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Richard Madeley has confirmed he has left I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! because he “broke the Covid ‘bubble’” after he was taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday.
The TV presenter, 65, was seen by an on-site medical team before being admitted to hospital as a precaution, following an episode in which he slid head first into a sewer of rotten fruit and vegetables.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Madeley said he was “absolutely fine”.
“I started to feel briefly unwell in the small hours of the morning and was taken to hospital as a precaution,” he said. “By leaving the camp, I had consequently broken the Covid ‘bubble’ and as such I’ve had to leave the castle and all the wonderful celebs that remain in the camp.
“Obviously I’m gutted to be leaving so soon but the safety of all the campmates is the number one priority. I’m incredibly excited to watch their journey continue … even more so at the prospect of being somewhere a little warmer than Gwrych Castle.”
In Wednesday night’s challenge, called Castle Kitchen Nightmares, Madeley hunted for 10 hidden stars in a room “full of castle critters” as rotten food including fish guts and offal was dumped on him from above.
After searching in dark chambers for 10 minutes, the klaxon sounded with Madeley only managing to get four out of 10 stars, securing a meal of squirrel for the camp.
Fans of the show complained on Twitter that the trial was too difficult. “The trial Richard Madeley just did was impossible,” one said. “No way was anybody ever going to get all those stars. They don’t want them to eat too well this year.”
Another said: “Ridiculous and impossible trial for Richard Madeley. You knew it wasn’t happening with the time given, even after skipping sections. GET REAL.”
An ITV spokesperson said: “Richard was unwell in the early hours and was immediately seen by our on-site medical team. He’s since been taken to hospital as a precaution, the health and safety of our campmates is our priority.”
Madeley, best known for hosting This Morning alongside his wife, Judy Finnigan, was one of 12 contestants taking part in this year’s series at Gwrych Castle in north Wales.
He thanked “everyone who supported me on my brief but completely unforgettable adventure”, adding: “I’ve made some great friends and honestly had the time of my life.”
ITV said no stand-ins would be entering the castle. Madeley, who has recorded a message to campmates, will speak with Ant and Dec on Friday night’s show.
A spokesperson for the Welsh ambulance service said earlier on Thursday: “We were called at 5.43am this morning, Thursday 25 November 2021, to reports of a medical emergency at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, Conwy.
“We sent a paramedic in a rapid-response car and an emergency ambulance to the scene, and one patient was taken to hospital.”
The ITV series is returning to Wales for a second year because of coronavirus travel restrictions that have prevented filming at its usual Australian jungle location.
Madeley told Metro before he went into the castle: “I really hope I do get voted for the trials. The thing about this programme is you mustn’t go into it if you take yourself remotely seriously.”
The presenter had been asked to do I’m A Celebrity on numerous occasions – but said he “realised the time had come to experience it”.