From the dancefloor to the jungle, Vincent Simone is one of the few celebrities with a foot in both camps. The tango champion sat down with ICE36 to discuss the latest instalment of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
What do you think of the line-up this year?
I like the line-up. I think there is a good mixture of people in the show this year.
Of course, there are some people going in that are not very popular – Nigel Farage is regarded as a controversial choice by some – but I think that the show offers everybody on it a great opportunity to show the world exactly who they are.
It doesn’t matter how guarded you are going on to the show, after a few days you forget about the cameras, and you do start to be who you normally are in the real world. You become the real you and that is always interesting for the viewer because they get to see the celebrities in a different light.
For someone like Nigel Farage, a person that people have a very strong feeling about, it will be interesting for him because he gets the opportunity to be judged in a completely different context. It’s a great opportunity to show a different side of you.
What advice would you give to any of the celebrities this year?
Be strong (laughs)! There will be times when every single celebrity will want to throw in the towel, where everything feels like it is going downhill.
The lack of food. The long days. It can be very isolating in the jungle. That may sound strange because you’re with your camp mates, but sometimes you may not get along with everyone and you have to spend so much time with them.
When I was on the show, I was lucky. I made some great friends in the jungle that I still call to this day: Steve Davis the snooker player, Joey Essex, who was great. Alfonso Ribeiro, Carlton from The Fresh Prince, I couldn’t believe it when I saw him because I loved that show when I was a kid in Italy. That was surreal.
I had some amazing celebrities in my year and we all became friends. It was a nice experience.
If you’re a celebrity that doesn’t like some of the people in there, and who the viewers keep voting for to compete in the trials, then all I can do is wish you good luck because it’s hard enough in there as it is.
We only get to see an hour of the show but it must be incredibly long when you’re in there…
It’s so long. When you do the interviews with the producers, they warn you. They tell you that the days are extremely long and sometimes you might have to spend the day with one other person. I was ready for that. I’m an entertainer and enjoyed entertaining the celebrities in the camp or teaching them to dance, which helped pass the time.
Not all of the celebrities adapt that well. We’re all different people.
How long do the trials last?
The preparation that goes into creating the trials for the show takes weeks and months to get ready. The team on the show work really hard to give the viewer the best experience and some of the obstacle courses and sets are very elaborate. It is a massive production.
The time it takes for a celebrity to complete a trial can vary. Most of them are live, so what you see is what you get. Ant and Dec come into the camp and away you go. Most of the trials are completed quickly, but I can remember one trial where I had to untie big knots in ropes with Annabel Giles that took absolutely ages! I think we were doing it for hours. That was on day one and I was thinking to myself ‘what have I done Vincent?’ (laughs).
I wasn’t interested in the fame or the money (from being on the show), because when I went on there, I had reached a level of celebrity that I couldn’t imagine. My ambition was always to be the best possible dancer.
My advice to this year’s camp before they do any trials would be stay focussed and get the job done.
There must be a lot of people that work on the show…did you ever have any conversations with any of the producers or Ant and Dec off screen?
The only people that you speak with apart from your camp mates and Ant and Dec when they are on screen is a producer who asks you questions when you film your updates, but you don’t see them – you are talking into a screen.
I started to wonder out of the camp when I was on the show. That was frightening because all of a sudden, you will bump into a big beast of bodyguard wearing full camo, even the make-up, who isn’t allowed to speak to you but just shakes his head and points you in the direction of the camp.
That was the only time that I tried to be active, apart from my dance lessons, and I thought no more!
I’m glad that those guys were there because there are a lot of dangerous animals in the jungle and they are there to keep you safe.
What’s the relationship like between Ant and Dec and the camp? They revel in the misery of the celebrities; did you dread seeing them appear each morning?
I’ve worked with Ant and Dec on different shows. I did Saturday Night Takeaway with them and loved it. Me and Flavia did this amazing tango that is one of my favourite performances on television.
They are the most genuine people you could meet. They are exactly the same in real life as they are on the screen. They are great people and I love them.
Obviously, you can see them being incredibly sarcastic in the jungle and they love winding up the celebrities. It’s annoying to be on the wrong end of but it’s one of the things that makes the show so enjoyable for the viewer.
They love watching the celebrities squirm.