DAME Arlene Phillips knew ITV's I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! was taking place at Gwrych Castle when she signed on the dotted line.

The former Strictly Come Dancing judge, who at 78 is the oldest ever contestant to take part in the ITV programme, told coastal chief reporter Suzanne Kendrick: "I knew when I was asked, having been asked at least 10 times before, but I knew that it was going to be in the castle and despite it being cold it is close because I have done that journey to Australia so many times and gone out to work and found myself literally with my face in my soup during the first possible break.

"I love Wales so if I had the opportunity, and if I was ever going to say yes, the fact that it was close by was a big plus."

Dame Arlene was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours this year for services to dance and charity, having first found fame when she created the provocative dance group Hot Gossip in 1974.

She has choreographed for some of the West End and Broadway's biggest shows including Grease, Starlight Express, We will Rock You, The Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music, Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance.

Dame Arlene sat on the Strictly judging panel for six years alongside Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

Her departure was controversial when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon, who had won the fifth series of the show, in 2009, which resulted in the then minister for women and equality, Harriet Harman, denouncing the BBC in Parliament for discrimination against older women on television.

The grandmother is hoping that by going on the hit show, viewers will see a different side to her - the side her family sees.

She told the Journal: "The one thing people, I don't think they know about me, is that the career I had in the past. The things that have become firm family favourites people have got no idea about such as the movie of Annie, people have no idea that I choreographed that movie and yet generations of families have seen it.

"I hope that I come across warm, helpful, kind and the 'home me'.

"I think it is possibly very different from what people see... from someone on the television."

I’m A Celebrity starts on ITV on November 21 at 9pm.