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I’m A Celebrity: Olivia Attwood withdraws on medical grounds

Olivia Attwood has had to withdraw from this year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! after just one day, on medical grounds.

The Love Island star appeared in Sunday’s first episode, skydiving out of a helicopter on arrival, alongside fellow contestant, DJ Chris Moyles.

A show spokesman said Attwood had left as a precaution before medics advised it was not safe for her to return.

He said she had been “brilliant” and would be “very much missed”.

Attwood’s exit means she has recorded the joint shortest stay in the show’s 20-year history, alongside ex-EastEnders and Gimme Gimme Gimme actress Elaine Lordan.

I'm a Celebrity graphic

The long-running ITV reality show enjoyed a bump in ratings for its new opening episode on Sunday, compared with 2021’s opener in Wales.

An average audience of 9.1m tuned in for the programme, which returned to Australia for the first time in two years after the pandemic.

Last year’s debut, set in a Welsh castle for the second year running, was seen by an average of 8.03m.

Singer Boy George and former England sports stars Mike Tindall and Jill Scott were among the other celebrities landing in the jungle Down Under on Sunday – with MP Matt Hancock due to join later as an extra campmate.

Before being made to do a tandem parachute jump out of a helicopter, Attwood was seen giving herself a little pep talk.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said, jokingly adding: “Just need to get back on safe ground in one piece, [with] both boobs, all the [dental] veneers, everything.”

After landing safely, she declared it to be “the most amazing thing I’ve done ever.”

The TV personality and model had an auspicious start to her short time on the show, as she and Boy George were voted for by the public as jungle VIPs. But this turned out to mean Very Isolated Person, rather than Very Important Person.

“I am equal parts flattered and unnerved the public voted for me to be a VIP,” she said, on discovering the news.

They were joined by their chosen guests, Moyles and Scarlette Douglas, with the foursome having to stay marooned on an island outside the camp for their first night, which also turned out to be Attwood’s last.

Attwood, who has also appeared on The Only Way Is Essex, last year fronted the documentary Getting Filthy Rich, exploring the world of people “selling sex” online.

The 31-year-old had previous experience of bush tucker trials, having appeared on I’m A Celebrity’s spin-off show, Extra Camp, where she was made to eat sheep brains. But she departs the main show before the trials have begun.

I'm A Celebrity 2022 line-up
Image caption, The 10 initial campmates may be joined by more part-way through the series

“As a precautionary measure Olivia needed to leave the jungle to undergo some medical checks,” a show spokesman told the BBC on Monday.

“Unfortunately, the medical team has advised it is not safe for Olivia to return to camp as there needs to be further investigation.

“She has been absolutely brilliant and she’ll be very much missed on the show.”

Presenter Dec Donnelly joked on Sunday’s show that they had managed to keep the identities of two extra campmates a “complete secret”. “You are going to be surprised, guys,” teased the presenter. “We are going to be rolling out the welcome mat for them soon”, he added with a not-so-subtle reference to Hancock.

Matt Hancock
Image caption, Matt Hancock had the Tory whip suspended after it emerged he was entering the jungle for I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

Hancock was recently suspended as a Conservative MP over his decision to appear on the reality television show.

He defended the decision, saying he’d agreed with the show’s producers that he could be reached at any point over any urgent work-related matters, but was criticised by some of his constituents in West Suffolk who said the move was “deeply disrespectful”.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told The Sun newspaper that he was “very disappointed” in Hancock – who last year resigned as health secretary after he breached Covid social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague – because “MPs should be working hard for their constituents”.

Mr Sunak, who was speaking on his way to COP27 climate change conference, said he “genuinely won’t have the time” to watch the programme.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps concurred, saying he thinks his fellow Tory MP should be here “looking after his constituents”.

Asked if he was looking forward to seeing Mr Hancock having to eat parts of a crocodile’s anatomy [as previous contestants have done], Mr Shapps told Sky News: “Tempting as that is, I think I’ll probably be focusing on my job as business secretary, and I’ll be off at COP27 later this week as well, so I fear I might miss him, depending on how long he survives.”

In its review, The Guardian described the first episode of this year’s series, which saw some contestants enter by walking off a plank suspended from the top of a very windy skyscraper, as “two hours of sheer Matt Hancock-free hell”.

“We are all waiting to see Hancock eat a kangaroo penis – but the failed health secretary hasn’t even turned up yet, leaving us with a bunch of people we’ve barely heard of,” wrote Stuart Jefferies.

The Telegraph‘s Michael Hogan, meanwhile, awarded three stars, noting how the “unflappable” former England rugby union star Tindall and ex Lionesses footballer Jill Scott “already look like winners”.

The Independent‘s Sean O’Grady gave it two stars, saying: “I’ve seen more thrilling episodes of Countdown.”

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