Celebrity Hunted Series 4 - interviews with famous fugitives

Category: Interview, News Release

The award-winning Celebrity Hunted for Stand Up To Cancer returns as eight famous faces turn fugitive and attempt to evade capture from an elite team of 30 hunters, led by Hunted’s first female chief, Cleveland Police Assistant Chief Constable, Lisa Theaker. Taking part are Olympian silver medallist Iwan Thomas with two-time Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead, Made in Chelsea stars Ollie and Gareth Locke-Locke, actress Chizzy Akudolu with queen of UK garage Lisa Maffia and Drag Race UK winner The Vivienne with international reality TV star Chloe Veitch. 

The celebrities will attempt to stay off the radar and remain at large for two weeks as the crack team of hunters – a handpicked team of police, intelligence and military personnel armed with the powers of the state – throw everything at the cause in an attempt to track them down. Can the celebrity fugitives escape the glare of the spotlight and remain under the radar for 14 days? 

Celebrity Hunted starts on Sunday 30th January at 9pm. All episodes will be available on All 4. 


Why did you sign up for Celebrity Hunted?

I always want to go on an adventure. I love adventures and challenges. It's a thing that a lot of people don't get the opportunity to do. And the fact that it's for Stand Up To Cancer makes it even better.

Are you good at teamwork?

I'm very good at teamwork, after spending 11 years on Made in Chelsea you're good at teamwork.

Do you think that doing it with your husband Gareth with work in your favour?

There haven't been very many married couples and we're actually calling this our honeymoon because we haven't had a honeymoon yet. So, this is our official honeymoon. Hopefully we're still together at the end.

What do you think Gareth’s strengths are?

He's the most stubborn man in the entire world in a competitive way. I'm slightly more of a dreamer. So between us we can add tenacity and fairy-tale all at the same time.

What are his weaknesses?

If he doesn’t eat, he becomes a bit of a knob, I'll say that differently, if he doesn't eat, he can be slightly more difficult. So, let's hope he's fed. I've got a banana and a Mars bar in my bag at all times.

Is earning spending money going to be a priority?

I will do anything I possibly can to make sure he's fed. Otherwise that it will end in divorce. Being recognisable around Britain helps because I think we might be able to call on some lovely people that might be able to help us.

What tactics will you use to evade the Hunters?

We do love a good decoy, so we’ve got that, and I think they might underestimate us slightly because I think they might just think we're Chelsea. But we’ve got some ideas to stay ahead.

What do you think of the Hunters?

They have a job to do. They seem quite scary bunch, but we'll soon find out. I think if we smile through, it might be fine.

Do you have a strong network ready to help you?

Luckily, we know lots of people around the UK so we might have a slight advantage.

Do you think your fame will help you or hold you back?

That’s a double-edged question because yes it will absolutely hold us back because if people want photos they will put them up on social media. However, we can always call on them to help us out when we’re in need.

How are your survival skills?

Luckily Bear Grylls taught me everything he knows on The Island five years ago so we might be OK, just! And I’m a strong fisherman, weirdly, so rivers of the UK beware.

Are you competitive?

Gareth is the competitive one, I do the jokes really. But Gareth will put me back into my box.

The show supports Stand Up To Cancer are you proud to be supporting such a great cause?

I will always support Stand Up To Cancer as long as I possibly can. It’s a privilege to work with them.

Has your own life ever been touched by cancer?

I think all of our lives have been touched by cancer and anything you can do to help the issue is great. It would be silly not to.

Is there anything that's going to make you want to contact your family or friends back at home?

The only thing I’ve got is my two dogs - they worry me enormously. If I’m going to crack it’s because of those two dogs that I’m dying to see.

Has anyone given you any tips?

Jamie Laing spoke to me, so has Lydia Bright and there have certainly been tips from those two, you might even see Lydia in the programme.

Do you have any hidden skills or talents you can tell us about?

I’m weirdly a good runner and a good jumper. I’m not sure how that’s going to help in this, but it could help get me out of a difficult position.

Have you ever worn a disguise?

No, but you’ll definitely be seeing that.

Have you ever used a fake name?

Yes in the past. Generally it helps when I use them for restaurants. I always feel sorry for Ollie Locke the rugby player having to use that name because he’ll get the worst table in the house…

What vehicles can you drive or operate?

I can drive. I'm not an HGV qualified person but I can give it a go. I have a boat, so I can sail, and I have my powerboat licence too. So, there's something I can do.

Are you good at travelling light?

I’m a stickler for cleanliness so I always have antibacterial wipes, but as long as I have that and clean underwear I should be alright.

Have you watched the show and learned from previous celebrities’ mistakes?

I have had a look and it seems like everyone goes on their own journey with this. I think don’t do too much planning and see where you end up.

How are you under pressure?

I’m better under pressure than not.

Can you slum it?

I’m weirdly quite good at that. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to slum it.

What will you miss most about your normal life?

My mobile.

Will your friends and family lie for you if they get questioned by The Hunters?

Yes, I’ve told them they have to! They have no choice.

What will be hardest about living off the grid for you?

Not going to restaurants.


Why did you sign up for Celebrity Hunted?

It’s a rare opportunity. It's a life experience. How often do you actually break the law and how often do you actually get the chance to run?

Are you good at teamwork?

My husband and I are living in synergy. We are symbiotic to the point that we work well together. As long as he tows the line, we’ll be fine.

Do you think that doing it with your husband will make it harder or easier?

It makes it easier. It's almost a bit like marital therapy. Hopefully we make a good team, or we will be re-evaluating the marriage.

What are Ollie’s strengths and weaknesses?

Ollie is very personable which helps a lot to get help from anyone. So that is probably his biggest skill and one of my biggest weaknesses. His biggest weakness is that he is a massive faffer. He will take a while to get his shit together and get out somewhere. I might have to put my foot down in that respect.

What skills will you be able to use from your day job?

I'm very organised. I'm very pragmatic, very level-headed. I'm good under pressure. I don't get stressed out too easily.

What tactics will you use to evade the Hunters?

