Russell Watson has revealed he almost backed out of the Rancid Rotisserie trial on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! because the contraption reminded him of the MRI scanner used during his brain tumour treatment.
The classical music star, who has survived two pituitary tumours, said he became “panicky” upon being strapped to the rotating machine, which repeatedly dunked him into cold gunge as he attempted to correctly answer trivia questions.
But the 54-year-old, who was eliminated from the ITV show on Tuesday, said that despite his claustrophobia he managed to steel himself and complete the challenge.
Speaking after his departure, he said: “I would have liked to have done a couple more trials but the public are voting and that was that. 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.’
“But I got to the point where I said: ‘No, we are in here now so might as well go for it.’”
In 2005, Watson began having headaches and was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma the size of two golf balls, and underwent a five-hour operation to have it removed.
Two years later he suddenly became incapacitated while recording his album Outside In and doctors discovered a regrowth, which was also successfully removed.
The singer, who departed the show in a double eviction alongside soap star Jessica Plummer, said he had turned down the chance to appear on the programme six times 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.’”
Watson said he had lost more than 9kg in the two weeks he spent in Gwrych Castle due to their restricted diet, which he estimated at about 600 or 700 calories a day.
“If your belly is empty and you are cold it feel even colder,” he said.
“It was freezing in there, like white fingers and that malarkey. I couldn’t believe it.
“I got weighed, I’m not telling you how much I weigh obviously because that’s private, but when I went in there I was a certain weight.
“I came out and I had lost nearly 20 pounds in two weeks … I put my pants on this morning because I thought I might smarten myself up and wear a nice suit today.
“I put my pants on and they literally fell down to the floor. I won’t be wearing them today then. I had to put two belts on just to hold my jeans up.”
This year’s I’m A Celebrity is taking place at Gwrych Castle in North Wales due to the pandemic.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues on ITV.