Ian Wright has revealed that it was reigning King of the Jungle Harry Redknapp who convinced him to finally accept the offer to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
The England footballer-turned-pundit, 56, claimed he had repeatedly rejected ITV’s advances because there was too much “jeopardy” involved in taking part in the show.
However, he said he was spurred on by Redknapp’s success in last year’s series, and by the “camaraderie” between the contestants.
Former player and manager Redknapp, 72, struck up an unlikely friendship with Emily Atack, 29, during last year’s series of the ITV show, winning a legion of fans and boosting his public profile.
Wright said: “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’.
“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 involved.
“But I think the last series was one of the best I have seen in respect of camaraderie.”
He added: “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 day.
“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.”
The football star, affectionately known as Wrighty, also joked that the “football fraternity” would be watching closely.
He added that fans of Arsenal rivals Tottenham Hotspur would use the show’s gruesome eating challenges to get their own back on him.
He said: “The football fraternity will be watching.
“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 dream of.
“And it’s the Spurs fans’ opportunity to get me back. I’ve caused them so much heartache.”
The new series of I’m A Celebrity will see the return of host Ant McPartlin alongside his long-time presenting partner Declan Donnelly.
McPartlin was replaced by Holly Willoughby in the jungle-based series last year, as he took a step back from TV commitments.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! starts on Sunday November 17 at 9pm on ITV.