SHANE Richie signed up for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! after his £100,000 Christmas panto role was cancelled, HOAR Online can reveal.
Yesterday, we told how the 56-year-old EastEnders icon had agreed to appear in the ITV show next month.
Shane, who is a panto veteran, had been due to appear in the New Wimbledon Theatre’s production of Dick Whittington in London this festive season.
However, he was left high and dry when the plug was pulled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Shane had expected to pocket an impressive £100k for his work on the show, which now won’t take to the stage until December 2021.
However, he will pick up a similar-sized pay packet for I’m A Celeb – which will be a fillip for the production firm that the actor runs with his wife Christie.
Latest accounts for Bluebelle Syke Productions LTD show it has a bottom line of just £4,165.
An insider previously told us that Shane’s panto opportunities, and the thought of flying to Australia is what put him off appearing on I’m A Celeb in the past.
However, travel restrictions have forced the show to be filmed in Wales for the first time ever – making it much more appealing for the star.
The source explained: “ITV have always wanted Shane for the jungle but with panto not happening this year and other work opportunities less likely, he decided this was the time to take the plunge.
“Going to North Wales is less of a huge commitment than flying halfway across the world, too, so he jumped at the chance.
“He’s already being talked about by production as an early favourite as he’s such a likeable bloke and known to millions of soap fans.
“ITV are delighted they’ve managed to convince him to take part.”
Dad-of-five Shane is best known for his time on Albert Square as loveable rogue Alfie Moon alongside on-screen wife Kat Slater — played by Jessie Wallace, 49.
He will be joined in the spooky Welsh castle by fellow EastEnders alumni Jessica Plummer, who left the soap last month when her character Chantelle was killed off.
Beverley Callard, Mo Farah, Ruthie Henshall, Russell Watson, and Paralympian Hollie Arnold are among the rest of this year’s campmates.
Ant and Dec will return as hosts for the show’s expected start on November 15.
The new set at the previously derelict 200-year-old castle will include familiar features such as the central camp fire, congregation and task areas, and an outside toilet.