ITV bosses are secretly towing the celebrities' boat at night on Don’t Rock The Boat

IT has been described by telly bosses as “one of the toughest shows” ever, with a host of household names rowing from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

But not all the legwork on Don’t Rock The Boat will be done by the dozen celebrity competitiors.

I’m told the stars paddle eight shorter stages in the race from Cornwall to Scotland.

Celebrities signed up for the show include Sydney Olympics gold medallist Denise Lewis, model Jodie Kidd, Shaun Wallace of TV’s The Chase, Love Islander Jack Fincham and Corrie’s Lucy Fallon.

Andrew Flintoff and AJ Odudu will be on hosting duties.

A source said: “The celebrities do have to put in huge shifts on the boat, sometimes as long as 40 hours.


“But they are allowed back on land and they often don’t restart from where they finished up. They’re not rowing the entire length of Britain but bits of it in short, gruelling bursts.

“When they’re not on board, the boat is tugged along by another vessel and they’re reunited a day or so later.”

Five hour-long episodes will air on ITV this autumn.

Bosses at the broadcaster insist the time on land does not constitute a break but that members of each team will face a “land challenge” while the others row.

An ITV source added: “This is not just a rowing show. They stop and compete in terrifying land challenges.

“The route has had to change because of the weather, including Storm Ellen. The weather conditions have been worse and they experienced stronger currents than expected.

“There was extreme sickness on both boats. Duty of care is the first concern for our novice contributors.

“We are guided by our independent race director as to what is deemed safe and this will all be shown in the programme.”

Rather them than me.

Stacey: My pic mistake

STACEY Dooley got plenty of flak for posting a picture of herself with a Ugandan boy while filming for Comic Relief – but insisted at the time she would do the same thing again.

However, she has now backtracked and reckons she has learnt from her “mistake”.

Speaking about the photo, which MP David Lammy claimed showed her acting like a “white saviour”, the 2018 Strictly winner said: “You go through life and you’re trying to do the right thing.

“But I don’t know one person who isn’t flawed, who hasn’t made tons of mistakes. In terms of that incident specifically, I went to Uganda and dedicated that week to Comic Relief.

"I thought in my mind, ‘We can raise as much money as possible and essentially save loads of people’s lives’.

“To me, it was that straightforward. Perhaps it was too simplistic on my part.  I posted the photo and I think people don’t believe we had consent.


“The grandfather had a working relationship with Comic Relief and that’s why we spent time in that particular part of the village.

“There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes but obviously I can’t tell people they’re wrong and I’m right.”

Stacey admitted on the Doing It Right podcast that she had “missed the mark in terms of tone”.

The broadcaster added: “Perhaps I shouldn’t have posted the photo, even though we had consent. And I need to listen to people when they’re saying, ‘You didn’t get that right.’ ”


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Now it's Bridge Brother

CHANNEL 4 has been looking for something to replace Big Brother in its schedules for years – and now it might have something that comes close.

Bosses have commissioned a new show called The Bridge, which sounds like a mix of early Big Brother and SAS: Who Dares Wins.

The format is simple: A dozen strangers come together on the banks of a country lake.

A £100,000 prize pot lies on an island 250 metres from where they are based. To reach it, they must co-operate to build a bridge in 20 days.

If they reach it in time, they must then decide which of them most deserves the cash.

The winner can choose to keep it all or share it out.  A source said: “Channel 4 loved the sound of this one.

“It’s a real test of mental skill, physical agility and group dynamics as the strangers live together in the beautiful British countryside.”

It also sounds a bit like 2016’s ill-fated Eden, in which 23 participants lived in a remote part of Scotland, attempting to build a self-sufficient community.

But it all ended in tears and broadcasting was halted after four episodes, before five more aired a year later showing it all unravelling.

Hopefully the new show’s lot are better at building bridges than burning them.


LEA MICHELE has been hit by waves of negative attention after being accused of bad behaviour on the set of Glee.

Now she has some good news after giving birth to a boy, her first child with husband Zandy Reich.

Maura is a hit single

MAURA Higgins isn’t feeling blue in this bikini.

She posed for this stunning pic while enjoying a trip to Greece with fellow Love Islander Molly-Mae Hauge.

Maura is now back in this country and, as The Sun revealed today, she was spotted heading to co-star Chris Taylor's pad with an overnight bag.

Maura claims she is ready for love again. She told our Fabulous mag: “I’ve never had a one-night stand.

“So even if lockdown hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would have been with any guys.

“But now I’m ready to be with somebody. I’m 100 per cent single and ready to mingle.” Just don’t tell Chris . . .

Must watch

WHAT: The Truth About Cosmetic Treatments, BBC1, 8pm.

WHY? Two-part doc with Michael Mosley and Mehreen Baig taking a dive into the largely unregulated world of cosmetic surgery.

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]


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