Freddie Starr may have made millions laugh over the years, but he also has another famous claim to fame –as the man at the centre of one of Britain’s legendary newspaper stories claiming he had eaten a hamster for lunch.
But as he enters the jungle for I'm A Celebrity get Me Out Of Here 2011, the 68 year old is adamant he won't be tucking into any live animals. Fish eyes and witchety grubs will, however, definitely be on the menu.
The star admitted that he is preparing himself for a lot of stick over the hamster story that first appeared in a national newspaper in 1986 under the famous headline 'Freddie Starr ate my hamster' despite publicly denying he has ever eaten one.
“I didn’t eat a hamster but I know I am going to get some stick out of the hamster story even though it was a long time ago,” he said.
“People still do stop me in the street and shout ‘Freddie ate a hamster’. They ask me if I did when I am on stage too. I just give an answer you can’t print!
“I will play along with the hamster gag – I am expecting it. I am a fan of the jungle and I always watch the show without fail."
The star revealed that he will be cracking a few jokes around the campfire to entertain his fellow celebrities and said: “I would like some banter in the camp. I don’t mind playing a few tricks either. It would be nice to have a laugh.”
But he admitted that it will take him a while to feel he can trust everybody in the camp and said: “There are so many sides to me. I won’t let people near me. I put this façade up.”
For Freddie, the hardest thing about taking on the jungle show is, without a shadow of doubt, being apart from his fiancée Sophie. He revealed:
“We have never spent a day apart as we are together 24/7. I don’t know how I am going to cope without her. Sophie is my rock. She is an angel. We’ve been friends for four years, but we only got together (romantically) after I had my heart attack last year. We’ve only recently got engaged and we plan to marry soon.”
Although he has had major heart surgery, Freddie insisted that he is not concerned about living in rough conditions. He hasn’t done anything to prepare himself for the jungle experience except mentally try and imagine what it will be like not having much food. He admitted:
“I am setting my mind to the fact I am going to feel hungry. But I haven’t done anything else. I am not really dreading anything. I don’t like putting my hands in a hole and not knowing what is in there."