Ryan Thomas on Celeb Island: 'I was really struggling, but I thought I’m not gonna give up!'

Celebrity Island Ryan Thomas
(Image credit: Channel 4 Television)

The former Coronation Street actor has admitted that appearing on the new series of the Channel 4 reality show was no walk in the park...

Former Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas has admitted that he found doing The Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls more of a mental challenge than a physical one.

As the reality show returns to Channel 4 for a new series this week, Ryan – best known for playing Coronation Street's Jason Grimshaw – will be one of 10 fearless celebrities who’ll have to try and survive for four weeks on a remote island in Panama with basic tools and medical supplies – and certainly no luxuries!

Ryan, 33, admitted: “There was a really heavy storm on the island; we were cold and wet, it was relentless. I got stung by wasps, and sand-flies would hover over my face and stop me sleeping at night.”

He went on: “Your energy levels get so low, you’re bored, you’re tired, you’re hungry and you’re itching from bugs. Keeping the fire burning gave me something to do and mentally helped me get through it. I was really struggling, but I thought I’m not gonna give up!”

Todd Eileen Grimshaw Corrie

Ryan decided to quit Corrie last year after playing Jason Grimshaw for 16 years


Ryan had very clear reasons for wanting to take part in the series in the first place. “I thought it was a chance for people to see me as ‘me’, not Jason,” says Ryan. “It was also an opportunity to really test myself. I love walking, hiking and camping – but I don’t think I can compare this to ANY camping trip I’ve ever been on!”


Celebrity Island Series 2 cast


Fortunately, Ryan had his fellow islanders – including comedian Mark Watson, Olympian and TV presenter Sharron Davies and former TOWIE star Lucy Mecklenburgh – on hand to get him through the tough times.

"It was a good bunch of people on the island this year and we all got on well," he said. "It was still hard, but when you're around good people it made it easier than it could have been."

The Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls starts on Tuesday, August 29 at 9pm on Channel 4.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!