We want to be under the radar, be aware of our surroundings, mix it up, be very unpredictable and make it not very obvious what we’re doing.

What do you think of the Hunters?

Probably a bunch of tough-job, over-compensating sort of people who we’re going to get the better of.

Do you have a strong network in place to help you evade capture?

Luckily we have a very strong and wide network in the UK. So on top of getting random members of the public to help us our network will be formidable.

Do you think your fame will help or hinder you?

I think it will be an advantage. I don’t think anyone will want to sell us down the river and our links with our fans will be a useful thing.

What are your survival skills like?

I’m very up for camping. Very up for being out in the woods. I don’t mind being out in the open. I’m not a very fussy eater so I’ll be able to eat berries or moss. I do get hangry, it’s one of my biggest character flaws. I live to eat; I don’t eat to live.

Are you competitive?

Wildly. I went to a sporty school. I had an older brother and I grew up in a very competitive environment. I have to be right and I have to win.

Wil it cause friction if Ollie doesn’t take it seriously?

Yes. I do corral him along. He does frustrate me.

Are you proud to be supporting Stand Up To Cancer by appearing on the show?

Yes I am. Just like almost everyone, my life has been touched by cancer so it’s always going to be a great cause to support and one that everyone should get together and fight.

Can you talk about how your life has been touched by cancer?

My uncle sadly lost his life to cancer when he was 65. And it all happened very quickly. He was a vivacious life force in the family, and it was such a big part that suddenly became missing. All the hospitals and hospices and carers you see just shows you how you need to help towards funding those and finding a cure for the future.

Do you have any hidden skills or talents?

I’m quite the woodsman, I’m great at camping, my husband is a brilliant fisherman and I can make fires.

Have you ever worn a disguise?

No but my answer will be different next week

What about a false name?

Yes, my Uber name is Othello Moriarty which gets me into all sorts of trouble!

What vehicles can you drive?

I just have a standard UK licence but I’m comfortable driving big vehicles.

Are you good at travelling light?

Yes I am! I used to be a pain in the arse, and pack everything but now I’m quite stringent and know I can wash things. I will find washing machines or at least a river and a rock.

Are you going to rope in famous friends to help you on the way?

Yes we have a few! Some familiar faces will pop up on the way.

Have you watched old episodes?

Because of my competitive nature I have been through every episode with a fine toothcomb, so I think the gist is don’t use a phone, don’t get caught on CCTV, and don’t use a bank card.

Is there anything that might tempt you to call home?

Our dogs. We have a new puppy who is only 22 weeks old. He’s a long haired chihuahua called Aslan and a seven-year-old Pomchi called Bear.

How good are you under pressure?

I’m fantastic under pressure it’s one of my main strengths.

Can you slum it if you have to?

Yes absolutely, I don’t mind that at all. I once slept in a skip.

What will you miss most about your normal life?

Restaurants, I’m a proper foodie.

Will your family lie for you?

100 per cent. My father is proper old East End. He won’t be shaken at all.

What do you think you will find hardest about living off the grid?

The paranoia about whether we have been seen or not. My phone and being away for two weeks and thinking about all the messages when I turn it back on.


Why did you decide to do Celebrity Hunted?

It's one of those experiences which you don't get to have unless you're actually on the run and I don't plan on committing a crime any time soon!. It'll be fascinating to find out what it is actually like to be lacking in resources and constantly looking over your shoulder.

Are you good at teamwork?

I'm really good at teamwork. As an actor you’re always working as part of an ensemble. ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’. It's always great to have somebody else by your side.

Why did you team up with Lisa?

I'm a massive So Solid Crew fan. We seem to have the same energy and I just knew we would get on. The first time we spoke on FaceTime, I was surprised we'd never met before because we are so similar. Maybe that’s too much fabulosity in one pairing. And also, volume.

What skills do you think you’ll be able to transfer from your profession as an actress?

We're going to go for the element of disguise since there's so much CCTV, and if they track us down to a shop we're going to go with accents and characters. We definitely can't go in as ourselves.

Any other tactics to evade the Hunters?

Yes, Lisa is going to try not to laugh so much because her laugh is extremely distinctive. I'm going to try to be a bit quieter. But we're going to keep moving. We're not necessarily going to be staying with famous people because that's probably what they're expecting. We plan on doing a little bit of work on the run for our supper. If we had the resources and had the money it would be great to be staying in hotels and getting massages for two weeks, but who wants to see that?

What work are you going to do?

We have this tomato farm as one of our contacts so we plan on working there so we can get fed. We might take a couple of tomatoes for the road.

Are you competitive?

We are in this to win it. I don’t really enter competitions to lose. Except Strictly, I thought I’d get to week three or four, but it wasn’t to be. Big fan of that show and I’d always wanted to do it. But quiz shows and the like… I enter those to win.

Do you think your fame will help or hinder you?

Both. There are people who know who I am, but there are also those that don’t. Where it's going to help is when we need a favour. And where it's going to hinder is if we really don't want to be recognised. What's great is that we're going to have masks because we're still in a pandemic. I think that will really help.

What do you think of the Hunters?

They’re incredible. They're relentless but I'm not scared. I'm excited. I don't want to see or meet one, though. Not until after the show.

Do you have a strong network?

I have quite a strong network. I started hitting up people who I hadn't really even thought of as a contact and they were coming through with amazing ideas and concepts. Lisa's got a very extensive contact list. Between us two we've got a pretty good plan. Although obviously plans can change at a moment's notice.

What are your survival skills like?

I know how to go into a supermarket and buy food. I don't know how to cook it on a campfire. I've never been camping. I've never slept outside. I'm not great with bugs. So that'll be interesting. Anything that flies in front of my face freaks me out. Also, I have to have a shower wherever I stay. Good luck finding that if we’re stuck in a field.

Are you proud to be supporting Stand Up To Cancer?

Extremely proud. Cancer is one of those diseases that everybody knows about. We all understand the importance of donating to cancer charities. It affects us all in some way or another. Either you’ve suffered from it or you’ve lost someone to it, or you know someone who is battling it. We all have a stake in cancer. Cancer is not sexist, it’s not racist, it’s not ageist, it doesn’t care who you are.

