Paul Burrell reveals how I’m A Celebrity medical exam ‘saved his life’ ahead of all-stars season

Paul Burrell  (Peter Byrne/PA)
Paul Burrell (Peter Byrne/PA)

Paul Burrell has revealed how a medical exam ahead of his upcoming stint on I’m A Celebrity South Africa alerted him to his prostate cancer.

The 64-year-old was recently announced as a contestant on the reimagined version of the series that sees all-stars from previous seasons sent to South Africa to battle it out to become King or Queen of the Jungle.

The former royal butler, who came runner-up on the ITV entertainment stalwart in 2004, has now explained that it was the series’ routine medical assessment that saved his life, after highlighting raised prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, a protein released by the prostate gland.

Appearing on Monday’s Lorraine, Burrell shared: “That show, I’m A Celebrity, literally saved my life.

“Because I went for the medical [and] they found a raised PSA level. I went to my GP and I said to him, ‘Am I still able to do the show?’ And he said, ‘Look, this can wait until you get back [from filming] and when you get back, we’ll continue with the investigations’.

“So when I got back, then I had an MRI scan and then I had a biopsy and then they told me that I had cancer, and then I had to go on the path of treatment.”

The former butler spoke about his cancer diagnosis (ITV)
The former butler spoke about his cancer diagnosis (ITV)

He later shared: “I’m so grateful to ITV for picking me to do the jungle because without that, I would still be sat here today not knowing I had cancer growing inside of me. So my journey is a happy one.”

The star added that he was “emotional and very tired” as he allowed ITV’s cameras follow him to his appointments in an attempt to raise awareness for the disease.

He continued: “I’m tired, I’ve got five more sessions to go.

“I’m very emotional but I’m looking forward to getting to the end of it and I’m looking forward to going on a little break with Graham – there’s a lot to live for.”

The TV personality previously opened up about his diagnosis on the ITV show and urged viewers to go get checked.

“In the summer I had to go for a medical for a TV programme I was doing and I had a full MOT. Out of that came a surprisingly high PSA test. I had no idea what a PSA test was.

“I don’t think men are particularly good at going to the doctors so if you love them, push them out of the door and get checked.”

Burrell met husband Graham Cooper in 2007 and the pair wed in 2017. The former royal employee was previously married to Maria Cosgrove, with whom he shares two children.

Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV.