TERRIFIED Jordan North threatened to quit I’m A Celebrity during a secret panic attack before the first trial — only to be talked down by host Declan Donnelly.
The castle runner-up and Radio 1 DJ, 30, had a “complete meltdown” after viewers nominated him to be tied down in a coffin and covered in snakes for Viper Vault.
Radio 1 DJ Jordan told HOAR on Sunday: “I’ve not talked about this to anyone, I just had a complete meltdown. And I know what people mean now by sheer panic.
“I delayed it by loads. None of this got shown on TV.
“I just said, ‘I cannot do this. And I’m not going to do this. And in fact, I am gonna go. I don’t need to do this’.
“I nearly said, ‘I’m just not going to do the trial’. I nearly walked.”
After a lengthy delay Dec managed to calm Jordan, who the public had nominated alongside ex-EastEnders star Shane Richie.
Jordan bravely tackled the trial and won nine stars and meals for campmates at Gwrych Castle, North Wales.
He added: “I’ve never had a panic attack before.
“There were tears and I was struggling for breath. Dec said to me, ‘Jordan, breathe’.
“I started breathing. I’d never felt a panic like it.
“I know it sounds dramatic but I could feel the panic leaving.
“Then I got in. I thought I’ll get in, do two minutes and shout I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! And I’d say to camp at least I tried.
“I just focused on the stars. I couldn’t have done it on my own, that was my biggest wobble.”
Covid distancing rules meant hosts Ant and Dec had to keep at least two metres from campmates but Jordan believes the Geordie duo were desperate to comfort him.
He revealed: “I do think they wanted to put an arm around my shoulders.
“It definitely helps when you can hear them during the trial, speak to them.
“Those trials mate, they are not easy. I watch it every year. They’re worse than you can imagine.
“When someone gets nominated you can see the fear in their face. It nearly broke Shane. He was speaking to me and I couldn’t hear him. You know when in a film where the sound is all wishy-washy.
“It’s making me anxious just thinking about it now.
“I always thought they wouldn’t be as bad as that. But then as they got worse, as the weeks went on, they were really sinister.”
Jordan was voted for four of the first five trials after the public pounced on the fact he’d been sick in the launch show’s abseiling task.
Trolls have claimed he faked his fear but he insists it was genuine.
And he reckons the seemingly endless challenges helped turn him from a “timid little mouse into a lion”.
Jordan said: “I’ve heard people saying was he playing up to it? I mean, how can you fake being sick? If you see me in that Viper one I was physically shaking beforehand. You could see me sweating. I was that scared.
“Genuinely, what you see is what you get. There was no playing up to cameras. I was totally myself, all of my family and friends have said that as well.
“People said, ‘Why go in if you’re so scared?’ My plan was to keep my head down. Unfortunately, I was sick on top of the cliff. But honestly, my idea was to do one or two trials, maybe the group ones. I did the first group trial and that wasn’t too bad.
“I thought, I can do bugs, eating, and something physical. I didn’t think I’d get put forward.
“You’ve got Shane Richie, Beverley Callard, AJ Pritchard. They’ve got loads of fans and followers.”
But avid Burnley FC fan Jordan insists that nothing he did was for show — and every bit of his fear was genuine.
He said: “I’ve heard a couple people saying was he playing up to it? Was he faking it? I mean, how can you fake being sick? I, and if you see me in that Viper one, I was physically shaking beforehand. You could see me sweating. I was that scared.
“Genuinely, what you see is what you get. There was no playing up to cameras, I was totally myself, all of my family and friends have said that as well. And there was none of that in there for me.
“And, you know, people said, ‘Well, why? Why go in if you’re so scared?’
“My plan was to keep my head down and only do a couple of trials. Like there was other people that didn’t do any trials, unfortunately, I was sick on top of the cliff.
“But my idea was, honest to God, my idea was to do one or two trials, maybe the group ones because I did the first group trial and that wasn’t too bad.
“I thought, I can do bugs, eating, and something physical.
“I didn’t think I’d get put forward. Honestly, I thought do a couple, get halfway through. Like, you’ve got Shane Richie, Beverley Callard, AJ Pritchard. They’ve got loads of fans and followers.”
Campmates all commented on how Jordan grew as an individual in his three weeks at the castle.
He says he feels like a new man having only gone on the show to challenge himself.
He said: “I’ve lived my whole life in this comfortable safe lane and never stepped out of it. I had to start facing up to my fears, insecurities and anxieties.
“That was my journey, I went in there a little timid mouse. And they came out with at the end dare I say it, a bit of a lion.
“Not a big lion, not a roaring lion, but a lion that can hold his own. That was my journey. And that was from doing trials. It was a life-changing experience.
“And the fact that I met 11 people is the fact that I can now get on a bloody plane and go to New York. I’ve always wanted to go. I can stop talking myself out of jobs. And that’s all I’m going to do now: Go for it.”
Jordan also revealed he has kept the scroll from the Viper Vault, adding: “I’m going to get it framed. I know it sounds corny. I don’t care.
“I’m going to put it in my room and say, ‘If you can do this you can do anything.”
Jordan was born in Yorkshire but raised in East Lancs by mum Wendy and dad Graham.
Graham served in the military overseas and older brother Ryan is in 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment.
Jordan credits Ryan for teaching him to focus on his “happy place” — his team Burnley’s Turf Moor stadium — during trials.
Jordan finished higher than household names such as Vernon Kay and Sir Mo Farah in the show but still doesn’t count himself as a celeb.
But he says the experience has taught him one thing — he needs a trip to the dentist.
He said: “I’m gonna get my teeth done as well.
“Not massively, just the bottom ones, just a whitening. I saw a few clips last night and thought, hmm. I’m not going to go full Rylan Clark-Neal or Simon Cowell. I have to be careful as I’ve got to go back to Burnley.
“If I look like I’ve been kicked through showbiz school backwards, I’ll be told.
“It’s all new to me. I don’t know how I’ll find that.
“I like getting the Tube to work, it gives me an hour to wake up and plan my show.
“Honestly I’ve no intentions of going in blacked-out limos or going to all these showbiz parties. It’s just not me. I’m a family guy, a normal guy. I keep to myself. I want to make people laugh on the radio. And I hope this gives me the opportunity to maybe venture into TV, which I love as well.”
Jordan also joked he won’t be having a meltdown like pop star Britney Spears who marched into a salon to get her locks lopped off in 2007.
He added: “I can tell you this I won’t be shaving my head. My family will keep me grounded.”
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