I've been told to keep my temper in check – and I'm terrified of heights, says I'm A Celebrity's Richard Madeley

RICHARD MADELEY wakes up the nation with his chirpy conversation and fiery debates on Good Morning Britain.

But soon he'll be entertaining 11million viewers from a campsite in Wales as he tucks into sheep's penis or a deer's testicle – and that's if he's lucky.

The 65-year-old risks being pushed to breaking point as he's forced to live off rice and beans if the latest batch of stars fail to win their BushTucker Trials.

Revealing he's been warned to keep his angry outbursts in check by his son-in-law and former England rugby star James Haskell, Richard said: "James told me not to lose my temper.

"When he went in to do I'm A Celebrity, the last one in Australia with Kate Garraway, he suffered from hunger a lot more than the others.

"He was losing such a huge amount of body mass. He was brilliant until about half way through and then hunger just got the better of him and he had a flash point with the rest of the camp and shouted at them calling them the 'circus of stupidity' and all that kind of stuff.

"People don't like it when you lose your temper and he was the next one to be voted out.

"He said 'don't let hunger get the better of you and if you're getting ratty, pipe down'."

Asked whether he's prepared for his food intake to drastically decrease to around 700 calories a day while living in Wales' Gwyrch Castle, Richard explained he'd been given "conflicting advice".

"Some people say to cut down so you don't miss it too much," he said.

"You're bound to lose weight when you don't get food from the trials and are on abut 700 calories. That's way under what you need to keep body weight.

"So others say put it on before you go in. You get very conflicting advice.

"I have done neither. I'm not much of a big eater. I'm more of a grazer.

"I don't have big meals and I never clear my plate.

"I don't think I'll be too bothered by hunger."

But Richard says there are two things he's most worried about with his time on the show – and it's not missing his wife Judy Finnigan.

"I think the thing I'll have to cope with is boredom," he said.

"That's why I want people to vote for me to do the trials.

"Without exception everyone has told me the big issue is boredom.

" At home you only see the action bits and fun bits. A lot of the time you're just sitting around, waiting to hear whether there's going to be a trial that day.

"And if you've done all the chores, there's nothing left to do but sit around.

"For people like me who are quite restless can find that quite difficult.

"That's something I'm going to have to find a way of coping with."

Richard has been a much-loved character on daytime television since 1988.

And thanks to some outrageous gaffes has often drawn comparisons to TV’s cheesy comic character Alan Partridge.

"I honestly don't care at all, I think it's quite funny," laughed Richard.

"It's part and parcel of doing the job I do. It's so important in this arena to make sure you don't take yourself seriously.

"If you do you're going to have a very unhappy time. I've always worked in light-weight television, I always have done. Judy and I started on This Morning which nobody is going to pretend is Panorama or World in Action or Dispatches.

" I don't go to warzones risking my life under shell and gunfire. I do popular television.

"It's just meant to be entertaining and good fun and hopefully interesting.

"If this makes you a 'celebrity', which is why I'm going into this thing, that doesn't mean that you're remotely important or meant to be taken seriously.

"So if someone takes something I say or a little pondering and says 'oh that's so Alan Partridge', I say good luck to them.

"I don't mind at all."I genuinely don't care. I don't take myself seriously. I think some of the quotes are made up to be honest with you or taken so ludicrously out of context I think 'oh that's a bit unfair'. But I don't mind, it's all part and parcel of what I do."

Since I'm A Celebrity first aired 21 years ago, ITV bosses have been hounding Richard to be on the show.

He's said no for two decades – until now.

"I keep asking myself [why I've signed up]," laughed Richard.

"Ever since it began, ITV have called to ask if I'll do it and I say 'thanks, but no thanks'.

"I love the show, I don't think we've ever missed a series, but I've always said I'd rather watch it than do it.

"This year I was about to say the same reply but, it's funny, a little lightbulb went off and I thought I should think about it.

"Over the last 21 years it's become the sort of social fabric of the UK.

"It's not just a television show, it's a bit more than that. It's a big event every year.

"A lot of people talk about it. It's no flash in the pan.

"People have a lot of expectations and get quite excited about it."

Admitting his curiosity got the better of him, Richard added: "I just thought with my journalist hat on, I would be quite curious to see what the show is like on the inside rather than just picking up bits of gossip from friends or my son-in-law James.

"I know a lot about it but not about what it's like to go in there with a bunch of strangers and not knowing what each day would bring.

"I thought maybe I would quite enjoy it and have something to write about and talk about."

Revealing how his wife of 35 years – Judy – reacted, Richard said: "Although she didn't do back handsprings of delight, but she said 'I could see why you would get a kick out of it, you should go for it'."

Richard's co-stars David Ginola, Dame Arlene Phillips, Kadeena Cox and Matty Lee were today pictured filming their dramatic entrance scenes in vintage cars and helicopters.

Football icon David didn't look fazed by the challenge ahead as he gave the cameras a thumbs up while sharing a laugh with his new campmates.

Richard says he's met most of the cast, adding: "There's no one on the list I can see who I'm dreading spending time with. It might turn out that way, but I'm not going to go in with any negative expectations."

Richard won't have to worry about being bored when he enters the castle on Sunday – after it's been revealed it's going to be "a lot more dramatic than last year".

"Last year they did a bit more abseiling," said Richard.

"It's going to be a lot more dramatic than that.

"I don't have any particular phobias, but I'm not that comfortable with heights ever since I was a child.

"When I was eight we went up to St Paul's Cathedral  and I just froze. 

"I had to be carried down the stairs. It's not as bad now and I haven't got vertigo but I'm not comfortable with heights.

"Part of me is dreading doing something to do with great heights, but also this is one of the reasons I'm doing it.

"I almost want it to be something with a tremendous height so if i can face up to it and do it successfully, I'll feel so much better about that part of myself. I want to conquer it."

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