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Russell Watson has opened up about the huge dip in earnings he’s had this year as a result of COVID-19, and cheekily commented he needs the rumoured £100,000 he’ll pocket for this year’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
The opera star, 53, is one of the potential contestants for ITV’s 20th series of the ratings juggernaut, which will take place at Gwyrch Castle, North Wales and will air next month.
However, if he is one of the show’s lineup he is under obligation to keep this under wraps.
But like every other rumoured celeb, he has been grilled about it and was also was seen attending a photo-call with a number of other celebs last week.
Russell was quizzed on whether or not he’ll be taking part during an appearance on Steph’s Packed Lunch earlier this week.
Questioning the star on the speculation, host Steph McGovern said that earning a six-figure pay packet was ‘alright for a few days in a castle.’
“Yeah it would be lovely,” replied Russell. “Not been paid for doing anything else this year!”
Steph then pressed: “If you were doing it, hypothetically speaking, would you be scared of any of the things?”
Russell explained that his greatest fear stems from his time battling two brain tumours.
“I’m really claustrophobic, but that is to do with my association from when I had the tumours and the association with MRI scans and as soon as I go in anything that is an enclosed space I start to panic – I didn’t use to before!” he revealed.
Russell was found to have a tumour the size of two golf balls in September 2006.
While the growth was benign, Russell had to undergo emergency surgery to have it removed with his eye sight being compromised.
Following the operation, Russell temporarily lost his ability to walk.
The tumour then returned a year later, forcing the singer to go under the knife once again and endure months of radiotherapy treatment afterwards.
Following his recovery, Russell is set to face a new challenge by taking part in the 2020 series of I’m A Celeb.
While the location of I’m A Celebrity has been moved from the Australian outback to Wales’ Gwrych Castle, the celebs taking part will still be expected to endure the notorious Bushtucker Trials.
He was spotted attending a photoshoot in North West London last week along with a number of other famous faces.
The likes of Vernon Kay and Jessica Plummer were seen arriving in blacked-out motors in an attempt to keep their identities hidden from view.
The celebs are now enjoying their last few weeks of freedom before they descend on North Wales, for what could be a two week stint on the reality show – if they make it to the final.
ITV bosses have had numerous headaches preparing for the 2020 series with the travel restrictions forcing them to move the set from Australia.
Further travel chaos was then inflicted when the Welsh government decided to close the borders to tourists earlier this month following an increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases.
This was then followed up the announcement of a 17 day fire break lockdown that started last Friday.
The fire-break, which will last two weeks and include the half-term holiday, is the tightest in Wales since the UK-wide measures taken during the first-wave.
It means that people most work from home where possible, no gatherings with people you do not live with indoors or outdoors and a ban on all non essential travel.
An ITV source has since confirmed that the show will still be going ahead as planned.
“I’m A Celebrity continues to adhere to all relevant guidelines as well as our own strict Covid protocols,” said a representative for the channel.