Grace Dent has addressed previously criticising her I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! co-star Nick Pickard ahead of meeting him in the Australian jungle.
The restaurant critic, 50, will be joining Hollyoaks actor Nick, 48, and eight other celebrities entering the iconic I’m A Celebrity camp in Sunday night’s episode.
She could have an awkward face-to-face with Nick as she once lambasted him in a review about his time Celebrity Masterchef – saying she would rather jump out of a car than watch him.
But Grace has insisted she isn’t worried about meeting anyone in the camp who she has previously criticised, saying her comments are always made in ‘good spirits’.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline ahead of her jungle debut, she said: ‘Anything I’ve ever said over the years is always just full of humour and silliness.
Vocal: Grace Dent has addressed previously criticising her I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! co-star Nick Pickard ahead of meeting him in the Australian jungle
‘I am a massive television fan. I’m a massive reality television fan. So, anything I’ve ever said there’s been in really, really good spirits, hopefully.’
She also vowed to get to know the ‘real’ stars rather than judging them based off their TV appearances as she said there would be ‘nowhere to hide’ in camp.
She went on: ‘The people that you meet, the people that you see on television, are often incredibly different in real life. So, the wonderful thing about this is there’s nowhere to hide. I’ll see the real them.’
In 2011, Grace referred to Nick as ‘him who plays Tony in Hollyoaks’ in a review about his time on Celebrity Masterchef, before adding: ‘Masterchef has fallen.’
The actor, who has starred on the Channel 4 soap for 28 years, was seen clumsily gutting a sole, splashing guts, brains and skin about, then frying the salvageable detritus on the programme alongside the likes of actress Sharon Maughan and former Newsnight presenter, Kirsty Wark.
Writing in the Guardian newspaper, Grace, 50, said: ‘I’d as much choose to watch people badly gutting, scaling and de-braining animals on TV as I would gleefully jump out of a car on to the hard shoulder. And if it’s not bloody, it’s just bloody awful.’
It isn’t the first time that Grace’s previous columns have come back to haunt her as last week, old comments emerged where she slated I’m A Celebrity, branding it ‘puerile’.
She wrote: ‘Let’s be frank, I’m a Celeb, love it or hate it, is far from a deluxe viewing experience.
Slammed: In 2011, the critic rudely referred to Nick (pictured on Masterchef with Kirsty Wark and Phil Vickery) as ‘him who plays Tony in Hollyoaks’ when he was on Celebrity Masterchef
Awkward! She could have an awkward face-to-face with Nick as she once lambasted him in a review – saying she would rather jump out of a car than watch him on Celebrity Masterchef
Candid: But Grace has insisted she isn’t worried about meeting anyone in the camp who she has previously criticised, insisting her comments are always made in ‘good spirits’
‘It is a puerile venture into starvation, televised constipation and animal cruelty, abbreviated by ads for Iceland £1 curries.
‘I snap my blinds firmly shut before settling down to watch I’m a Celeb, in fear that the theme tune alone devalues my property.’
She has now signed up to enter the jungle and admitted that she doesn’t think she will be crowned the 2023 winner as she shared her hopes for the show.
She told MailOnline: ‘I’m never going to win, but I just want to stay long enough that I feel like I’ve had an amazing experience. Nobody ever wants to go first. And I don’t want to walk. But if I can stay for the duration, and stay for a good couple of weeks, I’ll be the happiest girl ever.
‘I think that going in with a plan to win in the jungle is exhausting and will take away from the experience. I just want to have a wonderful time. I want to look back and think about making rice and beans on the fire, and just laughing with people, and making friends.’
Grace said her only aim is to try and make some ‘lifelong friends’ in the camp, and confessed that she is scared of ‘absolutely everything’ as she looked ahead to the gruelling trials.
‘My fears are absolutely everything. I don’t think there’s anything that they’re planning to do to me on I’m a Celeb that I particularly like,’ she admitted.
‘So, I’m not particularly happy about the sort of height, things with many legs, snakes. I’m scared at some level of all of these things, but it’s going to be a wild ride.’
Grace admitted it is very ’emotional’ to be going on I’m A Celebrity because her late parents were huge fans of the show.
However, she confessed that her mother always told her not to go on the ITV contest herself because she wanted her to be ‘safe’ and not take part in the ‘stressful’ trials.
