I'm A Celebrity's Declan Donnelly addresses claims Rita Simons knew she was leaving by making a cheeky dig about her panto job

The presenter, 43, joked that everyone was able to predict where Rita would be after leaving the jungle as her theatre work has been booked for some time.

Last night, fans became convinced Rita, 41, timed her exit perfectly  as she's due to appear in panto in a few days.

Dec address rumours of a fix at the start of tonight's show, but insisting you wouldn't have to be psychic to know Rita would be heading home soon to fulfil her work commitments.

Last night, viewers were quick to point out that the former EastEnders actress' departure came ahead of her debut in Bournemouth's production of Sleeping Beauty.

One fan tweeted: "Hmm interesting. Rita out of #ImACeleb and starring in a pre booked panto on Saturday."

Another chimed: "Rita’s in a panto this year tht opens on Saturday… coincidence she gets voted aff tnite?"

"Coincidence that Rita gets voted out tonight and she's due to open Bournemouth panto in 5 days? #ImACelebrity #ImACeleb," a third mocked.

However, those fans who were worried that Rita would miss the start of the panto should have checked the panto's website.

It makes it clear to ticket-buyers that ex Brookside star Jennifer Ellison will be standing in for Rita until her I'm a Celeb duties are fulfilled – and there's no way Rita was expecting to get back to the UK in time for 8th December.

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Jennifer is set to play the wicked fairy Carabosse from 8-12 December – giving Rita plenty of time to attend the ITV show's wrap party and jet back from Oz.

It comes after fans accused show bosses of telling the celebrity campmates who had been voted out before announcing the news live on air.

Speculation first arose when viewers spotted both Noel Edmonds and Malique Thompson-Dwyer were wearing their bags moments before Holly Willoughby and Declan Donnelly confirmed their exits.

Fans also claimed Sair Khan – who became the third eliminated celeb on Monday night – looked as though she'd had her hair and make-up done before she was sent packing.


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The allegations have already been shut down by host Dec, who told fans they were "clutching at straws" on Twitter.

The TV host hit back in response to a fan who tweeted: "@imacelebrity still not rigged?#SairKhan had done her hair and was ready to leave…. hmmmm something a bit fishy about these vote offs @antanddec @hollywills."

"Done her hair? You’re clutching at straws now!  #ImACeleb," the Saturday Night Takeaway star mocked. 

Dec also tickled viewers by poking fun at the conspiracy theory during last night's live show.

During one of the live links, Holly Willoughby, 37, said to the camera: "Who will be leaving next?"

Listen to new podcast Jungle VIP, talkRADIO's cheeky, no-holds-barred take on the action Down Under. Hosted by Jamie East with daily guests, including former campmates and celeb reality TV fans the gang will dish the dirt on the REAL behind-the-scenes gossip. Read more here.


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