Richard Madeley says his time on The Circle was a ‘holiday from Brexit’

Richard Madeley says his time on The Circle was a 'holiday from Brexit'

Richard Madeley has said his time as a celebrity guest in reality show The Circle was "strangely liberating", adding jokingly that it was "a holiday from f***ing Brexit, if nothing else".

The veteran broadcaster, 63, entered the apartment block for a few days to join the group of hopefuls vying for the £100,000 cash prize on the Channel 4 series.

The series sees people living in separate apartments, communicating only via the social media platform called The Circle. They do not know each other's real identities, with some contestants cat-fishing their way through the series as they pretend to be someone else.

Richard Madeley
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Richard Madeley
Prime Minister Tony Blair (2nd left) and Chancellor Gordon Brown (2nd right) on the set of the TV programme This Morning, where they joined hosts Richard Madeley (right) and Judy Finnigan to promote the Working Families Tax Credit. * ...which guarantees low income families at least 200 a week.
TV presenter Judy Finnigan poses for the media with her husband Richard Madeley during a photocall today (Monday) after returning to This Morning following her recent operation. She has been off the programme since mid-January to recuperate from a hysterectomy. Photo by Michael Stephens/PA. See PA story SHOWBIZ Finnigan
Husband and wife team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan celebrate 10 years of This Morning today (Friday) by cutting a specially made birthday cake. Photo by Peter Jordan/PA
PA News 27/10/98 Husband and wife team Judy Finnigan (centre) and Richard Madeley (right) at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the National Television Awards, where they collected the award for Most Popular Daytime Programme.
This Morning hosts Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan with Jack Russell terrier Meg, after the dog was chosen as the new mascot for the HMV chain following a nationwide search. * The music chain, renowned for its dog and trumpet logo featuring a Jack Russell staring quizzically into a gramophone, has been looking for a new representative since the old one retired after 10 years of service.
This Morning presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, with some of the 1 million worth of toys donated by viewers of This Morning. The Pass The Parcel appeal asked the audience to buy an extra present this Christmas and send it in to the show.
TV presenting couple Richard Madeley (right) and Judy Finnigan with newlyweds, Mark Jinks (2nd left) and Neil Morris (2nd right), both living in Manchester, after their gay wedding live on the TV programme This Morning, Valentine's Day. * The Rev Jonathan Blake (centre), of the Society for Independent Christian Ministry, performed the ceremony, which for gay couples is not legally recognised. But he said "in the eyes of the couple and the community this is a legal wedding for them - in time society will catch up."
TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan outside the Channel 4 building in London after announcing a two-year deal with the channel. The TV hosts are quitting ITV's This Morning after 13 years to present a Channel 4 chat show. * The pair said there had been no bidding war between channels, but they simply wanted to try something different. They are due to move to Channel 4 in the autumn when their current contract with Granada runs out.
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan kiss outside television studios after their final show after 13 years in the business. The husband and wife team bowed out of ITV's This Morning with a toast to their audience, telling them: We're going to miss you like hell. *Among those who praised their daytime telly slot were pop superstar George Michael who surprised the husband and wife team by phoning the show to applaud them.
TV presenter John Leslie with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan after the couple won the Most Popular Daytime Programme award at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley with their children Jack and Chloe arrive for world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.
Richard Madeley arrives for the premiere of Britney Spears's debut feature film 'Crossroads' at the Odeon in Leicester Square, London.
TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan arrive with their children Jack and Chloe for the celebrity film premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Odeon Leicester Square in London's West End.
TV presenters Richard and Judy posing for photographs during a photocall in London, as part of the launch of a new national charity event - Wrong Trousers Day - which aims to raise millions of pounds for children's hospitals and hospices around the UK, by asking people to wear the wrong trousers.
Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley at the funeral service for Caron Keating held, at Hever Church, in the grounds of Hever Castle. The former Blue Peter and This Morning star died last Tuesday, aged 41, following a secret seven-year battle against breast cancer.
Author JK Rowling (right) gives a rare live interview on the Richard (Madeley) and Judy (Finnigan) Programme on Channel 4, at the Cactus TV studios in south London.
Richard Madeley and daughter arriving.
Richard Madeley, Judy Finnigan and their daughter Chloe arrive for a VIP performance of Night of The Snow Queen to launch the English National Ballet's Christmas Season, at the Coliseum in London.
Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley unveil the eight new titles of their Spring Book Club, exclusively with WHSmith at the Soho Hotel in London.
Broadcaster Richard Madeley (2nd left), with (left - right) his daughter Chloe, wife Judy Finnigan and son Jack, after the broadcaster received an honorary degree from the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.
Richard Madeley (left) and his daugher Chloe Madeley attending the Centrepoint Ultimate Pub Quiz at Village Underground, London, in aid of youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan arriving at the Pride of Britain Awards 2014, Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
Richard Madeley speaks to the media outside BBC Broadcasting House in central London following the death of veteran broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan.
Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan attending the The London Evening Standard Theatre Awards held at the Old Vic Theatre, London.
(Left to right) Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley arriving for a Bafta tribute event to This Morning, at Bafta in Piccadilly, London.