Grace said: ‘I know that my mother would be absolutely livid on one level that I said yes because every year she used to say to me, “Don’t say yes to Jungle. Don’t.” She only ever called it Jungle, only one word.
Cast: Grace is set to appear alongside Sam Thompson, EastEnders’ Danielle Harold and First Dates Maitre’d Fred Sirieix before joining the rest of the cast in the Jungle
Uncertain: The MasterChef critic is set to make her jungle debut in Sunday night’s episode and will face a nail-biting skyscraper challenge upon her arrival
‘And she thought so, “Yes, whatever you…” And she used to breathe a sigh of relief every year when she saw that you guys have found out who was going in.
‘What my mother would like me to have done is basically just sit on the sofa, wrapped in a duvet, and be safe,’ she added. ‘So, I think my mother just always was amazed at why I pushed myself to do really stressful things.’
But Grace said losing both of her parents made her realise that life is ‘short’ and persuaded her to sign up for I’m A Celebrity.
She said: ‘This is an experience that money can’t buy. And I think I’m stupid to say no. I think it’s stupid to say no. I think there are people out there that would give their absolute back teeth to have some of these wonderful experiences.’
Grace lost her father George following a battle with dementia in December 2022, after her mother, also called Grace, died in February 2021.
The MasterChef critic is set to make her jungle debut in Sunday night’s episode and will enter alongside Sam Thompson, Danielle Harold and Fred Sirieix.
The group arrived 2,000 miles away from their fellow campmates in the Gold Coast and are faced with a terrifying skyscraper challenge for their first task.
The group all met on top of the scary structure, with hosts Ant and Dec telling them what was in store for them in the nail-biting task.
Two at a time, they had to descend a ladder down the side of the eye-wateringly high building before inching their way sideways along a ledge towards a huge horizontal flag pole.
They then had to lie down flat on the pole, forcing them to look down at the huge drop below, and edge out to unclip carabiners to release their star-print flag – all while racing against the clock.
In action: They had to lie down flat on a pole, forcing them to look down at the drop below, and edge out to unclip carabiners to release their star-print flag (Sam Thompson is pictured)
Gross! Elsewhere, Josie Gibson got covered in gunk as she joined Nigel Farage and Nella Rose in their first challenge as they tried to win time for their co-stars to complete their challenge
Biggest fear: And Marvin Humes conquered his fear of heights with the dreaded skydive as he took on the nail-biting challenge with Jamie Lynn Spears and Nick Pickard
Snaps from the upcoming episode show Grace and her co-stars looking absolutely terrified as they edged across the skyscraper and out across the massive drop.
Elsewhere, Josie Gibson got covered in vile gunk as she joined Nigel Farage and Nella Rose in their first challenge as they tried to win time for their co-stars to complete their challenge.
And Marvin Humes conquered his fear of heights with the dreaded skydive as he took on the nail-biting challenge with Jamie Lynn Spears and Nick Pickard.
After the skydive, the trio then found out that they would have to head straight into action with a trial, leaving no time for them to rest in camp.
To find out more tune into I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Sunday at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.
I’m A Celebrity 2023: Meet the campmates
Claim to fame: Former leader of the UK Independence Party and leader of the Brexit Party.
Phobias: Nobody likes rats, snakes and I am dreading anything to do with heights.
Biggest misconception you want to dispel?: I have been demonised over the years and so it will be nice to show people I am not nasty.
Role in camp: Lead on starting up plenty of campfire discussions.
Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp?: A pint in the pub and the news.
Best & worst attributes: I hope to cheer people up when they are down. Worst? I am impatient and I do snore.
Dream camper: As a controversial political media figure, I never name names… But I am looking forward to meeting interesting people from all different fields
Claim to fame: EastEnders actress.
Phobias: Rats. I hate them!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I can be a little ditzy at times but I am definitely not a ‘dumb blonde’. I want to show I can do the trials, challenges and get stuck in.
Role in camp: Shoulder to cry on, help others if they are feeling low in camp.
Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: Snacking. I am a little muncher and I am going to miss my morning cup of tea, too!
Best & worst attributes: I’d like to think I will be good if people are really struggling. I am not, however, very good at being bored, nor am I a morning person either.
Dream camper: Ed Sheeran. If he brings his guitar into camp, he can sing for us.
Claim to fame: First Dates star.
Phobias: I am scared of everything. I am dying to find out how vile the food will be!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I don’t think there is anything but I am looking forward to learning more about myself during my time in the camp.
