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Celebrity Juice almost lost another star when Fearne Cotton quit

Digital Spy (UK) logo Digital Spy (UK) 20/03/2019 Laura Jane Turner

a woman looking at the camera: Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon has revealed that he considered quitting the ITV2 panel show when long-time co-star Fearne Cotton announced she was leaving. © ITV2 Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon has revealed that he considered quitting the ITV2 panel show when long-time co-star Fearne Cotton announced she was leaving. Celebrity Juice recently lost an original cast member, but it could have been worse! The show very nearly lost its host, too.

Paddy McGuinness made waves by replacing original team captain Fearne Cotton for Celebrity Juice's new series, some 10 years after she joined the show.

Losing Fearne meant a massive shift in the show's format, so much so that host Keith Lemon admitted to Digital Spy that he questioned whether he even wanted to continue.

Holly Willoughby et al. posing for the camera: Celebrity Juice series 18 image © Talkback Thames - ITV Celebrity Juice series 18 image "Initially I said, ‘That’s it, I’m leaving too’," he revealed to us. "It’s been 10 years and Holly [Willoughby], Fearne and I don’t see each other all the time, but we’re a close group of mates. Ages ago we said to each other if one goes, we all go. 

Video: Keith Lemon Hints at Fearne Cotton's Replacement on Celebrity Juice | Good Morning Britain

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"After I found out Fearne was leaving, I went to bed and slept on it and woke up the next day thinking that I can’t leave the show because I still enjoy it so much. I thought, ‘If Holly leaves because Fearne is then that really is the end, I’m not doing it without them both’. 

"But then I spoke to Holly and the first thing she said was, ‘Who are we going to get then?’ I said, ‘So you’re still up for it then?’ and she said, ‘Of course!’. She did say she thought she would be the first to leave though. I thought so too!"

It was natural to assume Holly would leave first since she's usually booked up presenting This Morning, Dancing on Ice and, at least last year, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.

"She’s got This Morning, Dancing on Icicles and she’s got M&S, she’s always busy," Keith joked. "When she said she was still up for doing the show I thought ‘We can continue the legacy’."

Celebrity Juice shocked Holly Willoughby © ITV Celebrity Juice shocked Holly Willoughby Still, Keith admitted he was quite sad about Celebrity Juice losing Fearne - especially considering how he learned the news.

"[Fearne] called me which is very rare, we text about three times a week normally," the presenter recalled. "We text a lot because we share an interest in clobber, so we’re always talking about clothes.

"For her to call me is very peculiar. I thought she was going to tell me she’s having another baby, so when she said she was leaving to focus on her other projects, I was quite shocked."

Ahead of the show's new era, Keith also explained to us why he ultimately chose Paddy over fan-favourite Emily Atack as the new Celebrity Juice co-captain.

Celebrity Juice returns tomorrow (Thursday, March 21) at 10pm on ITV2.

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