I’M A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star Richard Madeley almost died as a child – after being struck down by tuberculosis.
The 65-year-old – who assured fans yesterday that he is as “fit as a fiddle” following a medical scare – has recovered from a childhood ordeal, which at one point saw him ask: “Mummy, am I going to die?”
Madeley, who left the Castle in the early hours of Thursday morning, said: “I had pneumonia when I was five and nearly died. The reason I remember this so clearly was that my mother brought my bed downstairs to the living room, and the custom then was this only ever happened one step before death.
“This was why, when my father died of cancer, he refused right to the end to have his bed downstairs. When I was ill, I couldn’t sit up and had this long, thin spout which I had to drink from.
“One day, very alarmed, I said to my mother, ‘Mummy, am I going to die?’. This must have been on my birthday because I remember mum had a cake with candles on it, and I was too weak to blow them out.”
Richard revealed details of the childhood health scare in his life-story Richard and Judy. He tells how a scan 20 years ago also showed up scarring which indicated his illness was in fact more likely to have been TB.
Revealing another incident, which left him with a lifelong health condition, the star added: “I remember a childhood game where we used to tie a rope or two metal rods at the top of a lamp post and swing around on it.
“Once, when I was going very fast, my hands slipped and I fell off, crash-landing on my spine and was totally winded. Since then I’ve had back problems and have been told that my vertebrae are fused together.”
Yesterday, Madeley drank to his health with a cuppa as he reassured fans: “I feel as fit as a fiddle — and I am as fit as a fiddle.”
The TV presenter, 65, had to be rushed to A&E in the early hours of Thursday after falling ill in the castle camp.
He was discharged after tests but had to quit I’m A Celeb because he had left the show’s Covid bubble. His daughter Chloe said the decision left him “livid”.
But yesterday he said: “I did hang on after I was discharged for about 20 minutes because I went to the canteen, seriously, and had a bacon butty.
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“That was my first port of call, for a bacon butty. And a huge cup of tea. It was amazing. I ate hospital food.”
The Good Morning Britain host went on: “You know, if it wasn’t for Covid I’d be back there, sort of eating rice and beans.
“It’s a Covid situation. It’s still biting our bums, isn’t it?
“What happened was, I had just a funny little turn. ITV are so good with duty of care. They were adamant. They said, ‘No, we have to make sure that you’re OK’. I said, ‘But I am OK’. They said, ‘We have to make sure’. So I went to the hospital.
“I was only in there for about an hour and a half. I was given really thorough checks and I was given a completely clean bill of health.
“I’m absolutely fine. No matter what you might have read, I’m absolutely fine.”