Teddy Sheringham has revealed the lengths taken to keep his identity on The Masked Singer a secret, although he said the confidentiality around the show meant it was not as fun as it could have been.
The former footballer performed as a tree in the new ITV programme, which sees celebrities sing in elaborate disguises while a panel of judges attempt to guess who they are.
Sheringham, 53, shocked the judges when he was unmasked in Saturday night’s episode after losing a sing-off with Octopus, whose real identity remains a mystery.
Explaining how ITV kept his identity under wraps, he said: “We got picked up from my house in a car and I had to put on a balaclava, a crash helmet and a big hooded top that said ‘Don’t speak to me’.
“As we turned up at the place we filmed at, I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone.
“There were probably 60 people on-site and only two or three knew who the contestants were.
“I was only allowed to nod, and then I would be taken to my dressing room, come out of the dressing room once I’d got my stuff on, go and do my bit, then go back and then I was off again.
“It wasn’t as much fun as it could have been because there was no banter or laughing going on about missing our notes or whatever, because you weren’t allowed to find out who was who.
“The most fun thing about it was being unveiled on Saturday’s show and finally coming out and having a laugh about it.”
Sheringham was the fourth star to be unmasked in the series after The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, former home secretary Alan Johnson and ex-EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United player said he has “no idea” who the remaining celebrity contestants are.
“It could be one of my best friends and I wouldn’t know, that’s how top secret it was, it was very, very well done,” he said.
However, he said he thinks Louise Redknapp could be one of the contestants.
“Whether or not that’s her, I don’t know,” he said.
“I know she’s releasing an album at the moment, would that be good for her publicity-wise? I don’t know.”
Sheringham managed to stump judges Davina McCall, Ken Jeong, Davina McCall and Jonathan Ross, as none of them guessed his identity.
Instead they suggested fellow football stars including David Seaman, Peter Shilton and Peter Crouch.
Sheringham, who admitted to getting “a lot of ridiculing” from his friends over his decision to take part in the show, said he was not surprised at the lack of clarity from the judges.
He said: “I thought there were some good guesses, they were in the right ball park but I don’t think they are the most sporty panel.
“Even Jonathan Ross doesn’t really know his footballer does he, so they were just naming the ones that they knew.”
The Masked Singer continues on Saturday at 7pm on ITV.