THE CELEBRITY CIRCLE: DUNCAN JAMES SPEAKS ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE AFTER BEING BLOCKED
Duncan James became the first celebrity to be blocked from the game.
How did it go?
Oh my god, I absolutely loved it, I didn't want to leave. I was so gutted. It's really unplanned, how it works so quickly. You just get in there, five minutes, and everyone's super, super paranoid at first. Nobody really knows who anybody is, so you're kind of trying to play the tactics. Although it's disguised as who's your favourite, it's more of a tactical game. I think I went in there quite innocent, without playing too much of a tactical game. I think the problem is when you go in there as yourself, it's harder to play a game, because then you're not being real to who you are, and you've got that whole kind of double edge sword as I want to come across as genuine, I want to come across as real. I don't want to come across as some manipulating asshole. It's hard, but if you're playing somebody else, it doesn't matter how you're playing the game, because it's not you. You're playing a character. So in hindsight I wish I got to play a character, be somebody else, but when you're on your own, you do overanalyse everything, take everything like, "Oh my god, oh my god," and it does make you kind of go a little bit more crazy, I think.
Were you surprised to see Denise in there?
Yeah, the really good thing was, we had this little private chat with each other, and we made a pact to have each other's back, so I knew that I've got a friend, if anything happens she's going to look after me, I'm going to look after her. Straight away, boom, we're both up. It's like, ‘fuck!’, actually, that game plan goes out the window because one of us is going.
It must have been so annoying to be up against Denise?
It was. Of course, as soon as I knew that Saffron was the influencer, who I didn't know anything about at all, I knew she’d put me up because we have got the least connection. Her excuse was she didn't know me. I just knew I was going to be up for the chopping board, especially against somebody like Denise who I was 100% sure she would save over me.
Who were you shocked to see and who did you suspect was catfishing?
I was shocked by everybody, really, apart from Denise. I was completely shocked by Gemma Collins, because I got to choose somebody's apartment I went to go and see afterwards and I was completely shocked that it was Nadia and Kaye! It was brilliant. I had such fun in there, and I really didn't want it to end so soon. I was just really starting to enjoy getting into it. I did play quite an innocent game, really, and I think I should have gone in there with a little bit more of a strategic plan, been a bit more of a bastard, really! Just throw in some, be a little bit more dishonest and not so open.
What did you think when you opened the door and saw it was Kaye and Nadia, not the GC?
I absolutely loved Nadia, we used to present a television show called City Hospital together back in the day. I've worked with Nadia a lot, and I absolutely adore her. Seeing a really familiar face and somebody that I really like was very comforting in the moment of being thrown out, so I was actually really happy with that because it made me feel 10 times better.
What went through your mind when you found out that you were blocked?
I was really sad. Nobody wants to get blocked, do they? You don't want to be the first one to be blocked, but I think after the first initial disappointment I was quite relieved, in a way. I think for me all that mental pressure just subsided, which was quite nice.
It sounds much more stressful than you anticipated?
Well, yeah, because everybody played such a strong game. I think that was the thing that got me, was how tactical some people were. It makes you just go, "I completely getit," and itis such a clever game. I think if I ever got an opportunity to go back in there again and do it again, I would want to go in with somebody else and I would want to go back in there and play a really strong game. I think what Pete Wicks and Sam Thompson have done is amazing.
What sort of game have they played?
I think what's really clever about them is they picked somebody that is not so well known in the sense that we all know who she is, Rachel Riley, but we don't know too much about her because she's not one of these people who are always in the newspapers or getting up to all sorts. She's quite a nice, wholesome, normal girl. Whereas, if you play a big character like Gemma Collins, for example, someone who's really well known, then you're much more of a risk being called out. For instance, Rachel Riley could get something wrong that other people might not know about her, but if Gemma got something wrong about herself, then everyone's going to go, "Oh my god, that's so not Gemma." I think somebody like Rachel, you're a little bit more under the radar, if you know what I mean, I think that's what's really clever about them. They're playing a very, very strong game.
Did you suspect anyone else of catfishing?
I knew that Kim was a catfish, day one. I called it straight from the beginning, I even left a clue before I left. I quoted a quote from Drag Race, I wanted to put a little tease out there, but unfortunately I never saw their reaction. I dropped a bomb and walked!
What made you think Kim was somebody from Drag Race?
I watched Drag Race religiously, I'm a huge fan of the show. I knew that when they were all at Drag Race they were talking about Kim because she was the topic of that show. They wanted impressions of her, and afterwards she followed them and filmed a load of stuff with them. Went on and did bits and pieces after they all left the show, and became friends with her. I just thought, if anybody's going to be able to take her persona brilliantly, it would be somebody like Baga or Cheryl Hole because they know so much about her and she's become their friend. For me, it just totally makes sense that it would be one of them playing her. I was right!
How would you sum up the experience?
I really, really loved it. I was so upset to go, I didn't want to go. I wish I played a little bit more of a smarter game rather than being so innocent in some ways. I really thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would love to have an opportunity to go back one day because it was honestly so much fun.
The Celebrity Circle continues tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.
[Interview: Channel 4 Press]