Has your life ever been touched by cancer?

I’ve lost a few people but most recently my Aunty Mary, my mother’s cousin. She passed earlier this year from breast cancer. She was an amazing woman. One of those people who was never judgmental, always smiling. Her children have just been incredible in the way they supported and looked after their mum, I’m in awe of them. It’s awful seeing someone you love slipping away. Now she’s out of pain but for the people that are left, it's very hard to deal with. So, this is for Aunty Mary and for her four children, Emeka, Ikeme, Nneka and Nnamdi, who were her absolute rocks.

You have a great sense of humour; will you be using humour to cope with the pressure of being relentlessly hunted down?

I use humour practically all the time to deal with any kind of pressure. It's a great antidote, but it's also a great way to hide how you're feeling. I have depression and there's times when I haven't got time to break down so I will use humour to get me through that day, to get me home where I feel safe. Then I can release. We shouldn't bottle it up but there are times when you've got a job to do. It's just become who I am. It works for me so I'm happy.

Is there anything about the pressure and isolation of the show that worries you in terms of your depression?

Absolutely. I don't know how I'm going to cope when I am on the run. I won’t have the support mechanisms that I usually have in place. I'm hoping and praying that it doesn't become an issue. The thing with depression is that you never know when it's going to hit. Usually, for me, it’s when I'm in a really good place. It's gonna be interesting. Lisa's a great person to talk to. We will basically be building each other up. If one of us is feeling down, the other will be there for support and vice versa.

Do you have any hidden skills or talents?

I am a martial artist. I stopped doing it 10 years ago. I got to brown belt in karate. But I don't know if I'm going to get to use it on the Hunters because I don't think we're actually allowed to fight them. If we get caught, we get caught. But Lisa boxes, so we might have a couple of little spars to keep ourselves entertained. I can be quite organised when I want to be but I'm also very spontaneous.

Have you ever used a disguise before?

Only as an Actor. We’re definitely going to try a few disguises. I’m going to be covering my hair because my locks are quite conspicuous. The sort of hairstyle that would stand out on CCTV. I used to do accent Tuesdays where I would talk in a different accent all day. They’re handy in my career.

Have you ever used a fake name?

Yes. Back in the day when I used to get hit on in the streets in my 20’s. I would say my name was Lorraine. Not so much hitting on these days, alas…

What vehicles can you drive?

A car and a minivan.

Are you any good at travelling light?

No, not in the slightest. We're going to have a tent and a sleeping bag…. I don't really like wearing dirty clothes. If we're out in the sticks, and we're in camping, we’ll try, and hand wash our stuff. In a river, maybe..? I do have a lot of essentials… facewash, moisturiser, toner, cotton wool, copious amounts of underwear…

Will any famous friends help you out?

Yes. My friend and fellow Actor, Laila Rouass is my first contact. I’ve also been in touch with Aldo Zilli and Jean Christophe Novelli, who won the last series. They’re up for helping. As is the lovely Emma Weymouth, Marchioness of Bath. Maybe we could feed the lions at Longleat and earn some money.

What will you miss?

The people you call to talk nonsense to and my phone which is an extension of my hand - and my cat. He sleeps on my bed. I always miss him when I go away.

Do you think your friends and family will be good at lying for you?

Yes, they’ll be brilliant liars. They know how important it is for us to succeed in there so their lies will be extravagant. My sister’s a barrister. I’m not saying she’s a liar but she’s very good with words.

Can you slum it?

I am a big toilet snob. I’ll go to a club and if I don’t like the toilet, within half-an-hour I’m gone. I just don’t like dirty toilets. Can I slum it? I really don’t think so. This should be interesting.

Have you learned from previous celebrities’ mistakes?

Yes, I binged the last series and saw Lucy and Lydia book a spa! If you’re going to a spa, don’t book it! Just turn up! I suppose you start to relax, and the days go by, but the Hunters are professionals, it’s their job to track us. We must never slip or feel a false sense of security, that’s when you’ll get caught.

What do you think will be the hardest thing about going off the grid?

It's going to be hard with the limited budget that we have. We're used to just going into a shop and buying what we want. Now we really have to budget and be careful how we spend our money. I’ll miss my support network and of course, my bed. I love sleep more than food and that’s saying something ;-)


Why did you sign up for the show?

Every year I vow to do something big for Stand Up To Cancer. One in two people will get the Big C so we need to know how to fight this thing. My mum has terminal cancer. She was diagnosed in 2013 and she is currently going through her fourth cycle of treatment to fight the cancer around her body. My mum got cervical cancer and over the years it's spread all over her body. My mum battles on year after year. She's such a tough cookie. First time round they said she had three months to live. She's battled on but she's had to have treatment three more times because it comes back so severe.

I understand you had a cancer scare yourself, can you talk about that?

I've had cells burned away off my cervix twice, that was in 2006 and 2008. I tell everyone to go and get it checked. My mum missed a smear and it went on for another five years and she was unfortunate that she had cancer. I always got checked but no NHS doctors would see me during the pandemic, so I decided to go private. It came back inconclusive three times and I was over £2,000 deep in private bills so I went to my local hospital and they said they would test me, and I was in tears. I was so distraught that I went on Instagram and I accidentally said I had cervical cancer, but I was trying to say I was being checked for cervical cancer finally. It blew out of proportion which I felt awful for because so many people do have cancer. The results came back that I didn't have cancerous cells and I didn't have to have anything burned away but a couple of months later I had a follow up and I did have cancerous cells that needed burning away. This all happened in the last 12 months. It was a bit of a nightmare. I know how it feels to have those cells burned away and the cramps afterwards. But that smear takes two minutes and determines whether or not you need treatment. I have had my mum go through it and having seen other friends go through it and Jade Goody, it makes you petrified… so doing this show and contributing to the development of cancer research is so important to me.

How many grandchildren have you got?

