Carol Vorderman: I will thank Ant and Dec on return to I’m A Celebrity

The former Countdown star said returning to the reality show made her realise you 'need to live in the now'.

Carol Vorderman: I will thank Ant and Dec upon return to I’m A Celebrity for South Africa series ITV

Carol Vorderman has said she wants to say “a big thank you” to I’m A Celebrity presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly when she competes in the all stars series in South Africa.

The 62-year-old former Countdown star, who was the fifth contestant to be eliminated in 2016 during the reality TV show in Australia, is returning for I’m A Celebrity… South Africa alongside boxing champion Amir Khan and dancer Jordan Banjo.

Vorderman said: “It made me realise that you need to live in the now. I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Ant and Dec when I see them in South Africa and I can’t wait to take part in this new series.

“I loved everything about I’m A Celebrity.”

She also revealed that when she first travelled to South Africa to work at a engineering construction site at the age of 19, she “fell in love” for the first time with her boss.

Vorderman added: “His next job was in Botswana and I flew over. There were giraffes running around and I swam with great white sharks.

“I’ve not been on a safari for 40 years and I can’t wait now to do the (Bushtucker) trials. I will try everything and I will try my absolute best.”

Kiss radio DJ Banjo, who was with Vorderman in the jungle when he went home fourth, said the reason behind the show being so enjoyable is that celebrities are “stripped back”.

I'm A Celebrity all-stars edition taking place in South Africa (ITV)

He added: “Look at Carol Vorderman for example. She is beautiful but to see her drinking a smoothie made from a random animal’s genitals isn’t what you expect to see.”

Banjo, who won Britain’s Got Talent along with his dance group Diversity, said this time he is “going to miss” his wife and two children “like crazy”

He added: “But doing I’m A Celebrity made me realise how super lucky I am to get to spend so much time with my family.

“You have a lot of time to think in the camp and it made me very grateful.”

Former Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan, Olympic athlete Fatima Whitbread, supermodel Janice Dickinson, former royal butler Paul Burrell, former England cricketer Phil Tufnell and the Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder will complete the line-up.

Unlike the original format, the first I’m A Celebrity Legend will not feature a public vote. Instead the celebrities will be competing against one another to be crowned the legend.

Burrell said he wants to be there for “all the dads who are struggling with their sexuality” in the wake of marrying Graham Cooper after being a runner-up on the 2004 series.

He said: “It is going to be different because I am a different person now. I was a married guy with two kids and now 19 years on, I am a married man again but this time around, I have a husband.”

Burrell also said he had the same phobias as his previous stint including “deep water”, which he says fills him with “dread”.

He added: “It would be ridiculous to think I could win this. I am only here to have a good time, to entertain people and to make everyone laugh.”

Since its launch in 2002, McPartlin and Donnelly have been the hosts with the exception of the 2018 series when McPartlin was temporarily replaced by Holly Willoughby.

I’m A Celebrity… South Africa is set to air on STV at 9pm on April 24.

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