Watch: Shane Richie opens up on joining EastEnders
The 56-year-old actor – best known for playing Alfie Moon in the BBC soap – told his I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! campmates why it really does pay to be nice to people on the way up.
Richie said: “Jump back 25 years to the 80s and I’m doing warm-up on The Late Late Breakfast Show.
“There’s a runner on the floor, running around making cups of tea and someone shouts at her, she gets teary.
“I went over and had a go, I nearly lost my job. I sat down with her and said, ‘Let me make you a cup of tea.’
“On my very first day on EastEnders, they said, ‘Did you want to meet the director?’
“I was so nervous, shaking, all the cast were there and I come around the corner and the director goes, ‘Here you go, Shane, here’s a cup of tea.’”
Broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire exclaimed: “Oh my God, it’s her! That makes me want to cry, that’s a brilliant story.”
The actor had a successful TV presenting career with Lucky Numbers and starred in West End musicals in the 90s. He landed the part of Alfie Moon in EastEnders in 2002. He left the soap in 2005, returning to Albert Square for another six years in 2010 and again in 2018.
But Richie revealed he was actually turned down after his first audition for the soap.
He said: “By the time I’d got to the car my manager had called and said, ‘They didn’t think you were right.’
“Then my manager gets a call saying they’d like you to come back and do some improv, they have this idea of this family they’re working on.”
Richie said he was called back several times while EastEnders producers were working on creating the Slater family, but he still didn’t know if he had a part.
He said: “So we go on holiday, I’m bankrupt because of this film I’d invested in, I’ve got nothing, I’m selling the house, selling everything I’ve got, no work... I’d literally lost everything.
“The phone goes and it’s my manager and he goes, EastEnders want you. I started getting teary. And he told me about this character called Alfie Moon and ‘in your first episode you’re going to come in and take over the Queen Vic’ – I started crying.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’m A Celebrity is being shot at Gwrych Castle in north Wales.
Richie has already told his fellow campmates about how he once went go-karting with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
And as he and the other male campmates shared a victory feast for winning Friday’s live trial he also let slip he had met US President Donald Trump.
This year contestants include Olympic athlete Sir Mo Farah, 37, ex-Corrie star Beverley Callard, TV presenter Vernon Kay, 46, and Radio 1 DJ Jordan North, 30.
Also in the camp this year are opera star Russell Watson, musical theatre actor Ruthie Henshall, vlogger Giovanna Fletcher, Strictly dancer AJ Pritchard, Paralympic javelin thrower Hollie Arnold and EastEnders actor Jessica Plummer.
North was reluctant to learn he has been voted by viewers to be the first camp leader and he chose Derbyshire to become his deputy.
Their first duty was to allocate chores to the rest of the celebrities.
They chose Fletcher and Farah as chefs, Pritchard and Arnold to do maintenance, Watson and Plummer for cleaning duties, Callard and Kay to do laundry and Henshall and Richie for washing up.
Watch: I’m A Celebrity contestants receive luxuries from home