Nicola Roberts has revealed the Queen Bee costume she wore during The Masked Singer was a nightmare.

The show winner said it was stiflingly hot, made her feel claustrophobic and even affected her breathing.

The wardrobe department on the ITV show told the Mirror the first time she wore it she felt panicky after struggling to catch her breath, which caused her anxiety.

Pop star Nicola said: “It could be claustrophobic at times. The mask was so hot and you’re really just breathing in your own carbonated air, which was the worst part.

“Keeping myself under a mask throughout filming was really frustrating at times.

“Even out of costume I was in a balaclava, hoodie, mask and gloves. Not being able to open the window in the dressing room, out of fear a member of crew might see in, was really hard.”

Nicola Roberts: 'Keeping myself under a mask throughout filming was really frustrating'

Nicola, 34, added that she lied to friends as she battled over the weeks to keep her identity secret.

The final of the singing contest was aired at the weekend but was filmed some time back.

The former Girls Aloud star said: “Someone from the show called me the next day to ask how I felt after I won. I said I didn’t feel like anything because I can’t tell anyone or celebrate.

“But I will be able to celebrate with everyone now. My friends were asking where I was. Every day I was having to lie.”

The other two finalists have also talked about how hard it was coping with their costumes. Jason Manford, who was Hedgehog on the show, said: “I had a backpack on as well, which had all the spikes.

Nicola in girlband Girls Aloud

“Between takes it was often held by two people because it was so heavy. It was like carrying a 14-year-old on your back.”

The comedian, 38, added: “The detail of the mask was wonderful – the little monocle and cravat.

“I want to keep it for all fancy-dress parties ever.”

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Singing star Katherine Jenkins, 39, who was Octopus said: “I struggled physically because the costume
was one of the heaviest so dancing became quite the workout.

"Eventually the team had the genius idea to help me by adding wheels. Suddenly I was floating and spinning like a Dalek.”

A peak of 8.4 million viewers watched the final. The Masked Singer has been recommissioned for a second series.