Ex-EastEnders star Cliff Parisi admits he was forced to join I’m A Celeb to pay off huge bill

20 November 2019, 08:08 | Updated: 24 November 2019, 12:46

Cliff Parisi has admitted the reason he joined I'm A Celeb
Cliff Parisi has admitted the reason he joined I'm A Celeb. Picture: ITV/BBC

Former EastEnders actor Cliff Parisi has revealed he said yes to going into the jungle because of financial struggles.

I’m A Celebrity bosses revealed yesterday that soap actors Cliff Parisi and Andy Whyment have joined the line up as late additions.

But while most stars like to keep the details of their Jungle pay cheques secret, EastEnders actor Cliff has admitted it’s the main reason he decided to go into the jungle.

The 59-year-old - who played Walford's iconic character Minty between 2002 and 2010 - revealed that he initially turned down the job, until he was shown a huge tax bill by his accountant.

Speaking to the Mirror, Cliff said: “What made me sign up? The taxman. I have got a bill I need to pay.

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Cliff Parisi is joining I'm A Celeb
Cliff Parisi is joining I'm A Celeb. Picture: PA Images

"Like everyone at this time of year, you go, ‘Oh no. Again...' You would think I earn a lot of money but I don’t.”

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Cliff explained that he’d had a meeting with ITV bosses earlier in the year but decided to say no, before he got an estimate for his tax and immediately changed his mind.

He continued: “I phoned them up and said, is it too late to say yes? So here I am. But it could be an amazing experience and I hope it is.”

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Cliff - who now plays handyman Fred Buckle in BBC1’s Call the Midwife - said he would have been a “mug” for not taking the opportunity, adding: “What is the worse-case scenario? A big snake is gonna bite you or the taxman is gonna bite you. Which do you want?”

The actor is entering the Jungle alongside Coronation Street’s Andrew Whyment, 38, who plays Kirk Sutherland.

While the pair will be teased in tonight's episode of the show, they won’t make an appearance until Thursday evening.

ITV sources have hinted that Cliff and Andy will bring “a lot of fun” to the camp.

An insider told The Mirror: “Cliff is the final piece in the puzzle and comes from two massive BBC shows. It will be interesting to see if he sees the funny side of things when he has been in there a while and the hunger and tiredness kicks in.”

They join current campmates Andrew Maxwell, Caitlyn Jenner, Ian Wright, Jacqueline Jossa, James Haskell, Kate Garraway, Myles Stephenson, Nadine Coyle, and Roman Kemp from Heart's sister station Capital.