EastEnders star Shaun Williamson has revealed his new show Celebs on the Farm was a “godsend” amid the pandemic as the show was filmed last October during the lockdown break and allowed the stars to forget about the troubled outside world.
The cast and crew were tested for Covid regularly and temperature taken every day, but aside from that they were able to “forget this nightmare was going on”, Shaun told the Mirror.
In a video call alongside his co stars Duncan James, Lady Colin Campbell, Malique Thompson-Dwyer, and host Stephen Bailey, Shaun said: “It was great ,you could forget what was going on in the outside world, sitting on a beautiful farm doing fun things all day, though some things not so fun and quite tough.
“You could forget this nightmare was going on, it was great for our mental health really.
“It was full on, every day there were two or three tasks, most of them physically demanding,” he added.
Shaun admitted he would likely have said no to the show in previous years, but this year was different, in part due to financial pressures but also for his own wellbeing.
“It’s the sort of thing I might not have done, I think I might have been a bit too frightened of the physical challenges, I am overweight and the wrong side of 55.
“But I took it on for my mental health, I wanted to do some work, earn some money – nothing wrong with that – threw myself into it and you get out what you put in.”
Duncan gushed: “We had the best time ever, and it was so nice to do a show when there were such awful things around the world, having a lovely time and doing farm life things we had never done before.
“It was a really wonderful experience, hand on my heart we all got on, to be able to come together and be such a positive happy group of people, it was just joyous, we were really blessed with the cast, there were no bad eggs.
“Everybody got on really well and we just had a laugh, I hadn’t laughed like that in a really long time.
“Lady C provided me with comedy on a daily basis!” he laughed, and said the stars all plan to reunite when lockdown ends.
Lady C revealed her favourite tasks were stonewalling and sexing the sheep, and she said out of all the reality shows she had ever done, this was her favourite.
“I would say when I am on my death bed, I will look back at this as having been one of the happiest experiences of my life,” she said.
“It was absolutely life-affirming,” she said. “The world has had a terrible year, this was an opportunity to be positive, we all appreciated the fact that we were being handed something special and nobody disparaged any aspect.”
That said, Shaun said his least favourite task was chasing the pigs around the stye “covered in cr*p and mud”, but loved giving the rams a medical.
“Then we unleashed them on the ewes,” he said.
“That was fascinating, that’s proper farming… But the lowlight was falling over in pig cr*p.”
* Brand new to MTV, Celebs on the Farm premieres Monday 8 th February at 9pm, and continues every week night for two weeks