I’m A Celebrity finalist Jordan North could have been killed in Northern Ireland’s worst terror atrocity.
The Radio One DJ – whose dad was stationed in Omagh during the 1990s – was meant to go into the town the day it was hit by a devastating bomb blast that killed 29 people including a woman pregnant with twins.
Speaking about the Real IRA blast on August 15, 1998, when he was aged eight, Jordan said: “My dad was in the Army for 24 years. In 1997 his battalion, the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment, was posted to Omagh so we moved out there.
“In August 1998, when the Omagh bomb happened, we were there at the time and we were meant to be going into town that day, into Omagh.
“But I’m one of four boys and my mum said we were all playing up. It was in the middle of the summer holidays and it was hot. It wasn’t raining for once. But my mum said, ‘I’m not going into town with these lot. They’re doing my head in’, so we decided to go for a walk.
“We were in Gortin Glen when the bomb went off. We heard it from there. It was an awful time. Dad rushed us all into the car because he knew we had to be back on camp.
“I remember I was only eight years old and it was one of the first times I felt really sad.”
Jordan revealed his pain over the bomb speaking on a BBC Radio Ulster show called Lockdown Lowdown aired earlier this year before he went into the I'm A Celebrity castle.
The DJ was invited onto the Radio Ulster show when his Belfast-born friend and Radio One colleague Mairead, discovered his strong ties to Northern Ireland.
Jordan, whose quick wit has helped win over viewers of I’m A Celeb, told the presenters both his best pals at university had come from Northern Ireland and that he got on so well with them because he appreciated their humour.
He added the Northern Irish accent was his favourite.
“I love people from Northern Ireland,” he said.
“I think they’ve got a really good strong sense of humour, that self-deprecating sense of humour that I love, and how they’re not afraid to take the mick out of each other.
“I think it stems from the history of Northern Ireland, like ‘we’ve had bad times and we laugh’, like if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, kind of thing.”
He recounted a story he’d been told about his dad and uncle, who was also a soldier, stopping a man in a case of mistaken identity, and how he’d turned out to be former Catchphrase host Roy Walker.
Jordan also said that he hoped to visit Northern Ireland again as he would love a night out in Belfast and a trip to the Giant’s Causeway. He also said he’d love to revisit Omagh and that he thinks he would still remember his way around the town.
He said: “Big love to the people of Northern Ireland. I think you’re great and it’s a lovely part of the world.
“I always say it is the fittest accent too. I had the same conversation with my housemates recently.
“They were saying the Geordie accent was the best, or Essex or the Scottish accent but I’m like, ‘No, it’s the Northern Irish one for me’.”
Tonight Jordan faces Giovanna Fletcher and Vernon Kay in the final of I'm A Celebrity. He went in as a relatively unknown DJ but will leave with millions of fans and the prospect of landing other TV appearances and a host of promotional opportunities which will make him rich.
Humble Jordan had no plans to spend big when he left the show – saying on his way into camp that part of his appearance fee would be spent buying his mum a new kitchen.