Just the one, my daughter is 25 and my grandson turns two in October. But it's why you have to get yourself checked and we have to research cancer so we can be around for our grandchildren. Until my mum got it I didn’t even think about cancer. Don't wait until it's you. And it might not be you, it might be a family member.

You're teaming up with Chizzy, are you good at teamwork

That absolute nutter! I'm very good at teamwork. In So Solid Crew I work with a large group of boys who are very challenging to say the least and they have taught me to have patience, to go for it, to have balls, and they encouraged me throughout my career and that has contributed to me being the best team player because I've had to deal with another species as far as I'm concerned. Boys are crazy. So Solid Crew has taught me to be a proper team player.

What do you think you're going to bring to the challenge and what do you think Chizzy will bring?

I will bring the risk. As much as you shouldn’t take risks, smart risks and wise risks and thought-through risks are what is needed to have the drive to get through this. I imagine after a couple of days the adrenaline goes and you are left with the worry. I think Chizzy will need that, she’s a bit indecisive. I need to feel under pressure. 

Do you have any skills that you can transfer from your day job?

I have multiple day jobs! I have the salon, I have the booking agency, I have the interior design agency so I think the organisation will be what I bring from my regular life into this convict life.

What tactics will you use to evade the Hunters?

I'll keep moving and not sit still. I am a little bit of a fidget anyway, I'm a natural Gemini that just loves to keep going and keep active, I'm going to be putting on my running shoes for sure.

What do you think of the Hunters?

Hunters are arseholes. They are military-style aggressors. They think they are so smart. I really want to get away and beat them. My mum is a huge fan and for her to watch and see me get away... that encouragement is what she needs at this time. She'll be going through so many more treatments while I'm away, she needs to see me win.

Is your mum having treatment right now?

Yes, she's just had her third session and she has 11 to go.

Is it going to be hard to be out of contact?

Yeah. I don't want to risk contacting her and letting Chizzy down but the closer it gets towards the end; my mum will have almost finished her treatment and that's when I'll want to know if she's OK. Though she has said, 'do not phone me!'

Have you got a strong network?

I was going to use all of my celeb friends, but I've decided against it because I think that's what they’ll be expecting. I've used people that are very close to me and I think that's the better way. As much as they are close to me, they are busy and active and all over the country.

Do you think being famous will be helpful?

I think it will be helpful when someone is a really big fan of yours, they're going to be as excited as us but then also if somebody spots you and posts you on social media, well social media is the devil. It's a walking advert. I'm going to try and stay undercover.

What are your survival skills like?

I'm quite brave, I run off adrenaline most of the time. I put myself in crazy positions and crazy situations so I think being outside will be OK. I'm quite a tomboy still even at the age of 42. That's how I ended up as the only girl in So Solid. Boys like being outside and I'm one of them.

Are you competitive?

So competitive. The thought of losing makes me sick so I must be.

You have a beauty salon; will this help with your disguises at all?

Yes, I have asked the girls about makeup, wigs, lashes, things I can introduce to my look, so yeah! 

Do you have any hidden skills or talents?

I don't. I go with whatever I feel on the day. I will do whatever it takes to win this be it accents, acting, whatever.

Have you ever worn a disguise?

Only costumes, but I think that is a disguise. 

What vehicles can you drive?

I've driven a quad, a moped, a motorbike a car, I'm sure I can drive a jet ski, a boat, a plane if needed.

Are you good at travelling light?

Yeah, I'm not a girly girl that needs straightening tongs, a make-up bag, the kitchen sink, I'm pretty classic. Light packing is me. I've toured for many years and been island hopping and had to pack a small bag to get on and off flights. I'm used to it.

Have you watched the show and learned from other celebrities’ mistakes?

I have watched a marathon of them.

How good are you under pressure?

I am more driven under pressure. Being a musician does that. Under pressure is my best time really.

Can you slum it if you have to?

I can so slum it. I've been slumming it for years!

What will you miss?

My daughter, grandson, my freedom! We'll always be looking over our shoulders.

Can you cope without social media?

I love social media and all of my businesses really need social media to survive but I have an assistant that runs mine when things are going on. I will welcome the break.

Will your family be good at lying for you?

No, I think they are going to break!

What do you think you'll find the hardest about going off the grid?

The worry about being caught. The further you are from humanity the more isolated you feel, wondering if you’re hidden enough. You haven't got anyone to tell you if they can see you. One thing me and Chizzy are going to do is laugh a lot and that will help us cope with the pressure and seriousness of them finding us. 


Why did you sign up to Celebrity Hunted?

I just think it's a great programme and hopefully it will be the only time in my life where I really will be on the run with the authorities chasing me. It should be quite good fun. My dad is ex-military so it interests me – how they can track you down and how they can find you. It's a game of chess, we’re trying to outwit them, and it's going to be tough, 100 per cent. I know the Hunters are really good. I just want to see how far I can get really.

You're teaming up with Richard, are you good at teamwork?

Yes and we both get along really well. Sometimes I go into things like a bull in a china shop, but I need to slow down and think a little bit. Being a team will be a good thing for me. In the past, I've been a little bit gung ho. Two brains are better than one.

Why did you team up with Richard and what do you think each of you can bring to the mission?

I just really admire him. I respect him as an athlete, I don't really see Richard as someone with a disability, I don't have any pity at all for him. I have nothing but admiration for people with disabilities who crack on with it. Richard has got the best out of himself, and he's a brilliant athlete. I don't look at him as a para athlete, I look at him as an athlete. Physically and mentally he’s very strong. He's got some really good leadership qualities. We should hopefully do quite well together.

What do you bring to the party?

Enthusiasm hopefully and good spirits. I've got a lot of energy and I like to think I get on really well with everybody. If it is a case of getting help from the members of the public, hopefully, I can be… I wouldn't say charming… a cheeky chappie. With this programme you want to lay low and you want to vanish, but in other ways you want the public to recognise you and help you. It's the best of both worlds.

What skills do you think you'll be able to use from your day job?

