A 'gutted' Richard Madeley reassured Ant and Dec he was 'fit as a fiddle' and has been given a 'clean bill of health' in his first interview after leaving the I'm A Celebrity camp during Friday night's episode.
In a pre-recorded chat the broadcaster, 65, told the Geordie duo that 'if it wasn't for Covid, he'd still be in the game' and that ITV were 'adamant' he was sent to hospital to be checked over.
In a major blow to the show as one of their top signings, Richard was taken ill on Thursday morning hours after participating in a gruelling trial and now can't return as he has broken the show's 'Covid bubble'.
Shock departure: A 'gutted' Richard Madeley reassured Ant and Dec he was 'fit as a fiddle' in his first interview after leaving the I'm A Celebrity camp during Friday night's episode
It comes as I'm A Celeb bosses were forced to pre-record Friday night's show amid safety concerns for contestants as Storm Arwen hit Gwrych castle.
Ant and Dec didn't present the episode live for the first time in the show's 19-year history and filmed their segments earlier on Friday afternoon ahead of the storm worsening.
On Friday's episode Richard joined Ant and Dec for an interview and joked as he mimed removing a thermometer: 'I'll just remove the thermometer… yes, still normal.'
Asked if he was feeling okay the star said: 'I feel as fit as a fiddle and I am fit as a fiddle. And you know if it wasn't for Covid I'd be back there sort of eating rice and beans.
Chatting: In a pre-recorded chat the broadcaster, 65, told the Geordie duo that 'if it wasn't for Covid, he'd still be in the game' and that ITV were 'adamant' he was sent to hospital to be checked over
Oh dear: In a major blow to the show as one of their top signings, Richard was taken ill on Thursday morning hours after participating in a gruelling trial and now can't return as he has broken the show's 'Covid bubble'
'I had to leave… it's a Covid situation. It's still biting our bums isn't it? What happened was, I had just a funny little turn quite sort of late in the morning.'
He continued: 'ITV are so good with duty of care. They were adamant. They said 'No, we have to make sure that you're OK.' I said, 'But I am OK.' They said, 'We have to make sure.' So I went to the local hospital – I was only in there for about an hour and a half – I was given really thorough checks and I was given a completely clean bill of health, I'm absolutely fine. No matter what you might have read, I'm absolutely fine.'
Richard then added: 'But I did hang on after I was discharged for about 20 minutes because I went to the canteen, seriously, and had a bacon butty. That was my first port of call for a bacon butty. And a huge cup of tea, it was amazing.
Having his say: On Friday's episode Richard joined Ant and Dec for an interview and joked as he mimed removing a thermometer: 'I'll just remove the thermometer… yes, still normal'
Big news: At the start of the episode, the other campmates were informed that Richard wouldn't be coming back and were shown a video message
'I ate hospital food, exactly. I'm absolutely fine. As I say, if it wasn't for Covid, I'd still be in the game. I'm gutted. I'm gutted, I really am.'
At the start of the episode, the other campmates were informed that Richard wouldn't be coming back and were shown a video message.
In the clip Richard said: 'Hi guys, first thing to tell you straight away is I'm completely fine, it was what was known as a false alarm but I had to come out for a couple of hours of medical checks.
Gross: Richard participated in a horrid bush-tucker trial in which he crawled through fish guts and rotting fruit and vegetables which he complained were cold – before eating a squirrel for dinner
'I'm as fit as a fiddle in which case I could/should be back in with you right now. But it's our old friend Covid, I had to come out into the Covid world and I can't risk bringing the bug back in with me and ruining the experience for you guys, the programme and the viewers. So that's it, my adventure is over.'
He continued: 'I just want to say how much I love you, you know I mean that and how much I'm grateful to you for everything you've said and done for me over the past few days and I'm going to set up that WhatsApp group we spoke about for when you come out.
'We can all talk to each other again and hopefully meet up. Anyway, I'll be watching over the next few weeks and I wish you all the love and luck in the world, I can't wait to see who wins.'
Out and about: Richard appeared frail but in high spirits as he was pictured at his home on Friday
Emmerdale Danny Miller was the first to react, saying: 'Waking up this morning in camp and not seeing Richard's smiley face was hard.'
Former BBC Breakfast star Louise Minchin added: 'Every time we walked past his [Richard's] empty bed it was another wrench to all our hearts. Frankie and I are hoping he'll be back so we made his bed for him.
