Richard Madeley has left reality show The Circle confessing he missed wife Judy.
The 63-year-old TV presenter had assumed the identity of a 27-year-old woman called Judy on the Channel 4 show which sees players living in isolation in a block of flats monitored 24 hours by cameras, but communicating with each other only through social media.
Madelely shocked fellow players by revealing his true identity before his departure, especially Woody Cook - the 18-year-old son of TV presenter Zoe Ball and DJ Norman Cook - who said: “I can't believe I was flirting with Richard Madeley!”
Madeley told The Sun the hardest part of being on the show for five days was not being able to talk to his wife of 33 years, 71-year-old Judy Finnigan.
He said: “First and foremost that was the most difficult thing, not being able to talk to my missus, which I do every day. I missed her hugely.
“I knew I’d have to surrender my laptop, my mobile phone, my watch. I thought I’d be quite frustrated by not knowing what was going on in the outside world. But it was lovely, it was great.
“It was so nice not to have to wake up to a f***ing headline about Brexit. I had a lovely, lovely Brexit holiday.”
Before he left Madeley met 21-year-old contestant Georgina Aurelia, who burst into tears as he praised her for being open about having Crohn's disease and living with an ileostomy bag.
He told her: “Everything I said to you was from the heart. That was factually me talking. Our conversation was totally real and it wasn't pretend at all. I wasn't telling fibs. Everything I said to you about your bag and everything and your bravery and putting it on camera, that was genuine.
“It was the only genuine thing I've done all week. I just thought it was the bravest thing I've ever seen.”
A public vote decided that Madeley had to pose as ‘Judy’ during his time in the house.
Cook had called Judy/Richard a “babe” and “pretty fit.” He then went on to compliment Judy's profile picture and declared: “Venice isn't the only thing beautiful in that photo.”
On his departure Madeley told the remaining players in a video message: “I think you’re all great… even though some of you must be catfishing.”
The Circle contestants, competing to win a cash prize, can choose to be themselves or assume false identities. They then rate each other and the highest rated pair become ‘Influencers’ with the power to ‘Block’ rival players from the show.
Woody Cook is being himself, 26-year-old James Doran is pretending to be a single mother with a baby called Sammie and 43-year-old Katie Roe Carr is pretending to be her 25-year-old son Jay.