I’m definitely really determined. About two months ago, I finished a 100-mile running race, which is a million miles away from my life as an as a sprinter. I've definitely got that will to never quit, and never give up. I don't take no for an answer. I can push my body to massive extremes, and I think this is going to be quite an endurance event. If we get past the first week, I think it's going to be really tough. I've got no illusions how tough it's going to be to even get away for three days. But I think if we can get into week two then it is going to be a real cat and mouse game. Hopefully my determination and my positive attitude should get us through.

What tactics will you use to evade the Hunters?

I wouldn’t say I’ve set traps, but I've definitely got a plan where, hopefully, it will wind them up a little bit. There are three or four quite interesting things I have done. We have a few things planned which I think I have they'll either respect me for or get very annoyed about!

What do you think of the Hunters?

I think they're really good. It's the kind of thing I'd love to do for a living myself. I don't disrespect them in any way. I know just how good they are. I don't think I'm going to evade capture for the whole two weeks. I'd love to make it to the end but I I've got so much respect for them. I think it is going to be tough, but I'll put up a good fight.

Do you think your fame will help or hinder you?

I've seen episodes in the past where it's hindered people. And I've also seen episodes where it's helped them. It's about choosing the right people to help you.

What are your survival skills like?

That doesn't faze me. I've got my little sleeping bag and my little bivy tent that packs away. I've got stuff with me so I can slum it if I need to. I'm not afraid of slumming it at all.

Are you competitive?

Yes. It could actually be my downfall because I take things too seriously. I genuinely have not slept for the last week thinking about different things I could do. I've gone round every scenario in my head a million times. I need to just remember, it's a TV programme and I'm doing it for a great, great reason. If I get caught on day two, it doesn't really matter. I think I'll the most serious person they've probably ever had on it!

Are you proud to be supporting a good cause like Stand Up To Cancer?

Yes, definitely. Unfortunately, cancer affects one in two of us and I've lost friends to it. My sister-in-law had cancer last year, she's in remission now and my grandfather died of cancer. It's one of those horrific illnesses that will touch us all at some point. Yes, I don't want to get caught but the much bigger picture is that I'm really proud to be able to do this programme.

I know that you're a devoted father to your son, Teddy, is it going to be hard being away from him?

It's going to be really tough and he doesn't really understand. The temptation to go home and see him is very strong already and I’ve only just left. We'll have to see. He's just over two-and-a-half.

You've just finished your 100-mile race, do you think that's prepared you to outrun the Hunters?

It's probably been a bad thing for this because my body is broken. I've got a really bad foot and I can hardly feel a couple of my toes. But what it did teach me is that I won't quit. I can be on my feet for 30 hours without any sleep and keep moving forward. It definitely helps but I'm feeling the aftereffects a little bit.

You've talked in the past about suffering from depression and the show brings quite a lot of pressure and a lot of isolation, is that something you've got to think about?

No, don't think so. I felt more stressed leading up to it. I think once we start, I'll actually really enjoy it. I've got some interesting things planned. I've just got remember I'm doing this as a part of a television programme and I'm really lucky to help raise awareness for Stand Up To Cancer. Some days I wake up miserable, but I tend to be chirpy and happy 99 per cent of the time. Richard is the miserable one. He's really grumpy in the mornings for ages. But I'm not, I wake up buzzing. Hopefully I can cheer him up.

How do you look after your mental health?

Exercise. I went out and ran a 5k this morning because I know I'm not going to get much done in the next few weeks while I'm on the road and not training. Going to the gym is my happy place. Exercise keeps me feeling level-headed.

How do you plan to get money whilst on the run?

There are plans afoot and hopefully we can call on the generosity of the public. And if I am to use any of my associates, then hopefully, they can lend me a couple of quid.

Have you ever used a disguise?

I tell you what I have brought to wind them up for fun - some comedy noses and glasses. Obviously, it's not a proper disguise, it's literally to take the mick.

Can you drive or operate any other vehicles than a car?

Yeah, motorbikes. I've driven tanks before. Though I've not got those in my plan!

Are you good at travelling light?


Will you rope in any famous friends?

Maybe. There are few people who might be very useful.

Have you watched some episodes and learned from other celebrity’s mistakes?

Yes, keep moving, stay under the radar, lie low… our getaway plan on day one is either genius or absolutely stupid.

How good are you under pressure?

I love pressure. I’m really good.

What will you miss most about your normal life?

Just the routine of eating when I want, going to the gym when I want, seeing my boy, doing the nursery run in the morning. All the things I curse about I’ll miss. But I might be back in two days!

Will your family be good at lying for you if they get approached?

They won’t need to. I haven’t told anyone my plan.

What do you think will be the hardest thing about going off the grid?

Just not being recognised. There are CCTV and ANPR cameras everywhere now so it will be very hard to evade the Hunters.


What made you sign up for Celebrity Hunted?

Post the Paralympics it's really important to me to engage lots of different people through that success and Celebrity Hunted gives me a platform to be able to do that to a wider audience. I want to show that whatever impairment and disability background you come from, it's really important to challenge yourself outside your box. That's obviously what I'll be doing with the support of Iwan Thomas, and it gives me an insight into what goes into such a complex show as well. I think it's really important to broaden my horizons and hopefully do more work in this area in the future.

Do you think it's important for people with disabilities to see themselves represented on screen?

Yes. I've always said that representation is really important and that seeing is believing in all areas of society. It's not just people with physical disabilities, it's people with those hidden disabilities like learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, etc. Hopefully, with my participation this year, it will give members of the public an insight not just to my disability, but some of the challenges that people with disabilities have had through COVID and do have as an everyday occurrence.

When you were growing up, did you see any role models with disabilities on screen?

No. I'm 45 years old and when I look back at people who were playing disabled people, it was mainstream actors playing the person with a disability, which then becomes disappointing for the viewer. COVID has definitely highlighted that and it highlights how hard it is to be isolated.

Do you think broadcasters are doing enough now to represent everybody on screen, or is there a way to go?