'We saw his face, we saw how he was, we saw Richard back to his cheery, brilliant, funny self.'
Frankie said: 'We're sad and we miss him. Of course he did the perfect video!'
Elsewhere in his interview with Ant and Dec, Richard also discussed whether the show was what he expected it would be.
'Gutted': In a statement on Thursday Richard, who was believed to be at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, reassured fans he's 'fine' after his health scare
He responded: 'Yes and no. The structure of the show I was really familiar with. But one of the reasons I wanted to do it, and I said yes this year as opposed to no all the years before, I was developing a real curiosity about what it's like actually psychologically.
'I know what the games are like, I've done a few when I've been out on the ITV2 show in Australia. But I wanted to see what it was actually like, almost journalistically, in a nice way, from the inside. And that was a revelation. I learned that the psychological pressures on you…
'I mean the pressures you put us under when we went into The Clink, into the prison, I thought when you said you're going to spend your first night in The Clink, I thought yeah that's a funny gimmick for the cameras and for the audience… but no, we were properly in prison, we were locked in, huge gates and it was claustrophobic.'
Asked which Castle buddies he'll miss he said: 'Oh blimey, I'll miss David, I'll miss Louise, I'll miss Arlene because they're very sweet people, they really are. He's very macho isn't he? He's sort of your wing man. He's a very thoughtful, kind man and he was very comforting at times to people. I'll miss them all.'
He concluded the interview by saying: 'Thanks for the opportunity. Thanks for asking me, I enjoyed it.'
Richard was forced to quit I'm A Celeb after becoming ill following a gruelling bushtucker trial in which he crawled through fish guts and rotting fruit and vegetables which he complained were cold – before eating a squirrel for dinner.
The Good Morning Britain presenter was treated at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Wales – which meant that he broke Gwrych Castle's Covid-safe bubble and ultimately had to leave the show.
A spokesman for I'm A Celebrity said: 'Our strict Covid protocols means Richard has sadly had to leave the show as he is no longer in the bubble the celebrities form when entering the castle. He has been a truly brilliant camp mate and we thank him for being part of this series.'
It was then revealed on Friday that Richard is still 'too ill' to appear on Good Morning Britain on Monday, despite being pictured outside his home looking jovial today.
A storm is coming: I'm A Celeb bosses were forced to pre-record Friday night's show amid safety concerns for contestants as Storm Arwen hit Gwrych castle
Discussing his experience on Friday show, fellow GMB star Richard Arnold also spoke of the host's whopping £200,000 fee, admitting he's 'not sure he'll forfeit his fee yet'.
Ben Shephard admitted that show bosses are unsure whether the former This Morning anchor would be well enough to join them, stating: 'Apparently we'll be talking to him on Monday. Maybe we won't. We're hearing he's too ill. Okay, hopefully we'll talk to Richard on Monday.'
Sharing his opinion on Madeley having to leave the camp, Ben added: 'It was short and sweet. It's such a shame because Richard was the person who was trying to persuade the others not to leave and all of a sudden, he's gone.
'It sounds like it was a bit of a Covid-19 protocol issue, he broke the bubble to go to hospital and then couldn't go back in.
'I feel like someone's made a bit of a mistake there. It's such a shame though because he's already been such an integral part of the show.'
Elsewhere on Friday night's episode of I'm A Celebrity, it was Naughty Boy who took on the Trial. It came just after he had threatened to quit, saying he didn't want to continue in the castle and wanted to go home to see his mum.
He arrived and said to Ant and Dec: 'I'm actually pretty pumped. This is my first solo Trial, I'm looking forward to it, focussed.'
Ant explained: 'This is Creepy Closets. Behind us are six Creepy Closets hidden within them are 11 stars. Two minutes in each closet to find the stars. Once you get a star, pop it in your star bag.'
Having a tough time: Elsewhere on Friday night's episode of I'm A Celebrity, it was Naughty Boy who took on the Trial
Dec added: 'Now, this is a Trial, so the chances are you won't be alone in any of them.'
As Naughty Boy started searching through the clothes for stars, he was pelted with fish guts and offal.
As he moved through the different areas, he was showered with various critters. Ant and Dec tried to encourage him to move quicker as he went through each room.
