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The Mail on Sunday - 2021-11-21

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Arlene’s answer to her terror of Bushtucker trials ...mindfulness

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By Katie Hind SHOWBUSINESS EDITOR

ARLENE Phillips has resorted to mindfulness meditation to prepare for the terrifying Bushtucker trials she will face on I’m A Celebrity. The former Strictly judge, who at 78 is the oldest contestant to take part in the ITV reality show, has been learning breathing exercises to help her quell her fears when she encounters creepy-crawlies such as cockroaches and spiders. Ms Phillips, who will be unveiled as a camp mate in the first episode of this year’s series tonight, said: ‘I have been learning to breathe through my nose. I usually breathe through my mouth but now I know I have to keep that shut and find my centre. I put my hands on my ribs, breathe through my nose and that is my constant. ‘And as I do that, I’m imagining whatever might be coming in my face or around my neck. I’m going to try to find a place that I can go to that will take me away from what is really happening. It’s going to be about being in the moment.’ The founder of 1980s dance group Hot Gossip, who was sacked from Strictly and replaced by Alesha Dixon in 2009, said she also fears ‘war wounds’ from her dancing career might hold her back. These include an injured left knee that needed surgery. Ms Phillips said she had been asked by ITV to take part on the show for the last ten years but finally decided to say yes after putting it on her ‘bucket list’. ‘I want to do lots of things before I die. I like to do things out of my comfort zone, often things that I didn’t think I would do,’ she said. ‘One thing I haven’t done yet is have a spider walk over my hand, so why not?’ The ex-BBC star, who is a grandmother of two, also confessed that 12 years after she was sacked by the BBC she can finally watch Strictly again. She said: ‘I love the show, I watched it for the first time last Saturday night.’

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