Football pundit and former England player Ian Wright has told producers of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! they should break the bank to sign one-time Manchester United captain Roy Keane for the show.
Ian, who was fifth eliminated when I'm a Celebrity was last held in the Australian jungle in 2019, said if 2018 winner Harry Redknapp could draw 14 millions viewers a night, pugnacious, volatile Roy would command 25 million!
It’s an outrageous claim, but Ian told The Sun: “You would never see an audience like it. That man trends when he doesn’t even say anything. He was trending on Twitter last weekend because he wasn’t on TV.
“Give him five million quid! I watch Roy whatever he’s on. He’s that guy. He is the ultimate guest. You’d have to get the right people on there with him. You need players who are renowned for not working! Get him in there.”
Ian and Roy are comically combative pundits during football coverage, spectacularly falling out when England lost to Croatia in the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup, with Roy telling him he had got carried away, “planning the final, where the parades were”.
Ian shot back: ”Why shouldn’t we get excited about it? It’s something to get excited about.”
The dispute finished with broadcasting watchdog Ofcom considering Ian's comments after he mimicked Roy’s accent. They eventually dismissed the complaints.
The banter between the duo may be just that, because they have been known to barbecue together.
Ian added that Roy “loves to be normal and real, and I love to be in that circle with him. He is someone who is just a normal bloke. He’s so funny and vibrant when he’s off-camera.”
It is doubtful Roy will take a spot in Gwrych Castle in north Wales when I'm a Celebrity premieres in November, but one former football player rumoured to be taking part is John Barnes.
Ian quipped: “Barnesy needs to do it. He needs to be hungry. He looks like he needs to be hungry for a bit!”
Meanwhile, Ian makes his debut as a game show presenter on ITV tonight, hosting new show Moneyball. But he won't be giving up his Match of the Day job.
“The football means the world to me. I have to do it. But I know I have the capability to do this. And they’ve come up with the perfect format for my personality.
“It’s not me saying, ‘What else you got?’ I’ll do football and I’ll do this. That’s it. I can’t be too far from football. It’s my life.”
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.