Madeley, who was not eligible for the prize money, had to masquerade as a 27-year-old blonde named Judy – a persona chosen for him by the public.

The former This Morning presenter told PA News Agency: "I thought, as a journalist, and I write a weekly column, I need to keep up with the news, I'm interested by it.

"I thought I would find it difficult not knowing what was going on in the world and not talking to my friends and not having a chat with Judy (his wife) about stuff.

"Actually I found being cut off strangely liberating, it was a holiday from the real world, it was a holiday from f***ing Brexit, if nothing else.

"The thing I found very difficult psychologically – and there was no way of getting around this – was the complete loss of freedom of movement... when you are incarcerated for a week, you are completely locked in and I found that quite oppressive and quite depressing.

"I had to work quite hard psychologically to tell myself it was just a game and I would be coming out soon and it was all fine."

During his time in the series he kept audiences entertained as he demonstrated his dance moves and his lack of understanding of how to use emojis – and what they stand for.

Contestant Woody, 18, who is the son of BBC presenter Zoe Ball and Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook), took a shine to Madeley's fake persona, Judy, and had a brief flirtation with her – obviously not knowing it was Madeley he was talking to.

Madeley said: "I had this rule straight away in my head – I thought, I'm not going to flirt back because that isn't fair. I'm not going to lead anybody on so if any of the young lads fancy Judy and is in my old-fashioned expression 'giving her the eye' and flirting with her, I was going to sort of ignore it.

"I did say in my profile I'd just come out of a broken engagement and I had broken it off and I was off men, I was taking a holiday from boys, so that allowed me to keep back.

"But I did feel a bit sorry for him. In fact, I felt sorry for everyone when they were talking to Judy because I'm a naturally honest person, I really am, I don't lie, I don't hide behind a fake ID or anything like that."

In a bid to get Judy "blocked" from The Circle, which is decided by influencers who are the contestants ranked the most popular by their fellow Circle members, Madeley had to purposefully be antagonistic or rude to make Judy unpopular.

People who are blocked must leave the series immediately.

During Tuesday night's episode, he gets blocked and Judy has to exit the series – but also gets to meet a contestant of his choice.

The former This Morning presenter opted to meet 22-year-old Georgina from Nottingham, who has shared her journey as someone living with Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is described by the NHS website as a lifelong condition and one in which "parts of the digestive system become inflamed".

Madeley praised Georgina who opted to use as one of her profile pictures while in the show, a bikini shot from when she previously had an ileostomy bag.

He said of meeting her after his exit: "She's very funny, she's a real sassy northern girl and I liked her a lot."

The TV star also granted her immunity from the next vote – but the other players do not yet know she has been chosen.

Asked who he wanted to win, he said Georgina, but acknowledged it may be 58-year-old university professor Tim, who has emerged as one of the most popular Circle players.

The Circle airs on Channel 4 at 10pm.

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