Stoke-on-Trent ballroom dancer AJ Pritchard has tested negative for coronavirus after fears he was in quarantine this week.
The former Strictly star is gearing up to go into the I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! castle on Sunday as the show is now safe from the bug.
AJ had tested positive sparking fears the show could be cancelled.
But AJ, who is originally from Sneyd Green and still has family in Stoke-on-Trent, has now produced two negative tests after self isolating with girlfriend Abbie Quinnen in Wales – meaning the show can go on.
He exclusively told Mirror Online: “Let’s get this out of the way. When I came into isolation, I tested positive for Covid early on.
“Thankfully, I can say I’ve had two negative tests for coronavirus and I will definitely be going into the castle when it starts. For me, thank you to ITV and the whole team for putting the safety measures in place to protect their staff and the celebrities, that’s why we do go into isolation.
“It’s been over two weeks already I’ve been in isolation. I can’t wait to start my journey.”
Asked if he feared he might not get onto the show, which he has been a fan of since he was young, he said: “I think the thing for me is I didn’t have any symptoms.
“It’s one of those scenarios in this crazy world we live in at the moment. I tested positive early on and knew I had more tests coming, I’m a very positive person, glass half full.
“So I’ve got two negative tests back. I feel very confident and feel very fit and healthy and mentally just ready to start this journey. It’s weird to be in isolation for something like this. as a child, I was not ready to let this go. I’m ready to conquer anything thrown at me.”
All the show contestants have been isolating for several weeks and AJ’s positive test was thought to be some time ago.
The professional dancer has showed no ill-effects from his positive test in recent days.
It comes as the show’s bosses were forced to pull the plug on heading back Down Under to film the series, and instead decided to relocate the series to Gwrych Castle in North Wales, following restrictions on travelling dictated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of the show’s start date this month, AJ shared his excitement to join the line-up.
He even appeared to take a swipe at the BBC series he quit last year, confessing he thought the jungle show was “better”.
AJ quit the BBC dance show after the last series, so that he could take on opportunities offered to him which he couldn’t agree to while being under the Strictly umbrella.
AJ said of taking part: “I was so excited to watch the return of Strictly this Autumn, but now I am going to be on an even better show! I can’t wait!”
He’s still in touch with his former co-stars though, and he believes they will be watching him.
AJ is hoping people see a different side to him too, before teasing he can be pretty competitive – which should come in handy during the Bushtucker Trials.
He said: “People see me on Strictly with fake tan and sparkles but nobody knows me.
“It will be nice for people to see me and get to know who I am.”