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Ashley Banjo: I nearly killed Willie Thorne

Ashley Banjo (Ian West/PA)
Ashley Banjo (Ian West/PA)

Ashley Banjo has said he nearly killed snooker veteran Willie Thorne as he helped him prepare to strip off on TV to raise awareness of cancer.

The Diversity star is leading a group of celebrities taking part in ITV’s The All New Monty: Who Bares Wins, following on from last year’s The Real Full Monty.

Thorne is set to be joined by Love Island winner Jack Fincham and Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Marquez.

Willie Thorne (Simon Cooper/PA)
Willie Thorne will take to the stage to bare all for cancer awareness (Simon Cooper/PA)

Appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show, Banjo said: “I nearly killed (Willie Thorne) at one point.

“I took everybody (to the gym) to prepare and I wanted to make this routine bigger and better and more physical and I said to the boys, ‘Forward roll, go, go, go!’, Army style.

“I said to Willie, ‘Go Willie!’, and he was so up for it and he threw himself forward directly on to his forehead.”

Clearing up any concerns about the former snooker player, Banjo added: “He was fine.

“Can I just say though, he embodies the energy of the show though, he has gone through cancer, he is in remission now and he is so much older than the rest of the group but never once did he back out, try not to do anything, make excuses, he was right there with everybody.

“He really for me embodies what we were doing and why we were doing it. It is a load of fun and we do get naked but at the end of the day, it is for a great cause.”

The Dancing On Ice judge was accompanied by Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, who is taking part in the ITV show for his third year.

Meanwhile, actor Michael Palin said a North Korean tour guide was “mystified” after watching a clip of the Monty Python legend in the fish-slapping dance sketch.

The presenter, who travelled to North Korea for his television travel series, told Ross: “They didn’t know who I was or what I did.

Michael Palin (Matt Crossick/PA)
Michael Palin said it was ‘very scary’ to film in North Korea (Matt Crossick/PA)

“We did at one point, the director had brought a little Python clip with him to show my lovely guide what I did in real life and they’d chosen the fish-slapping dance.

“She was really mystified at first. The great thing was she really laughed and she fell about laughing.”

Banjo, Armstrong and Palin were joined on the sofa by musician Mark Ronson, comedian Katherine Ryan and actor Michael Sheen.

The Jonathan Ross Show airs on ITV on Saturday at 9.15pm.

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