I'm a Celebrity cast finalised

Jennie Bond, Mike Read and George Best's estranged wife Alex have all been confirmed as contestants on the next series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Jason Deans reports.

Jennie Bond, Mike Read and George Best's estranged wife Alex have all been confirmed as contestants on the next series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!.

The third series begins on Monday January 26 with a line-up of 10 contestants, which also includes former Sex Pistol John Lydon and tabloid favourite Jordan.

The final line-up was only confirmed at the last minute when Read, a former Radio 1 DJ, replaced comedian Frank Carson, who was ruled out because of health worries. The contestants will fly out to Australia later this week.

Read, Lydon, Jordan and Alex Best join former pop star Peter Andre, retired BBC royal reporter Jennie Bond, former athlete Diane Modahl, insurance fraudster aristocrat Lord Brocket, TV presenter Kerry McFadden and former footballer Neil Ruddock.

"We've assembled the most unpredictable cast yet and anything could happen," said Natalka Znak, the executive producer of the show for Granada.

"The celebrities think they know what they're in for, but we've got some surprises in store - and when they least expect it."

One change for the third series of I'm a Celebrity... is that it is being filmed during the summer in the jungle of southern Queensland, making the conditions far more testing.

Not only will it be far hotter and more humid, but the summer weather will mean there are many more bugs and creepy-crawlies around, including leeches, snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes.

The contestants will once again face 10 days of public humiliation in the Australian jungle, including having to eat bugs and insects in the daily Bushtucker Trial.

But the show also has an established track record of boosting careers, with previous winners Tony Blackburn and Phil Tufnell and even losing contestants such as Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Linda Barker seeing their profiles rocketing after appearing on the programme.

Today's announcement ends two weeks of fevered speculation in the tabloids about the line-up. Names linked to the show, only to have fallen by the wayside, include former footballer Stan Collymore and ex-EastEnder Shaun Williamson.

There was also reported to have been a boycott threatened by I'm a Celebrity... contestants when they found out that Jordan was to be paid more than them for appearing on the show.

The main I'm a Celebrity... show on ITV1 will once again be presented by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, with Mark Durden-Smith and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson hosting the ITV2 spin-off.

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Jason Deans

The GuardianTramp

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