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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Martina Navratilova leads jungle line-up

Ex-tennis star Martina Navratilova and George Takei - Star Trek's Mr Sulu - are among contestants in this year's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

They will be joined in the jungle in the ITV1 show by MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk and TV presenter Esther Rantzen, as well as ex-EastEnder Joe Swash.

Others include ex-Blue singer Simon Webbe, TV presenter Dani Behr and former police chief Brian Paddick.

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly again front the show which starts on Sunday.

The line-up is completed by models Nicola McLean and Carly Zucker.

'Champions adjust'

Navratilova, 52, said she "was flying very blind" having never seen the show before.

"So I'm sort of going in on trusting in my ability to adjust - as Billie Jean King says, 'champions adjust'. So we'll see if I can adjust."

The Czechoslovakian-born star, now a US citizen, said her "biggest worry" would be contact with snakes and spiders.

Takei, who married long-term partner and business manager Brad Altman in September, is also new to the I'm A Celebrity concept.

The 71-year-old said he had eaten live fish - a Japanese delicacy - and hoped this would stand him in good stead for the bushtucker trials.

"I've even had live fish that's had a bamboo spit driven through its gill attached to a radish and a bamboo spit through its tail so that it can't flop around," he said.

"You can't get fish any fresher than that."

Executive producer Richard Cowles hailed this year's "magnificent cast of celebrities".

"But their trip to the jungle promises to be anything but a walk in the park," he added.

"Each year, in a bid to test the celebrities, we develop new ways of pushing the boundaries and this series will push them further than ever before.

"We have bundles of surprises up our sleeves and some of the most gruelling bushtucker trials ever seen."

Last year's series was won by actor Christopher Biggins.

US ex-model Janice Dickinson finished in second place while former pop star Jason "J" Brown was third.

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