If the general British public are anything to go by, telling the world’s press and media that you suffer from panic attacks, days before you enter the jungle is probably only going to get you one thing – voted into doing the most bushtucker trials in history of the programme.
But that is exactly what brave ex Coronation Street star Helen Flanagan has done, after she revealed that she left the popular soap last year as she suffered from depression and endured a number of debilitating panic attacks whilst on the set of the show. This however, has prompted some nasty rumours that she may be given exemptions from some of the bushtucker trials, due to medical reasons and in case she suffers from anxiety.
To clarify the situation, Helen gave an interview with the Daily Mirror before she went into the Australian jungle yesterday, and promised that she would do her best to take part in as many of the trials as possible. She told the reporter: “It will be good for people to see the real me. After being in a show like Coronation Street for 12 years, people think they know me, but they don’t.
I am a determined girl so I’ll give any bushtucker trial a go but I am terrified of heights. If I knew the whole nation was watching, I wouldn’t want to look like a coward.” And it seems that for Helen, some of the eating tasks are not that problematic for her. “Would I eat a kangaroos anus? I’ll give it a go. That would be a bad trial but not the worst. Jumping out of a plane would be the worst.”
Helen played the hugely popular Rosie Webster for twelve years but it was towards the end of her run that she started experiencing the debilitating panic attacks, and although she is better now, she still does not know what set them off in the first place. Speaking in 2011 before she left Corrie, Helen said: “I have recently suffered a few panic attacks. And as anyone who has ever suffered from them knows, they are very scary. I didn’t know what might have caused it. I am trying to work out what triggers them. It was the main reason I had to leave Coronation Street. I don’t think I was very well.”
Talking about what sort of things might cause a panic attack for her in the jungle, Helen said: “I am fearful of heights. I have never jumped out of a plane and I don’t even like rooms high up in a hotel. I will scream if I see a spider at home but we will all be in the camp together and we will all deal with it.”
Although Helen has said that she will do her best in the trials, the rumour that she may be exempt from some of them has already sparked resentment in the camp, as one contestant, who did not want to be named, spoke to the Mirror and said: “It wouldn’t be fair on everyone else as producers wouldn’t want to take any chances. You have to question how many tasks she could miss.” However, a production source said of Helen, “People need to give her a break.“A number of celebs in the past – such as Gillian McKeith – have been allowed to be exempt.” Another show source said, “There are often celebrities who are exempt from trials for medical reasons.”
However, a show spokesman added, “Helen is not excluded from taking part in any activities in the jungle.”
Let’s hope that this experience will help Helen in facing her fears and may even go towards stopping her panic attacks.
I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here starts on Sunday at 9pm on ITV1.