Events such as the Paralympics definitely open up areas for people with disabilities, but not everyone is sporty. I know other disabled people who are influencers or comedians and they're starting to get those opportunities in the mainstream public eye. We've got a way to go for representation of not just disabilities, but also minority groups. It's really important that those groups that are disengaged in society have the same opportunities. Everybody should have the same platform and opportunity to be able to shine. Then it's up to you to really grasp it with both hands and mould your own future.

You're teaming up with Iwan, are you good at teamwork?

I hope so. In sport both Iwan and I have been involved in working as part of a team. It's not just about give and take, it's about the ability to empathise with your teammates around some of the challenges that you go through over the two weeks. It's not going to be all plain sailing. You're literally thrown in the deep end, and some of Iwan's strengths will mask my weaknesses and vice versa. Iwan is very passionate and energetic around everything he does, I'm a little bit more measured.

What skills do you think you will be able to use from your profession as an athlete on Hunted?

The competitiveness and the energy that we bring to the challenge. Hopefully we can bring to light that athletes aren't just aren't just machines or just runners. We have a personality and we have got a relatability to the public. Hopefully some of the problem-solving skills that we have to use as athletes, we can utilise those on the programme.

What tactics will you use to evade the Hunters?

Stealth mode! Lots of different modes of transport. Try not to be too visible out in open places, avoid CCTV etc, try and be smart with all the movement that we have. It's really important to be mindful that they've got a lot of resources to be able to track us and we're just out on a limb really.

Do you think your prosthetics will hinder you?

They'll definitely hinder. I think visibility is not necessarily the main reason why people get caught. It’s more being careless with some of their movements so hopefully we can just stay off the main routes and try and be as evasive as possible.

Do you hope that that by doing this you'll inspire other people who wear prosthetics to believe that their life has fewer limits?

You don't want to inspire people who just look exactly the same as you. Men my age have lots of physical and mental issues going on in their lives - things like suicide, depression and anxiety. A lot of people that I have contact with through my sporting success are generally not disabled. It's more about overcoming a challenge. So it's more about inspiring masses, and not just people that relate to me around prosthetics.

How much do you want to win?

I'll immerse myself into the challenge. Iwan and I are very competitive, and we just want to get on with it, throw ourselves in at the deep end and see how far we get.

What do you think of the Hunters?

If they can't catch someone as visible as me then they are useless!

Do you have a strong network to help you?

Yes, lots of different types of people but you want to dip in and out but not rely on it. We understand the Hunters will know all those contact details and know all the benefits of utilising that network.

Do you think your fame will help or hinder you?

No as I'm not famous anyway, I'm just a normal guy. We're both quite cheeky and hopefully we can just use that to get the general public to help us.

What are your survival skills like?

I used to work in America in Connecticut, and we used to camp out all the time so as long as it doesn’t p*ss it down, I’ll be cool. I know that Iwan is a bit of a Bear Grylls character too. Hopefully when I’m feeling down in the dumps Iwan will lift my spirits and vice versa.

Did you know Iwan before?

Yes, Iwan conned me into doing the show (laughs.) He said how important it was for shows like this to have fair representation. We’re a good combination.

Are you competitive?

Yeah. I obviously am. I don't really do anything that's not that competitive. The hardest thing is spending time away from my two young kids. So if I wasn't doing it for the right reasons, which are obviously Stand Up To Cancer as well as to provide myself with a great platform to talk about the things I'm passionate about, then I wouldn't be doing it.

Are you proud of supporting Stand Up To Cancer?

Yes and I'm a patron of Sarcoma UK which is another cancer charity. My friend Simon Mellows died of sarcoma in 2005. I've always been passionate about cancer charities and the great work that they do not just with patients also with research and the medical stuff.

Can you tell me a little bit about Simon's story?

I used to play cricket with Simon and taught his two daughters to swim. I got really close to him and his family and he had sarcoma which he lost his leg to. He then got secondary sarcoma and unfortunately died in 2005. My first marathon in New York in 2004 was in aid of Simon. Just seeing his strength and ability to stay as positive as he could with a really young family is something that I've always carried with me. It always showed me that sport is not just about self-gratification or your own success, it's about the opportunities that it gives to other people. It gives people the ability to dream and take on the big challenges. Simon's sitting on my shoulder telling me to make use of life because life is very precious.

Do you have any hidden skills and talents that we don't know about?

I think Iwan might have to bring the hidden skills and talents!

Have you ever used a disguise?

No but this time I might have to. Maybe dress up as a mascot… I wear prosthetics so wigs, hats and glasses might not help that much…

Have you ever used a fake name?

No. Some other guys I know do use aliases to check into accommodation, but I don’t. It might be something Iwan or I do on the show.

What vehicles can you drive or operate?

I drive a Range Rover and I’ve always been into sporty cars just like Iwan, so we share a passion for cars. We’re both petrol heads and I’m sure we can utilise that on the challenge.

You may have to leave places quickly, are you travelling light?

No. When I went to Tokyo I had the most luggage out of any athlete! I need to make sure I’m travelling light and pick up what I need on the run.

Will you be roping in any famous friends to help you at all?

Maybe. That takes commitment from both sides but there are a few people.

Have you watched it and learned from other celebrities’ mistakes?

Sometimes it's good to not have a plan, to move around and not stay in one place. Also, it's good not to get too concerned about the Hunters being on your trail because that increases the anxiety within your thought process. It's a game at the end of the day and it's for charity.

Are you good under pressure?

Yeah. Iwan and I are used to competing in front of thousands of people. As long as we know what we're doing, that's the main thing. Having some kind of strategic plan and to map out the day so we know what we're doing – if we need to change at all, we'll have a plan B, C and D.

Can you slum it?

Yeah but I’d prefer not to!

What will you miss most about your normal life?

Habits really, that connection with friends, seeing my kids, eating normal food, just being at home, being able to get in the car and drive where I want instead of having to persuade people into driving me places.

Do you think your friends and family will be good at lying for you?

Yes all of them! They’re all liars!

What do you think you're going to find hardest about going off the grid?

21st century habits like social media, mobile phones, all that jazz. It's a good reset for me and Iwan to know how little we actually do need our mobile phones and social media.

Will you miss your family?

