I’m A Celebrity 2024: Aussie ‘national treasure’ announced as intruder

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Australian showbiz legend Denise Drysdale has been unveiled as the latest celeb heading into the South African jungle.

The TV veteran, 75, affectionately known as ‘Ding Dong’, will join Channel 10’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! camp from Monday night.

Heading in alongside the likes of former Hollywood child star Frankie Muniz, Candice Warner, Michelle Bridges and Skye Wheatley, who have already been in camp for a week, Drysdale is competing to be crowned Queen of the Jungle in a bid to win $100,000 for her chosen charity.

And while she concedes she’s ever so slightly older than the other camp mates, Drysdale is confident her mental resilience will see her to the end.

“There isn’t going to be a breaking point for me,” she confidently tells news.com.au.

“I’m going to see it through, whatever it takes. That’s my attitude going into it.

“Because it’s a small amount of time in your life for an experience that not many people get. And there are so many things wrong in this world. If I can’t put myself through that short time, then I’m not worth myself.

“I’m ready for it. Anything in the camp won’t bother me.”

While past I’m A Celeb stars of Drysdale’s stature have been able to secure unique clauses in their contracts, like Kerri-Anne Kennerley, who last year was able to smuggle in her makeup, and the late Shane Warne, who was granted cigarette breaks, the former dancer is keen to seize the opportunity to live off the land.

“This is actually the most perfect job for me,” she says.

“Of course, when I’m working, I’ve got the full makeup and go to a lot of trouble, but if I’m not working, I don’t put makeup on and I don’t even look in the mirror.

“Sometimes I look at myself sometimes and think, ‘you probably should be looking in the mirror’.”

In fact, Drysdale is so hellbent on embracing the jungle way, she’ll likely be the only person showering in her birthday suit, as one of the few celebs involved who told us they would be willing to strip off for shower time – so long as she’s not in full view of her camp mates.

“When I was building a house, we had a caravan we lived in with an outdoor shower,” she says.

“All the wiggly worms used to come out and into the shower, and the first night was awful, but by the third night, I’d named them all.

“But, if someone can see me nude, I’ll probably yell, ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!’”

Drysdale, who became a prominent go-go dancer in Melbourne aged 17 before shooting to notoriety in the early ‘70s as Ernie Sigley’s barrel girl on The Ernie Sigley Show, has been tuning into the show over the past week, and sees herself getting along with the entire line-up.

When asked how she would feel if former ABC boss Ita Buttrose entered the jungle, Drysdale was quick to water down long-running feud rumours between the duo.

“We’d just cope the same as we did when we worked together,” Drysdale said.

“There are things you have to do in life, and you do them and you just do them.

“The thing is, I don’t think Ita would go into the jungle. I can’t see her in there.”

Back in 2017, Drysdale made headlines when she threw a brussels sprout at Buttrose while they were filming a Christmas song for a Studio 10 segment.

While rumours circulated of ongoing tension between the pair in the months afterwards, followed by Drysdale’s on-air silence when Buttrose left the now defunct Ten program tin 2018, Drysdale claimed the pair were “fine” now.

“It was one tiny, tiny bloody brussels sprout and it got so much publicity. It was ridiculous,” she said.

“I think somebody said I’d thrown a kilo at one stage. If I knew it was going to get that much publicity, I’d have thrown a turkey.”

Drysdale’s chosen charity is Gotcha4Life Foundation, a men’s mental health organisation.

“Mental health for men is important because they don’t talk about it,” she says.

“If someone’s in trouble, and they say they’re OK but you get that feeling they’re not, you’ve got to keep an eye out. Don’t let them go.”

I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! continues Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 10

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