Chris Kamara admits he gets a painful reminder of his biggest TV regret every time ITV announces the line-up for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
The long-running show returns for a 23rd series on November 19, but Kamara, 65, will be forced to watch from home as he continues his battle with apraxia, a motor condition caused by damage to the brain that significantly affects speech.
Discussing his close friendship with presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly in new memoir Kammy: My Unbelievable Life, the former footballer, pundit and TV presenter revealed he had been approached several times to appear on the show before he was diagnosed was stated.
He wrote: ‘I have a hard time watching myself in the pre-apraxia days – not that I was ever a big fan of watching myself on TV anyway – so I haven’t had a YouTube search yet, but I’ve had a lot happy memories that carry me through, like the six years I appeared on Saturday Night Takeaway with the brilliant Ant and Dec.
‘I would have seen even more if I had said yes to the regular requests to continue. I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!, but I’ve always rejected the jungle because of my devotion to Soccer Saturday and Goals. on Sunday.’
Opening: Chris Kamara admits he gets a painful reminder of his biggest TV regret every time ITV announces the line-up for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Here they come: The long-running show returns for a 23rd series on November 19, but Kamara will be forced to watch from home as he continues his battle with Apraxia.
WHAT IS APRAXIA OF SPEECH?
Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
This disorder can make pronouncing the correct sounds and words very difficult and can be experienced as unclear.
It is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control how muscles move, leading to apraxia of speech.
He added: ‘It was my intention to do it one day, once my Sky contract expired, but unfortunately I’m no longer able to do it now. Neither my body nor my mind could handle this.
“I couldn’t bear to hear the words, ‘Chris Kamara has been excused from this task due to health issues.’ No chance. It’s a big regret.’
The beloved presenter was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in 2021 and subsequently apraxia of speech, which led to him stepping back from the majority of his broadcast roles.
Apraxia is a little-understood neurological condition that affects the body’s ability to perform natural motor functions, and apraxia of speech is a specific motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak.
The former Sky Sports presenter previously broke down in tears after admitting he was ‘ashamed’ of his speech problems during an appearance on breakfast show Good Morning Britain.
“I thought that defined me, I get angry when I talk about it because I was in denial, I felt ashamed that I couldn’t talk,” he admitted as host Susanna Reid reached out to comfort him.
‘I didn’t want to be a burden, I’ve taken care of my family all my life, and I don’t want to be in a position where they have to take care of me, but they would like to… I realized how wrong I was. ‘
Kamara also thanked Ben Shepherd – his co-host on Saturday night show Ninja Warrior UK – after revealing how the presenter persuaded him to publicly share his speech impediment when viewers thought he was slurring.
Health: The presenter was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and subsequently apraxia of speech in 2021, which led to him relinquishing the majority of his broadcast roles
“Can I say a big thank you to Ben because without your help none of this would have happened,” he said.
‘I’m so glad Ben spoke to me about doing GMB because in many ways I would say I’m 70% better since that day. Acceptance was the hardest part, but now I have a clear determination to help other people with speech problems.’
Kamara established himself as one of football’s most loved and celebrated sports broadcasters during his career at Sky Sports, but left the broadcaster last year after 24 years due to his speech problems.
He recently revealed that he once considered taking his own life as he struggled with a diagnosis of apraxia.
In an extract from his new book, published by the Daily Mirror, he admitted that in his darkest moments he contemplated suicide because he did not want to burden his wife Anne.
“I’m going to confess something now, something I’ve never mentioned before,” Kamara wrote. “It’s hard for me to talk about it, so please be patient.
Angry: Kamara broke down in tears on breakfast show Good Morning Britain and was comforted by Susanna Reid as he admitted he was ‘ashamed’ of his speech problem
‘I was worried about where I would end up. Would my physical and neurological decline continue? And I was more concerned about the effect it would have on the people around me.
‘I am a man who has always wanted to help, provide, love and cherish the people around me. And now I could only see myself as a burden. A shell of the man I was, that they had to take care of.’
‘Seeing myself like this was like staring into an abyss. I could never reconcile that image in my head. It was unthinkable.’
‘And at that moment I thought, ‘They would be better off without me.’
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritan chapter. See www.samaritans.org for more information.
Kammy by Chris Kamara (Pan Macmillan, £22). To order a copy for £18.70, visit www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £25. Promotional price valid until 31/12/ 23.