Role in camp: I will definitely muck in with all the jobs. I don’t mind cooking or cleaning the toilets.
Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? My bed. It’s super comfy. I will also miss a cup of coffee in the morning.
Best & worst attributes: I like to have fun but I do snore and I am impatient!
Dream camper: It’s going to be nice to meet everyone but I’d love to see Dolly Parton, The Rock or Snoop Dog in there.
Claim to fame: YouTuber and Catfish UK star.
Phobias: I am fearful of everything!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle? I am a pretty open book.
Role in camp: Keep the morale and humour high.
Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? My phone… I am always on it!
Dream camper: Alison Hammond or Adele.
Claim to fame: Hollyoaks star.
Phobias: I am a bit scared of the dark. When you go to the House of Horrors at Halloween and things jump out at you, I am not very good when I can’t see!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle: It will be nice to go in as me and not as my Hollyoaks character.
Role in camp: Grafter or chef, I am quite good at cooking. But I’ve never cooked on a fire before. Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp: Football and my creature comforts.
Best & worst attributes: I’d like to think I am a nice person and a good team player. I am not lazy but I do have a few bad habits like picking my nose. My girlfriend has been trying to train me to stop!
Dream camper: Sir Alex Ferguson or Neil Warnock.
JAMIE LYNN SPEARS
Claim to fame: Zoey 101 and Sweet Magnolias star.
Phobias: I am scared of everything.
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I think this is a nice chance to show who I really am.
Role in camp: Hopefully I will be the one who can support everyone.
Aside from family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? A normal bathroom, air conditioning and my bed.
Best & worst attributes: I think my best quality is it takes a lot to hurt my feelings; but I am impatient and my family would say I get in a bad mood a lot.
Dream camper: Nicole Kidman, she is my favourite actress in the whole wide world, or Reece Witherspoon.
Claim to fame: Made In Chelsea star and radio presenter.
Phobias: I am not a creepy crawly guy and I hate anyone or anything touching my neck.
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: Since the age of 21, I’ve spent my whole life on TV and so I feel whether people have a good or bad opinion of me, it’s probably warranted!
Role in camp: I’m a ‘yes’ man so cooking, cleaning I will do whatever they want me to do.
Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: I know this sounds lame but gaming.
Best & worst attributes: I’d like to think I am the court jester and I don’t take things too seriously, so if anyone is having a bad day I would like to put a smile on their face. Worst? I am quite forgetful and I am bad at focusing on things.
Dream camper: Stephen Fry. I think I would self-combust if he was going in the jungle!
Claim to fame: This Morning presenter.
Phobias: Insects and I freeze every time I see a spider and I am not sure what I am going to do if I am in a trial with them!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle?: I would like people to know I am very clever at knowing useless information!
Role in camp: Mum. I am very motherly and I also love chatting to people.
Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: Getting up to blow dry my hair and putting a bit of make-up on!
Best & worst attributes: I am an optimist and I love meeting people from all walks of life. Worst? I can be quite nosey and I am worried about my temper if I am too hungry.
Dream camper: Dawn French, I love her.
Claim to fame: JLS star.
Phobias: Heights. I have pulled out of a skydive with JLS in the past because I was too scared!
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle: To show I am not just a member of a boy band. It will be nice for people to learn more about me.
Role in camp: I’d like to think I will be a shoulder to cry on and a mediator.
Aside from family, what will you miss most whilst in camp?: My fantasy football app! I am obsessed with it! Four weeks without music is a long time, too.
Best & worst attributes: I’ve got three children under the age of ten and you definitely need a lot of patience for that! Worst? Rochelle would probably say I get ‘hangry’ if I don’t have enough food.
Dream camper: Paddy McGuinness – I’ve done Soccer Aid with him before and I know he’s funny, he gets stuck in and he is hands on.
Claim to fame: MasterChef star and food critic.
Phobias: Horrible people.
Biggest misconception you want to dispel in the jungle: People think I am quite forthright and scary but I don’t think I am scary! Hopefully people will see this.
Role in camp: Shoulder to cry on and I am a practical cook so I can help out.
Aside from your family, what will you miss the most whilst in camp? My three cats and my make-up bag. I love a bit of glamour.
Best & worst attributes: I would like to think I am funny! My worst quality is lack of sleep. I like my sleep.
Dream camper: Queen Camilla. She would be very practical. And Madonna – she could perform tracks from her Greatest Hits tour!