I've spent a lot of time away from my kids over this year with training for the Olympics. It's not just about me, it's about the charity and showing my kids that if you're passionate about doing something you can achieve great things. It’s not just the money raised, it's the awareness for the charities and people with disabilities.

How will you and Iwan beat the boredom?

Banter, just lots of banter.


What made you sign up for Celebrity Hunted?

I love this show. I always watch it and I think everybody watches and thinks, 'I can do that,' and shouts at the telly. But you don't really know what you’ll do until you're actually put in that position. I just want to prove to myself and others that I can do it. And it's for charity as well. Stand Up To Cancer is a great cause.

Are you good at teamwork?

I am. I’m good until the team messes up.

How do you think you and Chloe are going to get along?

I think we're going to get along like house on fire. She seems really fun and not afraid to make a fool of herself which I’m not either. How that's going to translate to being on the run as fugitives, I don’t know. I'm sure but we'll find out very soon.

What skills will you be able to use from your day job?

Being a drag queen and doing all these different personas on stage, I'm definitely a master of disguise. I’m able to make money on the road as well. We could do pop up drag shows, sing for our supper, but in disguise...

Do you think you'll be able to fly under the radar?

Hopefully. I've got a lot of contacts around the UK because I’ve been touring for the past two years, I've met everyone in every different city. I've got plenty of people I can call upon. We do get recognised in the street quite a bit, but we can use that to our advantage. Hopefully, people might be willing to help us.

Are you going to go as The Vivienne, or do you think you'll be able to bring out James sometimes?

It's going to be mainly James, but I think there will be some opportunities to maybe bring The Vivienne too. We'll need to use our brains to make some money on the on the run and The Vivienne has more chance of making money than James!

What do you think of the Hunters?

They're ruthless aren’t they? I think we can outwit them.

What tactics have you got up your sleeve?

It’s best not to have like any solid plans. We have obviously have some plans, but nothing's written down. I've not been using my phone. I've not been writing anything in messages. I'm going to try not to leave an electronic trail anywhere. We’ll always use cash and try not to use phones that much. And just keep moving.

Do you think your fame will help you?

Hopefully, it'll help. I really hope someone recognises me and doesn't think I'm just a random person asking for help. It depends where I go, I get recognised a lot more around gay areas like Canal Street in Manchester. Drag Race has got such a huge reach but I'm so nervous and I don't know what is going to happen until we get out there and do it.

What are your survival skills like?

I think I'll be alright. I can cook a nice bacon butty. Oh how am I going to cook? We'll have to find a nice little camping stove.

Are you competitive?

Definitely. Anything I do competition wise; I do to win. You've got to want to win.

The show supports Stand Up To Cancer – are you proud to be supporting such a great charity?

Yes. I lost my granddad John to cancer. I'm definitely doing this for him and everyone else who's struggling, who's lost family members, or are going through treatment at the minute. We've been fighting cancer for how many years and constantly researching always needs funding. Any opportunity I get to be able to contribute to that, I'll grab it with both hands and just do it.

Can you tell me a bit more about your granddad’s illness?

He had prostate cancer and just seeing him go from this strong man and seeing him changing to this defenceless shell of himself over a few years and then losing him was just awful. Then seeing my nan... they'd been together 50 years, and all of a sudden, he's gone. It was just heart-breaking. It was Christmas Day when he died. It was over 10 years ago now.

Did you ever expect drag to become as mainstream as it is now? Previously we only really had Lily Savage…

It's crazy. It's funny you mentioned Lily because Lily dominated TV in the 90s. She was a host of Saturday night TV, and she was huge, then after Lily hung up her shoes, there was nothing. Then Drag Race got big in The States, then finally it came here, and I was so lucky to get cast. Now drag's everywhere, it's putting it back in people's living rooms and showing people that it's an art form. It's changed my life completely. I'm so grateful for it.

Was Lily Savage, an early inspiration?

Definitely. I love Lily. I still watch all the old Lily shows on YouTube. Obviously, coming from this neck of the woods as well (Liverpool). Lily at the heart of it, is a stand-up comedian, she’s a character, she’s fun and that's what I love. Drag is fun, but drag is serious as well, but it's finding a nice mix of the two. Drag Race shows the humans behind the make-up. We're just people with the same struggles as everyone else. But we get to kind of paint on a persona and make people laugh, give people a good time and put on a good show. That's why I do drag.

You said you’re a master of disguise, can you tell us more?

I’ve done everything from old ladies, to goths, to The Queen.

Will you be dressing Chloe up as well?

Oh, definitely. She's got no choice.

How do you think you two are going to get on?

Like a house on fire. We're both silly. We both love having fun. We don't take things too seriously, but we get the job done. We’re the perfect match.

You’re only recently married; will it be hard not to contact your husband?

It's going to be super hard. We're used to having little spurts of time away. I'm quite self-sufficient. I’m going to have to get a burner phone aren’t I?

What vehicles can you operate?

We’ve definitely got cars involved but we’re not trying to set too many plans. When you start doing that you leave more evidence. Even when you think you’re being super inconspicuous the Hunters are so well equipped they can sniff you out and find you before you’ve even done it.

Are you good at travelling light?

I’ve just found out that I’m not. I can hardly take anything with me. The hairdryer has had to stay, the laptop, all the things you want to take travelling. I’ve just got underwear, clothes and skincare. That had to come.

Have you watched old episodes to learn from celebrities’ mistakes?

Yes! Boris Johnson’s dad (Stanley Johnson) was saying, ‘Oh, I used to be a spy.’ And the first thing he did was use his credit card like four times in a row, then he dyes his hair bright red! I won't be using my credit cards.

How good are you under pressure?

I work better under pressure. If there's no pressure then you relax. With pressure you stay alert and stay on your toes. And I really want to win it both for the charity and to prove to myself that I can do it.

Will you be able to slum it?

It all depends on the weather. I don't mind sleeping in the field but if it's pouring down with rain or it's freezing cold, I'll want to find a B&B.

What will you miss most about your normal life?

