Nicola McClean dubs Richard Madeley big loss to Im A Celeb and urges return

Former I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! contestant Nicola McClean has dubbed Richard Madeley’s exit a "huge loss" and urged ITV to let him re-enter the castle.

The 40-year-old model blasted the exit during an exclusive Facebook Live chat with the Daily Star, urging show bosses to test Richard for Covid and let him back in the castle.

She told us: "Unfortunately, he had to go – it was such a shame, surely they should just test him for Covid and then let him come back….

"I think Richard is going to be a big loss, because I genuinely thought he was going to be one of the stand out people."

Nicola also slammed yet another Covid restriction for spoiling the show, as the series was yet again forced to film in North Wales instead of its usual home in the jungle in Australia.

"It's Covid ruining another bl**dy thing, isn't it? Covid has made it be the castle, not the jungle and now it's taken Richard from us as well."

This Morning presenter Richard has since insisted he is doing "fine", and released a statement which read: "Hello all! Richard here — firstly just to say that I’m absolutely FINE.

"I started to feel briefly unwell in the small hours of the morning and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

"By leaving the camp, I had consequently broken the Covid ‘bubble’ and as such I’ve had to leave the castle and all the wonderful celebs that remain in the camp."

Richard's early departure makes him the first celebrity to leave the camp, and ITV has confirmed that no stand-ins will be entering the castle to replace Richard. The only newcomers are Adam Woodyatt and Simon Gregson, who were confirmed by Ant and Dec on Wednesday night's episode.

He added: "Obviously I’m gutted to be leaving so soon but the safety of all the campmates is the number one priority. I’m incredibly excited to watch their journey continue… even more so at the prospect of being somewhere a little warmer than Gwrych Castle…"

I'm A Celebrity's producers also released a statement, which said: "Our strict Covid protocols means Richard has sadly had to leave the show as he is no longer in the bubble the celebrities form when entering the castle. He has been a truly brilliant camp mate and we thank him for being part of this series."

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