HE has been known to EastEnders fans for decades, but Adam Woodyatt will play himself as the newcomer to the I’m a Celebrity camp in Abergele.

The 53-year-old is known for his casting as Ian Beale since the soap began 36 years ago, however he will be hoping there is less drama on this show as someone who prefers to avoid confrontation.

Woodyatt has had plenty of time to prepare for the show, not only as he is the last to enter Gwyrch Castle, with friend and Coronation Street legend Simon Gregson, but because he knew he would appear on the show since last December.

“I’ve watched this programme since it started with Tony Blackburn,” he said. “You’ve got an idea of what they’re going to be throwing at you, because obviously they change it up every year.

“The closer it gets, there’s a little bit of nerves, but I know what I’ve let myself in for, so it’s going to be more a case of how I deal with that.”

Woodyatt, though born in East London, may also have a head start for being familiar to the area, describing himself as “half Welsh”, having attended Llanidloes High School in Powys, and playing charity football matches in Rhyl and Llandudno.

“I’m thrilled it’s in Wales,” he said.

Adam Woodyatt at the Inside Soap Awards in 2017. Picture: PA

Adam Woodyatt at the Inside Soap Awards in 2017. Picture: PA

“I nearly went to school in Harlech, back in 1983, but we didn’t settle up there. We settled in mid-Wales instead. Wales is quite familiar to me.

“If it had been in Australia I’m sure I would have loved that, but it would have been a different challenge and different environment.”

Woodyatt, who won British Soap Awards for best actor, outstanding achievement and best on-screen partnership, has met some of his camp mates already, including Gregson, Emmerdale actor Danny Miller, whom he played charity football with, and he has been interviewed by Richard Madeley.

But the Liverpool fan is most looking forward to meeting legendary Newcastle United and Spurs player David Ginola.

“My cousin Matt wants me to spoon Ginola,” he said. “I think I’ll have to ask him first, you know. It’s got to be a consensual thing.

“He might be offended because I’m a Liverpool supporter and he’s Spurs.”

Coronation Streets Simon Gregson is also set to appear in the 2021 series at Gwyrch Castle.

Coronation Street's Simon Gregson is also set to appear in the 2021 series at Gwyrch Castle.

Woodyatt may hope he will not have too much difficulty separating himself from Ian Beale, who regularly gets into conflict with neighbours.

“I’m not a fan of it,” he said. “There’s usually a better way, by discussing, listening and considering everyone’s feelings.”

The team skills he has evidently developed over the years on one of Britain’s most beloved TV sets could stand him in good stead, though he is not sure how he will fare in the camp and the trials that await him.

He said: “Juggling, that’s a great skill, no, I can’t juggle. I’ve just got normal things that I can do. I’m crap at DIY but I’m quite practical. I can cook a bit, but I’m sure everybody else in there can.

“I’m really good at drinking coffee, eating ice cream and riding a bike. That’s really not going to help me.

“I genuinely don’t know because they change thing up every year, there’s a basic formula to it but there’s going to be fish guts involved somewhere or offal, it’s going to smell bad, it’s not going to be visually appealing, it’s going to be unpleasant.

“I’ve no idea how I’ll react or how I’ll cope with it. It’s one of the reasons for going in there, to challenge yourself in a relatively safe environment.

“I don’t think you can compare staying in a castle to anything. It’s not a normal situation that you’re in, or the circumstances. When do you get thrown without your friends or any of your relatives into an environment when you’re with 11 strangers? You don’t. And then to be faced with things you wouldn’t do; you wouldn’t stick a goldfish bowl full of maggots on your head.”

Woodyatt has had tips from previous contestants and mates including EastEnders actor Shane Richie and Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison, but he wants to discover the show that he has watched for so long for himself.

“I’ll be honest I didn’t actually ask them, and I didn’t want to know because I just want to go in and find out about it for myself,” he said. “I would have actually quite liked it if I hadn’t found out about who the other 10 are, going in completely blind and not knowing.

“Obviously, some people I do know, and I know their history, but others I don’t, and I’ve deliberately not Googled it and taken time to research them as I’d rather they told me who they are.

“People do forget that Ian is a character on a TV programme, that’s just a job. This is actually me. It’s a different thing, different genre. It’s not about proving anything or showing anything, I just want to go out and have some fun.”

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! returns to ITV2 at 9pm on Thursday.

Follow the latest updates with the Rhyl Journal and North Wales Pioneer.