‘They kicked me out you know… I don’t know why’: Noel Edmonds reveals his ‘abject disappointment’ at being voted out of the jungle after 11 days
With tears standing in his eyes, and the briefest of hugs for Holly Willoughby, Noel Edmonds walked the bridge of losers, and became the first person to leave the jungle on 2018’s I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!
And it has to be said that no one is more surprised by his ejection than Noel himself. ‘They kicked me out!’ he yelps, incredulously.
‘They kicked me out, you know. I got thrown out. I don’t know why, I went straight from no yellow card, to red card, to bang. I’ve gone!’
Noel Edmonds, seen above in the jungle, became the first person to leave the jungle on 2018’s I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! But some conspiracy theorists took to Twitter to claim it was a fix
Whoever sanctioned his £600,000 — the biggest in the ITV programme’s history — must also be reeling in shock. After just 11 days in the jungle (Noel came in five days after everyone else for maximum dramatic effect) the Deal Or No Deal host’s pay worked out at £54,545 a day, £2,272 a hour — or £37 a minute.
No doubt the show makers had bargained that Noel, with his kooky views on everything from orbs, cosmic ordering and electro-magnetism, plus his TV legend status after 50 years in showbusiness, would be a sound investment.
Not so. The painful truth — both for Noel and those counting the cash — was that viewers found his giant ego rather less fascinating on-screen than expected . . . and booted him out.
Noel Edmonds poses after being the first campmate evicted from ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ Speaking to the Mail after 24 hours back in the real world, with his hair and beard neatly coiffed and trimmed, there is just a hint of bitterness over his exit
It was enough of a surprise for social media to buzz all weekend with conspiracy theorists yelling ‘fix’.
Some even said his exit must have been agreed in advance with Noel deliberately fluffing his immunity challenge — in which he had to neck a snail milkshake, but cheated by pouring most of it down his shirt — so he could be paid the maximum amount for the minimum of time on the show.
An ITV spokesman rejected all such speculation as ‘rubbish’. Noel’s third wife Liz tried to explain his unpopularity as being due to the age of his fanbase. ‘Think about it,’ she said. ‘His audience, all his old fans from Swap Shop (the BBC programme he fronted between 1976 and 1982) probably don’t vote.’
She added that Noel leaving was ‘like Brexit’ because after the vote, everyone was ‘moaning’ about it.
Noel Edmonds is evicted and is joined by wife Liz Davies. Noel’s third wife Liz tried to explain his unpopularity as being due to the age of his fanbase
However, when leaving the camp, Noel — ever the professional — was nothing but positive and diplomatic. He said he was ‘humbled and proud’ to have been part of the show and told his campmates: ‘It’s been great, it’s been really terrific. I have had a fabulous time and this is already in my top ten Noel experiences.’
But speaking to the Mail after 24 hours back in the real world, with his hair and beard neatly coiffed and trimmed, there is just a hint of bitterness over his exit.
Indeed, he speaks of his ‘abject disappointment’ and ‘shock’ over being the least popular of the 11 campmates: ‘It was weird moment when I learned I was leaving and I really was surprised.
‘It was like: ‘Oh, OK then.’ Then all hell let loose with what was going on in the UK with Twitter and whatever, and that changed the shock to abject disappointment.
‘I would have lasted the distance, I had got a lot of stuff planned. I was just into my stride. But I’ve come through that. The nation has spoken.’
Naturally, Noel is keen to point out that everyone else was as surprised as he was to discover that the public didn’t love him. ‘It’s fair to say that everyone was gobsmacked on the show,’ he says. ‘I’ve just been chatting to Dec and Holly and both said that was unbelievable. When Dec heard it in the car he said he couldn’t believe it.’
Someone who might not be too sad to see the back of him, however, is presenter Holly Willoughby. There had been a distinctly chippy atmosphere between the two of them, with Noel responding to her apparently sincere encouragements with withering sarcasm, repeatedly.
Their bad blood dates back to 2016, when Noel was invited onto This Morning, fronted by Holly and Phillip Schofield, to discuss comments he made on Twitter about ‘negative energy’ causing cancer. Noel felt that he wasn’t given fair treatment on the show.
Noel speaks of his ‘abject disappointment’ and ‘shock’ over being the least popular of the 11 campmates: ‘It was weird moment when I learned I was leaving and I really was surprised. ‘It was like: ‘Oh, OK then’
When she asked during an eating trial: ‘What did that feel like in your mouth?’ He snapped back: ‘What do you t hink!’
He also pulled her up when she used the word ‘we’ to discuss him competing in a bug-filled box, suspended on wires. ‘I don’t think you’re up here with us,’ he chided.
As he left, Noel gave Holly’s co-host Declan Donnelly a warm hug — and she had a very quick variant.
Yet he insists there were a lot of positives to be found from his brief time in the Jungle.
‘What an experience!’ he gushes. ‘There are elements which you cannot produce for the jury to appreciate — for example the mind-numbing boredom punctuated by moments of absolute terror, and you don’t know when it’s coming.
‘I staved off the boredom with meditation sometimes, and obviously I had conversations, but I was anticipating there would be moments of serenity and being alone. But you always have to be in pairs so there was no communing with nature. I was first up each day and I went up to what is now called ‘Noel’s nest’ for reflection each morning, and thinking and missing that lady of mine, and it’s been quite something.
