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Freddie forced to quit jungle due to ill health

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    Posted: 16 Nov 2011 at 10:43

I'm A Celebrity 2011: Freddie Starr leaves the jungle as his worried young girlfriend waits to welcome him home

By Sara Nathan

Last updated at 7:46 AM on 16th November 2011

At the age of 68 and just a year after nearly dying from a heart attack, Freddie Starr was perhaps naïve to sign up for gruelling reality show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

And last night the frail 1970s entertainer was made to leave the ITV hit – just three days after it launched.

Starr was forced out of the jungle camp in Australia after suffering an allergic reaction to one of the revolting selection of insects and animal parts he was forced to eat during a Bushtucker trial, including a camel’s toe.


Homeward bound: Freddie Starr is driven back from hospital as it is revealed that he has been forced to leave I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here over health fears

He was taken to hospital after falling breathless following the task and was released yesterday after spending the night at the Cardiac Care unit at Tweed Hospital in New South Wales.

The TV veteran, who emerged from hospital pale and looking weak, told of his dismay at leaving the show – and backed former Olympic Javelin champion Fatima Whitbread to win.

Starr - who underwent a quadruple bypass operation last year – had nearly been banned from joining the show after making the 10,000 mile trip Down Under and initially being refused insurance.


Happy to be going home, Freddie? Despite saying he was gutted about leaving, Starr looked jubilant


Cracking jokes: Despite his health scare, Freddie proves you can't keep a good comedian down for long

He said last night: ‘I was sick not to finish the show.  I wanted to be there until the very end, but there's no use crying over spilt milk. The decision has been made and I have to live with that. 

‘ITV's got a duty of care and it’s only right that the doctors advise them to keep me away from the jungle. It may not happen again, but we'll never know. 

‘I was sorry to hear the news when the doctors said that I was allergic to something, and that it was best to play it safe and it’s best for me not to go back in.


Worried: Starr's fiancée Sophie Lee was snapped outside the couple's Warwickshire home today and is said to be debating whether or not to fly to Australia to get him

‘I'll miss everyone in the jungle and whoever wins the competition, I wish them all the luck in the world.

‘I don't know who will win because the voting hasn't started yet. Once two or three start to go, you get an idea – but I'd love Fatima to win.’

A show insider said producers could not pinpoint what had caused the allergy – but said it was ‘doubtful’ the notorious eating trials would be cancelled as all food is tested beforehand by production staff.

An ITV spokesman said: ‘Producers of I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! have decided that Freddie Starr won’t return to live in the jungle.  Freddie has been a terrific contestant. 


Waiting for his return: Freddie and Sophie's home in Studley

‘His Bushtucker trial is one of the stand out moments in the history of the series and we wish him all the very best.’

Meanwhile, his fiancee was yesterday ‘sick with worry’ after her comedy star lover was forced off the show.

Pretty Sophie Lee, 34, who is believed to be a singer, was preparing to fly out to Australia last night but refused to talk at the couple’s mansion in Studley, Warwickshire.

However, a neighbour said: ‘She is understandably sick with worry about Freddie.


In good spirits: Freddie looked jolly and upbeat as he left the hospital yesterday

'He is not in the prime of his life but he was looking forward to going to the jungle. Sophie and Freddie are very much in love. I understand that she was thinking about possibly flying out to see him but nothing has been decided yet.'

And according to reports today, she has another reason to be worried for his health as she is believed to be pregnant with his fifth child.

A source told the Sun: 'Sophie's pregnant - they must be thrilled. She moved in with Freddie about 18 months ago. She's very pretty and he must be delighted they're having a family together.'

More than nine million viewers saw Starr swallow everything put in front of him in the ‘Greasy Spoon’ trial on Monday’s show – including the egg, a pig’s anus, cockroach milkshake, camel toe, turkey testicle and mice tails.

He easily beat reality star Mark Wright, who balked at the milkshake and testicle, before falling ill on his way back to camp.

Father-of-six Starr admitted he had feared he would not make it to see his youngest daughter Ebony, who is just five, grow up after suffering a major heart attack in April 2010.


Unwell: Freddie was filmed being given emergency medical treatment after he suffered an allergic reaction following his Bushtucker Trial

He said ‘When I had my heart attack, I was very worried I might not be around to see my daughter grow up.

‘As soon as I got out of hospital, I asked my ex-wife to bring her down to see me and she said no, so I drove to her house. I got out of the car on sticks and my little daughter ran up to me yelling, 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy'.

‘Me and my daughter have got this bond. I love my daughter and she loves her dad. She’s the sweetest thing in the world.

‘When you come through something like that, you don't worry about little incidental things any more. It's made me not care about death because I nearly died.’


What's on the menu then? Freddie makes I'm A Celebrity hosts Ant and Dec laugh as he and Mark Wright begin their challenge

Starr is engaged to singer Sophie, who at 34 is half his age.

The couple have been together for 18 months and plan to marry when his ex-wife Donna Smith grants him a divorce.

He said he had hoped to recover his fitness and lose three stone in the jungle, adding  ‘I’m A Celebrity certainly helps you lose weight. When I was ill, I was in intensive care for three months and I lost about four and a half stone.

‘When you come out, you sit around. You’ve got to because you're so weak. You can't move, but you get gradually better and better.

‘You progress to walking sticks from your wheelchair – and things start to look up. Sophie can't believe that last year I was nearly dying and now I'm in the jungle. She says she's so proud of me and how I've improved.’


It started so well: Freddie threw himself into the Greasy Spoon challenge with gusto


You'll regret that later: Not long after he finished the challenge, Freddie complained of feeling unwell

He confessed his time in hospital was ‘just horrible’, adding: ‘The dreams I used to have were awful. They used to oxygenate my blood. They take your blood out of your body, out of one arm and into the next one.

‘Some people struggle with the microlites in your brain. It’s called pump head and it makes you act unreasonable. I was probably voted the worst patient ever. I was pulling the tubes out of my stomach, so they had to put mittens on me.’

Simon Cowell’s publicity hungry ex-girlfriend Sinitta and 1980s radio DJ Pat Sharp will now join the jungle show. Sinitta said: ‘I haven’t told Simon I am doing this because he would have talked me out of it. He knows me well. He would have said ‘Darling you are not going to be able to do this.’


Jungle chat: Freddie was popular for his short time in the jungle and spent time with Jessica-Jane Clement as he explained the hamster eating incident

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2061987/Im-A-Celebrity-2011-Freddie-Starr-leaves-jungle-worried-young-girlfriend-waits-welcome-home.html#ixzz1drdfjMqh
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