Former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin made her I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here debut on Sunday (21 November).
Alongside her fellow I’m A Celeb campmates, Minchin will face bushtucker trials in a bid to be crowned as Queen of the Castle.
The BBC Breakfast presenter had announced earlier this year that she would be leaving the early morning show after almost 20 years of hosting.
Minchin first appeared on the programme in 2001, and went on to replace Sian Williams as a full-time member of the team when the show moved from London to Salford in 2012.
What has she said about being on I’m A Celeb?
Speaking to Radio Times, Minchin said that there was “absolutely” a reason she decided to star in I’m A Celeb over the other reality shows she was rumoured to be appearing in, namely Strictly Come Dancing andDancing on Ice.
She said: “With Strictly Come Dancing, honestly, I’m absolutely hopeless at dancing. I’ve done one dancing show on the BBC ages ago and I did one dance and I literally cannot remember moves.
“It seems my brain is just completely, utterly incapable of remembering, so when I watch those people on Strictly and Dan [Walker], I go, “Oh my gosh, how can they remember that? All of that?”
“And also my children and husband know how bad I am at dancing basically, so they put me on a lifetime ban of going on Strictly Come Dancing just for being a hugely embarrassing mum. So that’s the main reason why not to do Strictly.”
While Strictly Come Dancing appears to be completely off the table for Minchin, she admitted that she was “really tempted” by Dancing on Ice.
She said: “I did think that’s a great fun show and from a sort of sports and athletic point of view that really appealed to me as well.”
However, I’m A Celeb was always Minchin’s “ultimate” show to appear on because it’s “incredibly unique”.
“It’s really challenging, and it really appeals to me,” she said. “It sounds kind of strange, but the things I’ve done in the last few years in terms of endurance sports include jumping off ferries in the dark into waters which have killer whales swimming in them.
“So I think that just appealed to my sense of adventure. It’s a huge adventure and an amazing opportunity to be a part of a huge show that people watch.”
What did she say about leaving BBC Breakfast?
Minchin confirmed the news earlier this year, on 8 June.
At the time, she said: “It will be this year, 20 years since I first presented this programme. Since then, I’ve felt part of a huge, enormous BBC Breakfast family, which includes everyone who works here, everyone on the team, and every one of you who watched the programme.
“I’ve loved being part of it, but - and there is a but - I have decided that it is time that I stopped setting my alarm for 3:40 - sometimes when I’m feeling very rebellious 3:46 in the morning - and I’m going to be leaving the programme.
“It’s not going to be for a while, and just before anything else I wanted to thank everybody who’s watching for your loyalty and support over all these years. I have absolutely loved being part of it. I will really miss it.
“But it is time now to stop that alarm early in the morning, and thank you for watching all these years as well.”
In a BBC statement, Minchin added that there are “so many memories” that she will be taking with her after she leaves the show.
She said: “I will take so many memories with me, including reporting on the shock and anguish of the Manchester Arena bombing, starting a national conversation about menopause, and the life changing moment I took part in the Breakfast Christmas Cycling Challenge which inspired my ongoing passion for endurance sport, which I will continue when I leave.
“A big thank you to everyone who has watched and supported me, I have loved it and I will miss you all.”
When did she leave - and what will she do next?
Wednesday 15 September was Minchin’s last show on BBC Breakfast.
On the day, she tweeted: “Good morning and thank you for all your love support and messages xxxx last #sofaselfie #BBCBreakfast.”
The 53-year-old presenter said that she came to her decision after realising she couldn’t face another round of winter and early morning alarms.
She said: “I find the early morning really difficult and another winter of the dark mornings was not what I wanted to do anymore.
“I just thought ‘I can’t face another winter’, because I’ve worked out over the last 20 years there’s about six weeks in the year when I go to work and it’s light, and those are the six weeks that I find the easiest.
“In December I’d taken three, four weeks off work because of an ankle operation and I had that period to realise that when I’m not getting up at 3:40am in the morning, I’m doing all sorts of things in the evening that I want to be doing – like just watching telly with my family, doing that kind of family stuff.
“So yeah, I think it was coming out of winter into this period that the decision was made.
“Also because of Covid we had holidays at home and if I’m left to my own devices in my own home, I actually go to bed about midnight and wake up about nine in the morning
“That’s the natural way my body works. So I think it made me realise that actually I particularly really struggle with the hours… I have found them really hard.”
Minchin also added that the decision making process involved “lots of in-depth discussion with friends and family”.
She said: “My children are pleased for us as a family, I think, because I always used to say to them, “Oh, do you remember before I did BBC Breakfast?” and they’d say, “Not really.” And then I realised that, actually, my daughters are 20 and 17, so of course they don’t remember life before BBC Breakfast.
“I’ve not taken my daughters to school every single day for their schooling life, so I am looking forward to school runs.
“And I’m really looking forward to things like those Sunday night dramas, which I’d love to be watching but haven’t been because I need to go to bed.
“So there’s a shared experience that I’m really looking forward to being able to have with them.
“Plus I’ve got no excuses now. I’m really looking forward to being a super taxi for the kids, which is great. And I am actually genuinely really looking forward to being able to do that!”
Minchin has previously said that after she leaves the programme that she will continue with her passion for endurance sport, and also revealed other projects that she plans to pursue.
She said: “I’ve got lots of really exciting adventures planned. I’m trying to write a book about that as well.
“And I’ll continue my podcast, which is all about the mental and physical benefits of sport and exercise.”
Who has replaced her on BBC Breakfast?
At the end of October, BBC Breakfast officially announced that Sully Nugent would be permanently replacing Minchin on the show.
Nugent has been part of the BBC Breakfast team for almost 10 years as a sports presenter.
Speaking about her new position, Nugent said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to become the new presenter of BBC Breakfast and bring the nation the latest news, top entertainment guests and stories that matter every week.
“It’s an honour to take the reins from Louise and be part of the UK’s most watched breakfast show.”
Richard Frediani, BBC Breakfast Editor, said: “Sally has an impressive track record as an award-winning broadcast journalist and has secured a series of high profile exclusive interviews in recent years.
“We are delighted to have her take her new permanent place in the studio alongside Dan, Charlie and Naga.”
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