Former I’m A Celeb star Anne Hegerty says she was ‘pathetic’ in the jungle

Former I’m A Celebrity star Anne Hegerty reckons she was “pathetic” in the jungle – and wishes she’d got to grips with creepy-crawlies before joining camp.

Anne – aka The Chase’s strict Governess – came seventh in the 2018 series which was won by ex-football manager Harry Redknapp.

But she regrets not toughening up beforehand. Anne says: “I thought I was going to be great.

“I didn’t expect to be so pathetic, so that was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t expect to go in there and be the underdog because I didn’t expect to be so absolutely freaked out by everything.

“One of the things I regret is my agent asked me if I wanted to go to the zoo and do a desensitisation course, and I said, “No, no, no, I’ll be fine”, but I really wish I had.

“I found I was deeply freaked out by anything that scuttled.”

The current series of the popular reality show was taken off the air for the first time in its 19-year history after Storm Arwen battered the set at Gwrych Castle in north Wales.

While it’s set to return tonight(tues), all the cast were moved into temporary accommodation while the technical difficulties were worked upon.

Which makes Anne even more relieved she was in the warmth of the Australian outback – even if it was infested with beasties.

She says: “It would be more familiar being in the castle because you wouldn’t feel quite as alienated as in the middle of nowhere in Australia, but on the other hand you’d be really cold.

“I don’t think I could cope with it for that long.”

Anne is also still in touch with her campmates, adding: “Everyone was so nice. We have a WhatsApp group and still chat to each other”

Anne’s sharp way with words on The Chase as well as her unbeatable knowledge quickly established her as one of the brainiest women on the box.

There will be a double helping over the festive season with celebrity specials airing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

And while there’s rumours presenter Bradley Walsh may move on next year, Anne, 63, has no plans to say goodbye to the show which made her famous.

She says: “They’d have to drag me off kicking and screaming.

“Bradley is wonderful – he’s brilliant.”

In 2005 at the age of 46 Anne was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disability which can cause social, communication and behaviour challenges.

She was pleased to see Melanie Sykes and Christine McGuinness recently opening up about their own diagnosis as ASD is often mistakenly identified as being a mental health condition.

Anne says: “It’s good if people get the message across about what autism is, and what it isn’t.

“Compared to how most humans are and how we are set up – we kind of struggle, and that needs to be acknowledged.

“There are things we are better at, and things we’re worse at.

“I struggle with getting things organised.

“For instance I have washing sitting in the washing machine for several days now and I think I must take that out and put the other washing in the dryer and get that dealt with – it’s just making myself do it.

“It’s what’s called executive dysfunction and can be a major problem.”

So what does 2022 hold for Anne beyond The Chase?

She says: “I did my own quiz show Britain’s Brightest Family and Britain’s Brightest Celebrity Family, which both ran for two series.

“It’s on hiatus at the moment so who can say when it will return.”

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