Victoria Derbyshire initially told she couldn't do I'm A Celebrity... by BBC bosses

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 21 December 2020
Victoria Derbyshire

Victoria Derbyshire

Victoria Derbyshire was initially told by the BBC that she couldn’t take part in ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’ so offered to take unpaid leave before her request was eventually granted

Victoria Derbyshire was initially told by the BBC that she couldn’t take part in ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’.

The 52-year-old broadcaster had to get permission from the network before participating in the ITV contest and though she was initially rejected, she then went to see head of BBC News Fran Unsworth and even offered to take unpaid leave so she could be on the show.

She recalled to Sunday Times magazine: “I said, ‘I’ll take unpaid leave. I’m not going to cross any lines of impartiality. I’m not going to bring the BBC into disrepute.’

“But the area where Fran conceded was when I argued that BBC News wants to attract diverse, young, less affluent people and this is the show they all watch.”

One of the main reasons why Victoria took part in the show is because her sons Ollie, 16, and 14-year-old Joe – who she has with radio producer Mark Sandell – are big fans.

She said: “It’s one of the only things we watch together as a family apart from ‘Strictly’. They thought I’d be really good at the trials because they know I get stuck in, but most of all they love the fact I was in it because all their mates watch.”

The presenter is “really gutted” that her self-titled show was axed earlier this year but admitted she hopes there are other opportunities in the pipeline.

She said: “I’ll go back to the news; that’s what I love, interviewing people. I want to keep thinking about how to engage the underserved audience, which is what our old programme did, engaging people who don’t think that the BBC is for them.

“I’d like to do a podcast on breast cancer, and maybe an intelligent quiz, something fun.”

And Victoria won’t rule out taking part in another reality show.

Asked if she’d consider ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, she said: “I’ve never been asked, but yes I would consider it.”

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