My husband, my phone, my manager Simon, who does everything for me... Just having to do it all myself and having to fix problems with no phones! I just bought a diary to write numbers down in.

Do you think your friends and family will lie to the Hunters for you?

Hopefully, you’d like to think so. My mum will probably offer them bacon sandwiches and invite them in the house.


Why did you sign up for Celebrity Hunted?

When I was asked to sign up, it was a no brainer for me. Cancer affects us all and it is a cause close to my heart, so I was honoured to be involved and stick two fingers up to the C word. Going on the run for a couple of weeks is something I'll absolutely love. I'm just really excited to see how far I can push my boundaries!

You're going with The Vivienne, are you good at teamwork?

I absolutely adore her. We're both absolutely bonkers, and I hope we can make people laugh whilst helping to raise some money for Stand Up To Cancer. We will maintain the high energy whenever we're feeling down or whenever we're upset or cold. We'll pick each other up when we're at our lowest. Doing the show together will be a crazy experience. I can't wait.

What skills do you think you'll be able to bring from your day job?

Blagging! I'm an extremely good blagger. I can blag anything. That’s probably why I’ve ended up in this industry! I am hoping that our charm and sense of humour may be able to get us out of some tricky situations whilst on the run.

Do you think you're going to be able to charm members of the public into helping you?

One hundred per cent. I'm really scared in case I get rejected. I don't deal with rejection very well. Especially from boys I fancy.

Do you think that maybe people underestimate you because of your looks?

I don’t know about my looks, but people definitely underestimate me. I've seen comments on social media, people think that I am just a pretty face. There's so much more depth about me. I've been through a lot in my life. And I'm just really excited to show people what I'm actually made of. I can do this. I just want people to see and believe in me. I don’t think pooping in bushes is going to be too pretty though!

You've got such a lot of followers; will you miss being on social media?

I spend 85 per cent of my life on social media working because social media is my job. I don’t think having a social media detox is a bad thing though!

What tactics will you use to evade the Hunters?

We're going to use disguises and we want to go undercover. I'm going to do method acting. I'm going to act a different way, walk a different way. I'm putting 100 per cent into it. We are going to give people a whole different meaning of the word role play haha.

Are you an actress as well?

I have experience in presenting and I have appeared on a few reality TV shows, but I really do want to get into the acting world as well.

What do you think of the Hunters?

They're absolutely savage. They're not going to hold back but The Vivienne and I will not go down without a fight. They are going to have to work their socks off to find us. We are going to make them work very hard to find us – it’s going to be a game of hide & seek that gets them sweating, swearing and sulking.

Have you got a strong network to help you?

I’ve got family members all over. My grandad's Scottish, my dad's Geordie, my uncle's Welsh. And a lot of friends in the film industry, and the reality TV industry. There is a massive army of people that just want to get me and The Vivienne through the finish line.

Do you think your fame will help or hinder you?

Luckily I don’t think I’m famous so hopefully I can get away with it, but The Vivienne is one of the most renowned and respected kick ass people in the industry so we may struggle! I am hoping that my social media followers will help me out though! I need to step up my blag game.

What are your survival skills like?

Erm, I haven’t really got any. I mean, I’m the girl that needs her maintenance kept up. Whether that’s getting my nails done etc. One of my nails has already fallen off. So I'm already looking at where we're going to go so I can get my nails done – I hope that doesn’t get us caught! But you will also see the real me and the less glamourous side of me for sure! There’s no hiding or filters on the run. And I can't run. I get really out of breath and my fitness is zero. I am not fit at all. But I'm not a diva. I will do anything. I will push boundaries.

Are you competitive?

I am extremely competitive. If it means walking for a muddy field with loads of cow poo then I'm on my hands and knees crawling through it.

Are you proud to be supporting Stand Up To Cancer?

My Auntie Debbie actually died of cancer, so I am extremely proud and determined to win Celebrity Hunted and not get caught. Even just taking part in the show means so much to me and my family, to be able to help towards such a special charity that's really close to my heart.

Tell me about your auntie Debbie, what did she mean to you growing up?

She was the world to me. She was like my best friend. She was absolutely bonkers. She was full of laughter. I was 14 when she died.

Have you got any hidden talents or skills we don’t know about?

That's why I'm doing this! To discover my hidden talents. I've never been on such a pressurised high intensity, chaotic journey before, so going on Hunted will definitely discover them.

Have you ever worn a disguise?

At Hallowe’en I have but not a proper disguise.

Have you ever used a fake name?

Whenever a guy would ask for my name I would say my name was Jade.

How do you think you’ll cope without social media?

I’m looking forward to being engrossed in the Hunted experience.

What vehicles can you drive?

Quad bikes, motorbikes, cars, speedboats!

Are you good at travelling light?

No, I always have to pay for extra luggage.

Will you be enlisting any famous friends to help you?

100 per cent. Viewers will get to see some familiar faces working with us for sure!

Are you good under pressure?

I’m not good under pressure.

Can you slum it?

Yeah! Definitely. I used to go camping when I was a child and I was always in the mud.

What will you miss most about your normal life?

My sanity haha!

Do you think your family will lie for you?

Yes. 100 per cent but my mum is a terrible liar, so they’ll probably see right through it. It depends what they have up their sleeves to pressure them.

What will you find the hardest?

If I don’t get enough sleep then I’m really cranky. I’m not a morning person!

Do you feel the responsibility to be a good role model when you’re on TV?

Definitely, I am proud to come from a council estate, my mum and dad never had any money, they were always in debt. Life wasn’t a silver spoon or platter – but I am incredibly proud of who I am, and I am so grateful to have such a close family who I love and appreciate very much. I think I will never claim to be a role model to anybody because I am human, and I am nowhere near perfect and I sometimes get things wrong. But people will get to see a new side to me on the show, they will learn some new things about me, and If my story can inspire or support anybody out there in the world then that is an added bonus for me. But the show isn’t about me, it’s not about my image or fame, this about raising some serious money for the charity which will hopefully mean more lives saved and we get one step closer to beating Cancer.  I want to prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.