Naughty Boy repeated: 'Woah, woah, woah' as he faced the different rooms.
In the final room he faced corn snakes but regardless very quickly found one of the stars in there. And in the final moments of his time found the last one, and just got it in his bag, completing all 11 out of 11.
Challenging: As Naughty Boy started searching through the clothes for stars, he was pelted with fish guts and offal
Afterwards he said: 'I can't wait to go in victorious. Full house! Who would have thought it?'
He said: 'The camp's happy, I dedicated these stars to Richard because we miss him and we love him. I hope he sees this, I'm just gassed fully. The boy became a man.'
Adam said: 'To see him [Naughty Boy] come back in, it was almost like he was floating on air. He was so happy with himself, you could see the confidence just rising up in him. That was a nice moment, a really nice moment.'
Kadeena said: 'He's happy. It's so nice to see him back.'
Danny asked him: 'Are you going to stick around now? You're not going anywhere are you?'
Confirming he'd stay, Naughty Boy said: 'I can't… after 11 stars!'
Danny replied: 'Good lad.'
Tough: As he moved through the different areas, he was showered with various critters. Ant and Dec tried to encourage him to move quicker as he went through each room
I'm A Celeb bosses were forced to pre-record Friday night's show amid safety concerns for contestants as Storm Arwen hits Gwrych castle.
Ant & Dec didn't present the episode live for the first time in the show's 19-year history and filmed their segments earlier this afternoon ahead of the storm worsening.
Storm Arwen was due to hit the local area around 9pm, which is the same time the episode aired on ITV, with producers fearing the impending weather conditions could impact the satellite link.
It comes amid mounting fears that I'm A Celeb bosses have made this year's series 'too tough' following Richard Madeley's shock departure on Thursday.
Doing what they can: Speaking in a short clip posted to their Instagram ahead of the show the duo explained about the change to the show, with the storm and strong winds clearly audible in the background
An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline: 'Tonight's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! will be broadcast as a pre-recorded show rather than live due to the developing Storm Arwen and precautionary measures we're putting into place on production.
'Ant & Dec will record their links early evening and these will be played out during tonight's show. Our celebrities will remain inside the castle which is secure and we have contingencies in place to cover all weather scenarios to ensure the safety of our cast and crew.'
Speaking in a short clip posted to their Instagram ahead of the show the duo explained about the change to the show, with the storm and strong winds clearly audible in the background.
Dec said: 'So you've probably heard we are having to record the show a bit earlier tonight because of the winds and Storm Arwen. It's bad, it's really windy isn't it, you can hear the wind rattling, so we have got to get it done now and get out of here.
Location: The 19th century castle is positioned high up on a hill in an open space, less than a mile from Liverpool Bay which borders the Irish sea
'It's due to get worse later, so everybody is afraid that the satellite is going to go down and all of that so it's a bit risky to do a live show. So we will have to do it recorded tonight, that's the first time we've ever done that.
He then joked: 'It's very very windy, and even worse for that it was lentils for lunch! So Ant is a bit windy as well!'
Gwrych castle has been taking a battering with gale force winds and rain bringing down tree branches and safety signs.
The Met Office has warned there is worse to come for the area around the castle later tonight from a storm they have given the Welsh name of Arwen.
The first heavy blasts meant security guards who had been brought into Gwrych Castle to protect the eleven remaining celebrities had to leave their posts to retrieve and reposition fencing blown down by the extreme weather.
Road signs which had been held down with sand bags were felled and blown into the road as cars had to swerve to avoid them.
Bad weather: Fencing and signs have been blown over in the area surrounding the derelict Welsh castle
Extreme weather warnings have forced the show's producers to take emergency measures to protect its stars who are staying in the 19th century castle.
The Met Office said: 'Storm Arwen will bring very strong northerly winds into coastal parts of Wales and parts of western England Friday night and into Saturday. '
Gwrych castle is positioned high up on a hill in an open space, less than a mile from Liverpool Bay which borders the Irish sea.
The Met office added: 'Flying debris is likely and could lead to Injuries or danger to life; Probably damage to trees, temporary structures and buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs.
'Some roads and bridges are likely to close; There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
'Injuries and danger to life is likely from large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.'
Windy: The Met Office said: 'Storm Arwen will bring very strong northerly winds into coastal parts of Wales and parts of western England Friday night and into Saturday'