‘I felt on a couple of occasions that Liz was definitely trying her best to send me bursts of energy.
Noel was invited onto This Morning, fronted by Holly and Phillip Schofield, to discuss comments he made on Twitter about ‘negative energy’ causing cancer
‘What was completely spooky, was that she said to everybody that I was coming out first. She said she woke up and thought, ‘OK, I’m getting Noel back’ and no one believed her.’
Noel’s 11 days in the jungle were very painful, he says. The couple are, he says, utterly smitten. He married former make-up artist Liz Davies in 2009 — she was 37 at the time, he was 60.
He hailed her as his ‘soulmate’ and she is easily as much of a fan of outre beliefs as he is.
It was her son, Harrison, who told Noel that he ‘had’ to give I’m A Celebrity a go. They live together in a house in Devon and in the South of France. (He was previously married to Helen Soby, and they have four grown-up daughters).
‘We have this very energetic relationship, very compatible relationship,’ he says. ‘Physically we were apart and it’s the first time we have been unable to communicate. If we are apart we would probably chat a dozen times a day. Here, they just take your phone away and that’s the end of it.
Edmonds sits with James McVey in the jungle. When leaving the camp, Noel was nothing but positive and diplomatic, and said he was ‘humbled and proud’ to have been part of the show
‘Not hearing her voice was really very difficult so we are back together again — so I’m complete!’
In camp, Noel formed some friendships, notably that early partnership with football manager Harry Redknapp, who’s hotly tipped as a favourite, despite being two years older than Edmonds.
Noel said: ‘We had such a laugh. It was great. He said he had never laughed so much as when we were stuck in a funny room that was fly infested — because they left the lights on and when it was dark every fly in Australia came in. I wish him well. I miss him.
‘We were plotting that if the two of us got to the end we would split it and establish a kingdom that would follow the empire.’
He adds: ‘Harry was finding it quite tiring. He hadn’t seen the show. That was the extraordinary thing, I was taking the p*** out of him saying: ‘Harry, didn’t you check it out at all?’
‘He said: ‘Nah, nah, I thought I was going around the back and I was gonna have a bacon butty or a cheese roll.’
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‘I think judging from what I’ve heard it went down well with the viewers for a relationship between two old geezers from Essex.
‘And yes, there have been a couple of ideas put forward for a ‘Noel and Harry’ show, but my boy’s still in there, so we’ll have to wait for him to come out.’
Noel’s ‘promise’ to retire from TV if he won the show has been forgotten. ‘I’m sorry. The public broke the deal,’ he says.
Instead he is in the thick of litigation against Lloyds bank, who he blames for the collapse of his business empire which took him to the brink of a nervous breakdown, cost him his marriage and led to a suicide attempt at his lowest ebb.
Noel says he hopes to set up a charity for victims of ‘banking crime’ in the New Year.
Noel Edmonds is pictured drinking a Bushtucker trial ‘smoothie’ during the show’s ‘immunity games’. His pay worked out at £54,545 a day, £2,272 a hour — or £37 a minute
In the shorter term, he and Liz are going to have a holiday in Australia and he will keep tabs on the show.
He thinks Harry will probably win, although believes singer Fleur East is another possible, and says that he had ‘beautiful’ ‘spiritual’ conversations with EastEnders actress Rita Simons, who he found to be on his wavelength.
However Nick Knowles, the 56-year-old TV presenter and housewives’ favourite, was another story.
In an interview on the spin-off show Extra Camp he made a sly dig, saying: ‘Nick’s a natural leader and he just wanted to make sure we were led. I do have a problem sometimes with rules and regulations.
‘There was no needle, maybe just a little prick. I do think there was a moment where Nick looked at me like ‘die’!’
Noel expanded this weekend: ‘Would I rattle Nick? Nick rattles himself. No, Nick’s great. He’s the one who has legitimate qualifications. He knows about jungle life. Full marks to him. I couldn’t be bothered with all that stuff.
‘We were so grateful that he was cooking and showing us how you could get the last drop out of your washing.’
There was one thing that must have absolutely thrilled Noel, however, and that was the public reaction to his buff, 69-year-old torso. Not that he’s letting on, of course.
In camp, Noel formed some friendships, notably that early partnership with football manager Harry Redknapp, both pictured together in a challenge. Redknapp is hotly tipped as a favourite
‘I was slightly surprised how quick my inhibitions went. If six months ago you’d said I would be happy to appear on national TV to have a shower in my boxers I would have said: ‘No way, I’m not going there.’
He has — like all campmates on their meagre diet of rice and beans — lost weight.
He said: ‘I’ve lost four kilos. I’ve lost my bum. It doesn’t fit into my shorts and jeans any more and I’ve demanded that I get my bum back. I had a glass of Chardonnay yesterday and I’m dying for a glass of champagne today.’
As far as his regime goes — which involves lying on an electromagnetic pad, exercising in the dark and so on — he was oddly cagey.
‘I’m not going to tell anybody. I might be onto an earner! At an appropriate time I’d be very happy to share what I do and I do have a very simple, highly affordable and achievable regime for healthy wellness.
‘I’m so grateful, truly grateful, for the compliments. And next month I’m 70 and I’m feeling pretty damn good about it.’
Additional reporting: Richard Shears in Australia
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