Russell Watson: I’m A Celebrity trial reminded tenor of tumour treatment ‘I was petrified’

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Russell Watson, 54, was the sixth celebrity to leave the jungle after being voted out of I’m A Celebrity in a double eviction with EastEnders actress Jessica Plummer, 28. During his time in Gwrych Castle, the classical singer took part in a few trials, one of which almost saw him quit because it brought back harrowing memories of his brain tumour treatment.

I was petrified as well because I am quite claustrophobic and it reminded me a little bit of the MRI scanner

Russell Watson

Russell was diagnosed with a brain tumour on his pituitary gland back in 2006, and had to undergo five-hour emergency surgery.

He suffered incredibly painful headaches, which he had previously described as “like a knife being pressed into the bridge of my nose”.

The tumour started to impact his vision and it was later revealed that it was around the size of two golf balls.

After receiving treatment, he started to develop similar symptoms two-years later, telling Sky News previously that he was “lucky to survive” after the second tumour haemorrhaged while he was asleep.

So when he was selected to take on the Rancid Rotisserie trial on the ITV show, the British tenor became “panicky” as the contraption reminded him of the MRI scanner used during his treatment.

The trial saw him strapped to the rotating machine and then repeatedly dunked into cold gunge as he attempted to correctly answer trivia questions.

After his elimination on Tuesday night, he admitted that despite his claustrophobia he managed to steel himself and complete the challenge.

“I would have liked to have done a couple more trials but the public are voting and that was that,” he said.

“But the one I did do was enough to last me a lifetime.”

He added: “I am sure they had it in a freezer overnight because it was freezing cold!

“I was petrified as well because I am quite claustrophobic and it reminded me a little bit of the MRI scanner that I have been in so I was a bit panicky before.

“When they were strapping me in I was lying there and they started putting these straps around, and I am lying there thinking: ‘I actually don’t want to do this.’

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“But I got to the point where I said: ‘No, we are in here now so might as well go for it.”‘

And go for it he did!

But this isn’t the first time Russell was asked to compete in the notoriously challenging reality TV show.

The singer said he had turned down the chance to appear on the program a whopping six times beforehand, because he feared he would not be able to keep up his complex medication regime.

He said: “I have been asked to do it six times and I have always said no.

“I thought, ‘I don’t think it is something I would be able to do certainly with my daily regime of drugs and steroids that I have to take after the tumour’, because I don’t produce hormones naturally.

“One of the tablets which is Hydrocortisone – basically if I didn’t take that for 48 hours, I would be dead in a coma.

“They are the type of things I was thinking. But when I got in there slowly started thinking: ‘I can do this and I can get on with my life.'”

Down the the final five, I’m A Celebrity continues tonight at 9pm on ITV.

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