described I’m a Celebrity as “a once in a lifetime opportunity”, assuring his fans: “I am not quitting Hollyoaks to take part. My bosses have been really supportive of me doing it.”

Pickard said his main feeling is one of excitement, but admitted: “I am obviously not looking forward to eating kangaroo balls but at the same time, I am looking forward to the trials – that’s the fun part of doing this show. This is so out of my comfort zone and it’s the best show you can do.”

He said another reason he wanted to sign up to the series is because his daughter loves it.

“We’ve loved this show for years and I know she has always wanted me to do it,” he told ITV. “It’s been so hard keeping it a secret and whilst she will be fuming I didn’t tell her, I know she will also be happy. I hope I can make her proud.

“My girlfriend is excited too, it’s the longest time we will have been apart and that will be tough.”

Fred Sirieix – finished eighth

Fred Sirieix (James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

Fred Sirieix, 51, is known by many for his appearances on Channel 4 series First Dates and BBC Two’s Million Pound Menu. The French maître d’hôtel, who was the general manager of London Hilton’s Michelin-starred restaurant until 2019, is also one of the stars of Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip , alongside chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo, on ITV.

In preparation for his time in the jungle, Sireix said he agreed to appear on the show even though he “got scared” as he doesn’t “like to be limited by fear”. He told ITV: “It’s a challenge to be away from my friends, family, comfort, only drinking water, no coffee, no wine, no mustard on my steak and – in fact – no steak!

“I am seeing this as a wellness retreat. It’s an opportunity to get closer to myself inside my head and to see life through a different lens and in a place I feel uncomfortable.”

Sirieix, who said he is “scared of everything”, said: “It’s all going to be hard, but it’s good to do things that take you out of your comfort zone. I have been training harder than I have trained in the last three or four years. I go to the gym, I go to boxing, I train like a machine – that’s my way to cope with doing I’m a Celebrity. This isn’t a 100m race. You are going in for the long haul.”

Speaking about his co-stars, including Ramsay and D’Acampo, Sirieix added: “They are going to laugh and rip me to shreds. I think they will vote for me to do the trials!”

Nella Rose – finished ninth

Nella Rose (James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

Nella Rose, 26, is a TV presenter and YouTube, who has more than 750,000 subscribers.

She previously hosted the UK version of Catfish as well as the Brit Awards red carpet, and this year she began presenting digital series Tapped Out for Channel 4.

Rose, who said she has “been watching I’m a Celebrity ever since I was a child”, is “terrified” by the prospect of entering the jungle as she is “scared of everything”.

“I am terrified but I’m trying to think of the bigger picture,” she told ITV. “In this life, you have to face up to your fears. Yes I might scream the whole time but I am going to think about feeding human beings and I am going to try my best.”

Predicting what her role in the camp will be, Rose said she will “keep morale and humour high”, and will try to avoid arguments as she “doesn’t like confrontation”.

Late arrival: Frankie Dettori – finished 10th

Frankie Dettori on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (ITV)

Dettori, a legendary Italian jockey whose career spans 35 years, is swapping the racecourse for the jungle.

He has been British flat racing Champion Jockey three times but his proudest achievement was riding all seven winners on British Festival of Racing Day at Ascot Racecourse on 28 September 1996.

Dettori predicts his sporting colleagues will definitely vote for him to take part in trials because they will love to see him “eating embarrassing things”.

“This is going to be tougher than a horse race, it is going to be a challenge, but I am looking forward to it all. I am going straight from riding to the jungle. But you don’t get to do this every day so why not?” he added.

The Italian jockey admitted that he will get emotional during his stint in the camp.

“I am a crier, I’m Italian,” he said. “I am an emotional person and I think one of the hardest things for me will be missing travelling. I have spent 30 years away from my family and so I am used to that but I do love travelling. It will be difficult.”

Dettori is no stranger to appearing on prime-time TV, since he appeared as a team captain on A Question of Sport from 2002 to 2004. Last year, the jockey announced his decision to retire from the saddle at the end of 2023 after riding more than 3,300 winners.

Dettori, like Bellew, has joined the 2023 cast of I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! as a camp leader as he takes on a coach role during group trials.

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs Sunday to Friday at 9pm and Saturday at 9.30pm on ITV.

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