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'I'm A Celebrity' star Arlene Phillips admits why she's a 'coward' ahead of her castle stint

Arlene Phillips - I'm A Celebrity
Arlene Phillips will be the oldest I'm A Celebrity contestant when she steps inside the castle. (Image credit: ITV)

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips is taking part in I'm A Celebrity 2021, and has opened up about her initial feelings about entering the castle for the first time.

Speaking to The Mirror, the star outlined her strengths and weaknesses ahead of the launch episode, revealing that she'd be fine with the restrictive diet. She said: "I’ve also done weekly fasts for a malaria charity I work with, so that wouldn’t bother me."

However, Arlene describes herself as a "coward" and has revealed that might cause complications when she takes on challenges. She added: "All I can say is that I am the biggest coward in the world, I’m not courageous!

"Every time I watch the show, I absolutely admire those people who fearlessly enter into it. I’m the type of person who holds back."

She has also previously expressed one of her biggest fears is “in a box underground covered in worms and cockroaches, like they do on I’m A Celebrity", so let's hope she's not trapped underground at any point!

Arlene is best known for being on the judging panel of Strictly Come Dancing, where she worked alongside Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, and Craig Revel Horwood between 2004 and 2008.

Strictly judges Arlene Phillips, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and Craig Revel Horwood

Arlene Phillips on the 'Strictly Come Dancing' judging panel with Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, and Craig Revel Horwood. (Image credit: BBC)

Arlene had a reputation as being the 'Queen of Mean' on Strictly, but has revealed she's not always like this. She added: "I am when it comes to my professional life, I just go and do it, but not with this kind of challenge," she says.

"My family always laugh at me because they all camp and I’m definitely not a camper! My partner went camping when he was a kid and my girls have, and I’m like, 'No, I’m not lying on that and I’m not going to live in a tent!'"

In addition to all this, Arlene is set to be I'm A Celebrity's oldest contestant, at 78 years old, and joked to The Mirror that she's "used to always being the oldest".

I'm A Celebrity 2021 kicks off at 9pm on Sunday, Nov. 21 on ITV. You can also watch episodes on the ITV Hub after they have aired. 

Lucy Buglass

Lucy is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2016 with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.


She is also a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema, setting up her own website Lucy Goes to Hollywood in 2017 to review films in her spare time. Her favourite genres are horror, thriller and anything crime related. When she's not writing about film and TV, you'll likely find her playing video games, reading, and trying her hand at podcasting.